Though I want to limit my use, I won’t be deleting all my social media accounts and retreating into the woods to live as a nomad for the rest of my days. The intention of this post is to prompt you to stop and think.
What are your reasons for having this thing that takes up so much of your precious time? What are some pros and cons? What are some ways to limit it (something most everyone I’ve talked to wants more of)?
I love social media for…
-Keeping up with and keeping updated friends who live in different places than me (literally every single friend I have)
-Sharing things I’m passionate about and learning about things others are passionate about
-Encouraging and spotlighting the amazing people in my life
-Being inspired by those who are chasing and killing it at mutual dreams
-Keeping up with ministries and movements I love
Here are 21 things (one for each day away) that happened when I put away social media (including a few from friends who had some things to share on the subject):
1. Comparison is a killer, and when it comes to social media, it is an endless cycle of comparing. If you struggle with this as much as I know most of us do, taking a break may be exactly what you need to readjust and remember who your identity is found in. Then get back on it with the mindset of being INSPIRED instead of wishing you had a different life.
2. False community is a real thing on these apps, and we need to be aware of it. It is easy to neglect meeting together if you feel as if you are part of an online community. At times, specifically when we want a reason to hide, it gives us excuses to neglect in person, face to face fellowship that our hearts desperately need.
3. It is an addiction for most of us. The first three days I kept trying to click on my Instagram app every five minutes (sometimes it was about every three). I almost started timing myself but I was too ashamed of what the results may be. I literally had to take those days to detox in order to feel fully human again without my machine that I feel is an extension of myself.
4. I was much more intentional about answering my messages. I mean, MUCH more. All the excuses from before seemed to fade away. There was no distraction, no reading and forgetting. I responded to people much faster, in much more detail, and more intentionally than ever before.
5. I called people more often. When you aren’t connecting over social media constantly, need to hear all the details from your loved one’s mouths, creating real connection that is deeper than a simple “like”.
6. My mind was freed up of so much unnecessary chaos. I have always tried to be intentional with only following up-building accounts and keeping up with friends, but even the GOOD can be bad when it’s overloading us.
7. My creativity skyrocketed. I had so many thoughts and so many ideas that I actually paid extended amounts of attention to because there was no distraction. I executed goals because I seemed to think more clearly and focus more deeply.
8. I paid much more attention when I studied and read for pleasure. When you aren’t checking your phone every ten minutes, you’d be amazed how focused you can be.
9. I did not feel as if I was out of the loop. When my friends posted something they wanted me to see, they sent it to me. I did not feel like I was missing out on much.
10. I started looking for ways to stay current with news that did not include Facebook. Shame on me for only using Facebook as a news source, but that’s what it was. You find that even news social media sites are mostly opinion.
11. I finally did something about that “storage full” iCloud notification that always pops us because, well, there wasn’t much else to do on my phone!
12. Since pretty much the only things on my phone were my bank account app, waze, and google calendar, I ended up spending ridiculous amounts of time on the Bible app. Since this was a fast, that was the point. But I actually finished those 4 day devos I had started.
13. There is a genuine anxiety that overcomes us when we feel like we need to be aware of everything going on, and we can’t complete tasks until we’ve scrolled all the way through our feeds.
14. I was not able to network. Every time I wanted to post a blog or share my latest writing endeavor, I knew it was useless without the ability to post it with a link.
15. I looked people in the eye for the entire period of time I was with them. It was truly an incredible thing.
16. It sounds clique, but there really is a whole world to see and you only catch it in the periods of time in between scrolling through when you are glued to your phone.
17. I lacked a platform for encouragement that I truly enjoy using.
18. My procrastination was significantly cut down because there was nothing I could get on to distract me and give me the false sense of productivity. If I was going to procrastinate, it was usually with something else that needed to get done.
19. I lacked encouragement from other people’s journey’s that I typically got inspiration from.
20. I was able to account for every minute of time I spent and most of it served one purpose or another, even if it was resting. Time is our most valuable resource and social media can sometimes be the black hole it gets lost in. Where did that hour go? Oh, I spent it scrolling.
21. It forced me to form my own opinions without the interference of everyone else’s going through my mind before I’ve come to my own conclusion.
Here are some things that I will begin implementing in order to control my social media use that you may want to consider as well:
-I have decided to fast on my “Sabbath” every week. That day is usually Saturday or Sunday for me. I hope to have this as a less intense but very needed detox time. You may choose a different set time, but getting away at all is a great thing. The purpose for this is to remind myself of my dependence on God alone (shoutout to Jefferson Bethke for the idea).
-In all the research I did, I kept seeing this suggestion for condensing your checking and scrolling to specific times. So that may look like setting an alarm for a half hour twice a day and only going on your apps then. It may look like one mid-day check in and then closing it out until the next day. This is a way to connect while not being OVERLY connected.