If you are anything like me, you may find way too much time in your day taken up by social media. Regardless of which platform you choose, they all have this knack of pulling us in and sending us down a myriad of rabbit holes. There is of course nothing inherently wrong with using technology to stay in touch and communicate our message, but we need to consider all the hidden costs.
From December 25, 2017 through January 1, 2018, I gave myself both the challenge and permission to stay off all social media. You may be thinking "a week was really not that long", but you would be surprised how challenging that week was. My initial intention was just to take a break to enjoy the holidays, but I learned a lot of things about myself through the process.
Most importantly, it quickly came to my attention that I was using social media as a space/time filler during my day. Prior to that point, I thought I was a light user of social media platforms. I only posted things that I thought were uplifting and added value. I carefully selected who I followed, purposefully deleting any that did not prove to be beneficial. I even made sure all notifications were turned off so I did not have that trigger to act. What I did not account for were the hundreds of times I would just check in to see if I missed anything new on IG (Instagram). To make my week easier, I deleted all the apps from my phone. But that instinct to turn the phone on and check for updates remained. I was shocked how often I looked at my phone only to realize/remember the apps were missing for a reason. Did I miss interesting things that were posted during that week? Probably. Did my life continue to move forward without consequence? Absolutely!
So you may ask "Did I go back to social media?". If you follow me on any of those platforms, you already know the answer is yes, but with a much greater attention to how I use social media in general. I have set a few "rules" for myself, that have proven to be very helpful. I cannot say I have had 100% compliance, but baby steps = progress.
1. I did put IG back on my phone as that is the primary platform I use to post for my followers. My intention is to only go on when I have something to share, or once a day to view postings from the accounts I follow. (this is the part I have had the hardest time sticking to!)
2. I am being more deliberate at unfollowing those accounts that I am not finding inspiring and especially if they invoke any stress or negativity. There is enough of that in life already. Rather than rising to the negativity, I move on.
3. I only access the other platforms I am on once a week to see if I need to respond to any contacts.
4. I post to those platforms only through IG directly or from my website (Pursuingamindfullife.com)
5. Most importantly on the platforms that suck me in (youtube!), I only log on when I have a specified block of time and make sure I close the program when that time has expired.
As I spend less time just randomly looking for "interesting" things to view, read, or experience on social media, the more I realize most of what I found was just time wasting eye candy. I still see great value in using social media mindfully. It seems like I get inspiration from someone every time I do access a program and for that I am truly grateful. When others share their struggles and successes I am more motivated to do the same. I am more aware than ever to make sure that my use of social media is just that mine. It is up to me to choose what I view, when, and most importantly how much time I invest in it's use. I challenge you to take a social media break - you never know what conclusions you may draw or what you will learn about yourself.