Why I’m Sending Social Media to the Corner this Summer…

I’ve written before and I am sure I will write again about my continued confused, complex, and rarely satisfactory relationship with social media and my smart phone. This summer I have tried to intentionally cut back quite a bit. Here’s the social media “diet” I’ve had myself on since around the time my son turned two:
*Only getting on instagram once or twice a week and spending 5 minutes maximum scrolling – which means not going on forever until I have “caught up” and seen EVERYTHING on my feed- which is a serious addiction of mine.
*Trying to only get on Facebook when I’ve been tagged on something or someone directly posts to my wall, or to help admin the babywearing group I’m in. Once or twice a week I’ve allowed myself to scroll my newsfeed only until I come across an add or a news story “liked” by a friend of a friend that has nothing to actually do with my community. Then I make myself stop. It usually doesn’t take long.

WHY am I doing this?
Once again I’m not comfortable with the addiction I have to screens and I am brainstorming a different option with different parameters because I function better in these kind of situations with rules and boundaries. I am, as always, searching for a better balance. I am feeling like more anxiety than I’d like recently and studies have shown that social media contributes to anxiety and depression. I have very little time right now and want to use it as best as possible. I want to see what happens when I post less and listen more intentionally. In teaching, we talk about how a focus that is deep and narrow can provide a better educational experience than wide and shallow and that’s how I am trying to re-focus my social media usage. I’ve been blogging less too but hope to pick that back up after the camp I teach ends mid-July and I have a little more time and a little more routine and that’s because blogging seems a deeper connection and a better jumping point for conversation than a status update.

WHAT am I missing?
On to pro-side of what I’m missing while cutting back on social media: A lot of tense political commentary, a lot of click bait, some good discussion on very stressful topics that I hope to get into at a later time, preferable in person, a distracting number of advertisements and sponsored content pieces
On the con side: Adorable pictures. My friends have really beautiful adventures, really cute pets, and a lot of unbelievably gorgeous children and my intake of pictures and cute stories about those things has definitely diminished, but I’m hoping soon I will focus on more time with those adorable and adventurous friends in person. Also, birthdays… so happy new year to friends whose birthdays I missed!

Has it been worth it??

So far? Yes. My close friends who had big life events like new jobs or moves or babies being born texted or called me about it so I didn’t miss any major life events like I worried when I started this. I don’t plan on doing this too much longer over all, but I would like to keep moving away from scrolling facebook’s feed. I will probably hop back on instagram more than once a week because like I said: adorable, positive things abound on that feed and as the temperature stays ridiculously hot outside, it’s nice to see beautiful images form the comfort of my air conditioned home. Still, I want to maintain it not being the first thing I look at in the morning. And picking only one photo a week to share has made me reconsider WHY I post what I post and if something will remain just as special and fabulous if I keep it to myself or to a handful of friends or save it for sharing in our family scrapbook for the year. I think that particular topic needs a lot more thought because there are great things about sharing too, I just want to feel a bit more equilibrium about the whole thing. So I’ll try to keep this up at least until the summer winds down and then reassess from there.

Anyone else taking a social media hiatus or just decreasing their online time? Anyone in a part of the country where you can actually go enjoy the outdoors with that screen free time instead of AZ where your choice is indoors, pools, or melting? Wherever you are, I hope you have a happy and safe holiday!!

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5 thoughts on “Why I’m Sending Social Media to the Corner this Summer…

  1. I love your rule about when to exit the facebook infini-scroll—it’s so specific! The urge to keep scrolling until you’ve caught up with where you were before can be so strong.

    I also love the idea of not cutting out social media entirely, but “refocusing” it: limiting how and when you use it so that it works for you and doesn’t make you its slave. I think facebook, instagram, etc. are great inventions but it’s so easy to just get sucked in.

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  2. AGH! These are such good ideas. I’ve been meaning to do something like this, but the self control is hard to hold onto. The word for addiction in Dutch is literally “enslavement”

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    • Wow. Language is SO COOL! Actually a lot of these ideas came from thinking about an idea I think you introduced me to in grad school- about what you are consuming from the internet vs. what you are putting out there? I can’t remember as many details as I would like to, but I remember the general concept and have been thinking about that a lot- what I put out there and why, what I consume and why…

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