After 50 Days of Attempting to Limit & Modify My Social Media Use

A personal report

After 50 Days of Attempting to Limit & Modify My Social Media Use

Fifty days ago, I published an article entitled, What is Social Media Doing to Us?. In it, I shared many of my concerns about social media and its effect on me personally as well as the concern I have (and others have) for the young people who are growing up in a culture where social media is normal and not new. Many of us recall the not-so-distant past of having to call someone to talk to them. We remember going to a friend’s house or a family member’s house and looking through photo albums of their recent trip. Life has changed dramatically.

Back then seemed to be simpler. It seemed to be less chaotic. We were aware of what was going on around us when we saw things on the news or in a newspaper. We weren’t bombarded by the perfect lives of our friends and acquaintances every waking moment of the day. Our circles were smaller and our focus was, to a greater degree, on those around us.

If you think I’m becoming nostalgic about the past, I’ve made myself clear before: things today aren’t worse than ever before. But while this is the case, our new world contains within it a more covert foe. This foe isn’t social media, it’s what results from social media in the hearts and minds of many of us.

So, if you’re still with me, I’ll get to the point of this article.

After 50 Days of Attempting to Limit & Modify My Social Media Use

My own research into this topic caused me to take action.

In the last fifty days, I have scaled back my scrolling on Facebook to almost nothing. If you’re wondering why I haven’t been liking or commenting on your posts, it’s because I haven’t seen them. The times I did allow myself to scroll, I was reminded of why I hadn’t been scrolling.

My Facebook usage has been greatly diminished by design. I’m not posting as much as I used to. This includes pictures of the family, random thoughts, selfies when I’m doing something interesting, etc.

My phone doesn’t have the Facebook app enabled, nor does it have Facebook Messenger enabled. The former has been an on-and-off-again practice of mine, but it is more permanent now. If I could completely uninstall them, I would. But as far as I’m aware, my phone won’t allow it.

I have uninstalled (or disabled, can’t remember which) Instagram from my phone. I’m not taking pictures on it or scrolling other people’s pictures.

The only social media apps on my phone are Twitter, Hootsuite, and Buffer. More on Twitter in a moment. Hootsuite and Buffer are scheduling tools I use to manage my Facebook Pages and Twitter account. These allow me to post and schedule things like blog posts to social media.

Twitter is the only social-media-channel-specific app on my phone right now. I haven’t deleted it because I enjoy Twitter and because I discovered a way to essentially start over without deleting my account and creating a new one. One of the troubles I was having with using Twitter was the enormous amount of noise expressed on my timeline. This was a result of the thirteen-hundred or so people I was following. So, in an effort to make my Twitter experience less noisy and more interesting, I unfollowed everyone and began to refollow people who were active on the channel and who had interesting and thought-provoking things to say.

For a few days, I tried out a new audio-social app called Anchor. If you’re a part of the email community around these parts, you might remember receiving an email from me about it. But after a few days of use, I realized that I was increasing the noise in my life because of this app and decided to delete it.

Results… Let’s talk about what this has done and what it hasn’t done.

I wish I could say that my smartphone usage has plummetted, but that hasn’t happened. Instead, I have spent less time on Facebook and more time on Twitter.

What this tells me is that I need to keep disciplining myself to get off the phone and be more present. If it means getting rid of Twitter too, then so be it.

I will say, my overall social media experience is better. It’s less stressful and far less frustrating. But the importance of this metric isn’t all that high – at least it shouldn’t be.

For the moment, I’m still on social media. Less active in some parts, more active in others. And you know what? No one has seemed to notice. And that’s pretty freeing.

I’m Curious. Have you changed your activity level on social media recently?

Let me know in the comments below.

Engage Culture With the Gospel

I’d love to go on this journey of following Jesus with you and help you engage culture with the gospel. So let’s be email friends. I’d love to send you a copy of my two free eBooks: Bible Hacks: Understanding the New Testament and Do Something: Cultural Crises and the Gospel. And I’d love to give you my free daily devotional: Journey to Knowing God. You’ll get all this (and updates with new content) when you subscribe to the blog.

Brandon is the Spiritual Development Pastor at The Crossing, a church plant on the east side of Cincinnati. He is the author of Crucified to Life and Preaching Sticky Sermons. His passion is helping people discover hope and transformation in Christ. He & his wife, Sara & their daughters, Kairea & Piper, live on the east side of Cincinnati with their two dogs.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Candy Cahall

    I have greatly cut out FB from my life for a month or longer, not intentionally, just became a time waster. Haven’t missed it in the least. When I receive a notification of a friend’s post I usually ignore it. I always check my hubby’s!

  • robert dutina

    My purpose for joining Facebook was to keep in touch with out of town friends and family. I added a few people that represented areas of my life that I was no longer involved with daily or that shared information important to me-the Crossing, my community group, etc. In the beginning, I added people mostly because they asked-most I have in unfollowed or unfriended because we were not in the same world or posts were too negative or political. I now have about 15-20 friends. I look at Facebook in the morning, post a few photos and significant events in my life, and thus keep in touch with a few I would not be able to otherwise. I do not read political rantings or get any news information from the site. Facebook can be valuable or a depressing waste of time and energy. Careful selection of what you chose to take in decides it’s value.