SUSANNA REID: I'm stepping back from social media

From red carpet to real life…SUSANNA REID: I’m stepping back from social media – to save my own sanity

  • Susanna Reid admits she can easily spend hours on Instagram and Twitter
  • She received backlash after responding to George Floyd’s murder online
  • British TV presenter explained why she will be taking a break from social media 

When you work in TV you have to develop a thick skin, and I have certainly grown used to criticism.

If I search online, I can find objections every morning to what I’m wearing, how I’ve done my make up (‘is it Halloween?’) and why my hair is a mess.

I’ve been called a snowflake (someone who takes offence at everything), I have been slammed for being a clothes horse and I am regularly instructed to pipe down because I am a woman.

I am told I argue too much with Piers and should let him speak more, and at the same time that I agree too often with him and am a nodding lap dog.

Susanna Reid (pictured) who admits to being addicted to social media, revealed she has turned off all notifications and stopped checking her phone

I am informed I am too fat, too thin, too old and too stupid. Spoilt, narcissistic and attention-seeking are common insults, although honestly no one on TV is going to be offended by the accusation that they seek attention. We’re hardly shrinking violets.

The c-word — which often pops up — is never pleasant to read, but I’ve learned to ignore it.

However, there are times when even thick skin gets thinner. I’m finally at breaking point, and I’m taking a step back from all the nastiness.

It started with a new level of personal viciousness in response to my outrage about the murder of George Floyd in the U.S. — I was told to ‘shut up’ and ‘get in your kennel’.

I happened to check my phone when I was making lunch for the kids, and the tirade of sexist insults made my stomach lurch. I thought: ‘Why do I do this to myself?’

Then, on Monday, we talked about Dominic Raab on GMB. The Foreign Secretary had said that he thought ‘taking a knee’ — the anti-racist protest — was ‘something out of Game Of Thrones’. It’s an embarrassing mistake, and one he wouldn’t have made it if he spent more time on social media. But what stunned me were the comments Piers spotted on Twitter.

‘Ugh, the racist filth we’re getting in response to that discussion,’ he said. I couldn’t even look. Piers’s answer was to read them out on the show, but the comments were so disgusting I would rather not have them in my head.

Susanna argues social media has become a dark place and sites need to clean up their act, if they want people to keep using them. Pictured: Susanna on GMB

I’ve tried to take things in my stride. Take last Thursday, when I posted a tweet about my column in this newspaper: ‘Boris told me to get on my bike, but it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped’.

‘You are a bike,’ replied one male user. So I sarcastically thanked him in another tweet and moved on. If someone singles me out for abuse, I’m afraid I’m likely to hit back.

Sometimes, the best way to handle all the nasty comments is to send a snappy reply to one particularly foul one. Trolls need to know that if they are rude, they may be made an example of.

The thing is, I am addicted to social media. I can while away hours scrolling through posts and pictures, wallowing in the details of other people’s lives, catching up on news, giggling at funny videos, all the while oblivious to a sunny afternoon or the washing up.

Off-air gossip

Interviewing Nigel Havers this week, viewers admired his beautiful home. Last time he joined us, Nigel explained how much he hated the I’m A Celebrity jungle, saying that campmate, former MP Lembit Opik drove him to shriek: ‘Get me out of here!’ I now understand why he missed his home comforts.

Admittedly, I haven’t used Facebook in years after one Mother’s Day felt like a parenting competition; other mums posted pictures of hand-knitted gifts and homemade breakfasts that seemed to have been curated for show.

But I could easily spend hours on Instagram and Twitter — at least until now. I’m not willing to let the abusers win, but I’ve turned off all notifications and stopped checking my phone. I’ll be blocking the worst trolls, and looking at my feed only when I need information on a news story.

You might think that just sounds sensible, given how horrible Twitter can be. But it shouldn’t have to be this way.

The wealthy owners of top sites must start protecting people who use them in good faith. And make no mistake, unpleasant as it is for me, there is a whole other level of viciousness directed at black people in the media.

My footballing hero Ian Wright described the racist taunting he has received, and it’s terrifying. Much too vile to repeat here.

Why don’t social media firms do more to trace the perpetrators of racist and threatening posts and ban them? They did it to Katie Hopkins and even posted a warning on Donald Trump’s tweets, so why stop there?

Social media has become a dark place, and the sites need to clean up their act if they want people to keep using them.

No one should be scared into silence by the trolls.

At 50, I just want to look like SJP

Susanna revealed she’s become nervous about her body seeing the sun, as she approaches 50. Pictured: Sarah Jessica Parker, 55

As I approach 50, and become distinctly nervous about my body seeing the sun again, I’ve started to research swimsuits that will suit me after months of lockdown snacking.

Some stretchy support up top? Extra-tight Lycra to slim the waist? High cut to lengthen the leg?

Then I caught sight of a photograph of 55-year-old Sarah Jessica Parker frolicking on the beach. Her hair swept up into an elegant top knot, and wearing oversized sunglasses, she looked fabulous in a black swimsuit with spaghetti straps.

I’m never going to look that good on the beach. It’s time to Google kaftans instead.

Soon I’ll be on another sofa – the Celebrity Gogglebox one!

Susanna said her annual Ibiza trip with Judge Rinder (pictured) is off and would probably have been less fun because she’s teetotal now

My annual trip to Ibiza with my friend Judge (Rob) Rinder is off, which is probably a relief for both of us. I fell off the wagon on our holiday last year, but I’m teetotal now so likely would be less fun.

Instead, soon we’re going to be snuggling up on his designer sofa to dissect our favourite TV shows for Celebrity Gogglebox.

But we may not have an easy time as it’s a culture-clash friendship. Two summers ago we went to see rapper Tinie Tempah, which was a new experience for Rob, as he is a massive opera fan. He then took me to Glyndebourne.

Luckily, Gogglebox is as much about your relationship — and your favourite tipple — as it is about TV. So that’s a kir royale for Rob, a soft drink for me and a bowl of water for Rob’s bulldog.

My new ten minute face

Susanna (pictured) revealed that she has learned to master a full face of make-up in ten minutes, because she hasn’t had her make-up artists 

Miraculously, I have learned to master a full face of make-up in ten minutes, since I’m still without my make-up artists, Heather and Mel.

How? I start the clock, then slather on foundation, add colour to my eyes and cheeks, then finish off with Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch, which fills in wrinkles.

At the start of the week, I arrive at work extra early to blow-dry my hair and clip it into rollers — a job so boring I do it only once, and top up with dry shampoo for the rest of the week.

It’s ok, but I’m desperate to see my hair and make-up teams again.

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