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 RookiePreacher.com 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.
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