Social media is an integral part of every day life. It has become one of the most common and effective ways of communicating with others. With the huge rise and use of social media, businesses are now starting to pour investment into social media marketing. Yet, is social media really that glitzy and glamorous or can it take away from the experience of what life is really about?
I previously wrote an article ‘Why Technology Sucks! Lose Your Phone and Find Happiness“. I was fired up after watching a video and just spilled my beans into that post. It explains why technology is having a negative effect on your life. Now, as we use social media so often, perhaps you might be feeling a little addicted to it or feel that it has taken away some of the experience of what life is really about.
If that’s the case, then this article is for you. We have a guest post from Alden Tan who shares his 3-step process for cutting down on social media.
Take it away, Alden!
Today, after I woke up, I did my usual morning routine. I brushed my teeth, drank a glass of water, made my coffee and settled down on the computer, ready to work.
Out of habit, I checked Facebook to see what updates I had. In the next five seconds, the following happened:
- A friend posted a video of a kid, not more than 8 years-old creating a ruckus in class and defiantly talking back to his teacher.
- I saw a thumbnail of a young girl who was recently murdered. There was also a sign photoshopped in the picture asking for help to find her killers.
- A jarring headline of a piece of news from elsewhere read, “Man Raped to Death by Six Wives”.
I did not click on any of the above. I was just too disgusted with all the bullshit. I’m sure you are very familiar with this kind of nonsense on your newsfeed, right?
I’m also quite sure you know people who’ve made it a point to stay away from social media for good.
The Trend of Quitting Social Media is a Good One
I personally see a rising trend in people cutting down on or completely ridding themselves of social media use, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other various medium.
It may seem like a very deviant thing to do, especially since social media is permanently etched in most of our lives. It has changed the way we communicate and the way use the Internet. It is here for good.
But honestly… those quitting social media are stepping it up in life.
There are a ton of benefits in quitting social media, and I’m not just referring to shielding yourself from disturbing news. Also, the cause for actually using social media is deeper than you think.
I’ll explain more in my 3-step process.
If you’re like me and use social media a lot, you can experience some fantastic benefits in staying away from it. Are you ready to cut down on social media?
The 3-Step Process for Cutting Down on Social Media
1) Recognize that you’re using social media subconsciously
For me, I decided to cut down on social media when I realized it was taking up my time on a subconscious level. Yes, I felt I was using social media unknowingly.
I was checking my phone for updates while watching a movie.
I was chatting with friends a lot, and that took up a lot of time without me knowing.
I’d delay other important things, like taking a bath because I was somehow mindlessly surfing and searching for interesting news or a funny video.
Ever felt like that?
The thing with social media is that we are distracted by it on a level we aren’t fully aware of. We’re so used to being connected that we see a need to always be updated on anything and everything when it’s not necessary at all.
Think about it, before social media (and mobile phones) came along, were we not more in tune and aware of what was going on around us? Were we not able to more fully appreciate the things we were doing?
I wouldn’t say social media is a distraction. Anything can be a distraction if you allow it to be. The problem is that you may not actually see it as a real problem.
This is something you need to ‘snap’ out of on your own.
2) Get rid of the mobile apps
The next thing I did was delete the Facebook app from my phone.
You may be thinking, “What’s the point? Everything is mobile”.
The point of this step is to start your journey in cutting down on social media. This post isn’t to permanently get rid of social media in your life. I think that’s rather rash and there are definitely benefits of using social media.
So instead of quitting cold turkey, get rid of the mobile apps first. This is going to free up a lot of time and open up your life.
3) Take up new activities and let the benefits sink in
With the apps gone, you’re going to have a lot more time. It’s time to start trying out new things, or actually, rekindle old activities you used to do.
Start doing more meaningful things. Read a book. Go for a walk. Catch up with a friend over coffee. Meditate and start noticing things around you. Exercise. Play video games. Start a blog.
Notice that I mentioned some activities which some people argue are distracting in life. But remember, the idea is to be aware of what you’re doing and giving it your full attention. It’s not about multi-tasking with social media and claiming that you want to be updated or connected.
For example, I grew up playing video games. I found myself being less entertained by them as I grew older. It was not because I was growing older or getting bored, instead it was because I couldn’t appreciate a game fully as I kept checking my phone. Heck, I wasn’t even enjoying movies that much.
So if you’re like me, perhaps you can see how we aren’t giving ourselves the chance to reap the benefits of hundreds of other activities?
When you start to focus on other activities in life you will start to feel the benefits. You’ll be surprised with what you can learn in life and about yourself. It will definitely happen that way, I can assure you.
With time, you’ll get used to not using social media that often.
Social Media Needs a Balance
Like a diet, you gain the most benefit when you are eating a balanced one. You don’t lose weight by not eating nothing.
As mentioned, I do think social media has its benefits, particularly being able to connect and communicate with other people readily and easily.
But, as with life, when you enter extremes and start using something too much, the negative effects start to far outweigh the positive benefits.
At the very least, I recommend that you cut down on your use of social media. Life is too short to be taken over by our devices.
Alden Tan keeps it real at his blog and writes about motivation in unconventional ways. He tells it like it is, to the heart of the matter. Check out his free report,12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a F**k About!
Nice post, Alden!
Your second point, “get rid of mobile apps” is spot on.
I didn’t quit social media entirely, but I did a few things that helped me to gain a lot of control over it. My main problem was with Facebook, so I decided to delete its app from my iPhone. This way I had to open the browser and log in to be able to access Facebook. Not having it handy made me give up from checking it most of the times.
On my computer the solution I’ve found was to keep myself accountable. I use Rescuetime to help me on my weekly review, so I can also see how much time I spend with social media. In the last 4 weeks I spent less than 30 minutes on Facebook. So I guess it’s working well. 🙂
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I quit social media completely three years ago, after a year of heavy use and many friends. I have never been happier focusing on close family and friends, good reading, and cooking. Thanks for a great article.
That’s awesome, Carl! Congratulations.
I’m not a big fan of social media myself. To me it’s very time-consuming. It’s great to see others out there getting into ‘real life’ 🙂
Good on you Carl!
If only more people saw the importance of quitting social media.