Real talk: I’m addicted to social media and I have been for a very long time. Granted, I believe that it’s kind of the nature of the world nowadays. You can’t wait in line at Starbucks without seeing a sea of people with their iPhones open to Facebook. I’m one of those people.
The thing is, while I do consider Facebook usage to be a gigantic waste of time in my life — it’s not like it has replaced me having a full life. I’m outdoors constantly and live a vibrant, adventurous life with my son. But the amount of time I spend in the margins scrolling through my news feed, feeling complex emotions all of the time, well — it’s a ton.
I post several times a day on Facebook. I take so many pictures and post them all constantly, as if I need to “prove” that my life is so great. (Honestly though, I post these pictures for myself because I think it’s really fun to see the Facebook Memories…especially of my son). I’m in a ton of groups, and while I justify this by saying that I need to be in order to find meetups to go to in order to meet other moms, or to find local events to attend – I could sit down for an hour once a week and catch up on this stuff and save myself a ton of Facebooking time.
So I believe it’s time for me to make a change. I need to be done with using Facebook as my faux social life. I have ways to get the news outside of FB. I have ways to connect with friends if they want to get ahold of me. I have ways to view photos of my son in the future. I have ways to find local events. So here’s my plan for the future.
Removing Facebook app from my phone
I actually already did this last night and I’m going to do my best to keep it that way. In the past I’ve always justified having it there because I “needed it for work” but I’m in a role now that does not need Facebook at all. FB should no longer be the first thing I look at when I wake up in the morning. I don’t need to linger in the bathroom reading it. I don’t need to view my notifications during work. I don’t need to be looking at my phone nonstop while I’m playing with my son.
Posting less on Facebook
I honestly don’t need to tell everyone everything anymore. I actually get embarrassed by the amount that I post sometimes. I feel like I often look desperate and friendless, and I overshare because the internet has become my comfort, my drug. For photos, I intend to maybe do a weekly photodump just so my family can see photos of my son. But I don’t need it to be a running commentary of my life anymore.
2018: the year of the blog. I have a few. I have my personal finance blog, this gaming/general blog, and my Austin hiking blog. If I have news to share, I can put it on one of those three places. I like flexing my writing muscles.
I take hundreds of photos a month, maybe even thousands. I want to start making photo books of this content. Either using a service, or making them via scrapbooks, or something. I want to save these memories offline in an analog format because I’m sick of staring at screens all of the time. I want more physical copies of photos, even as I declutter and minimalize my life of “things”, I believe photos are treasures worth printing and holding on to.
Removing the negative on Twitter
I do this quite often, where I go through a purge and remove the people I follow on Twitter who post overwhelmingly negative content. Sure, it’s fun to see rants and snark on occasion, but at this point the people who are constantly insulting and criticizing everything and everyone are actually affecting my enjoyment of the platform. This includes politics. Trump is awful and hateful and terrible, but I can’t handle streams of content about him anymore. I want to live a happy life and not dwell on things I cannot personally change.
Intentional Facebook time
I believe removing FB from my phone will help tremendously, but I’d also like to say that having a set time to browse FB from my laptop will force me to be intentional with that time. One trap I fall into is that I sit down to play a game, open my laptop, and instead of firing up WoW I’ll “check Facebook really quick”. Next thing I know it’s been 2 hours and I’m still browsing the internet and I’m out of time to play games.
My plan is to hold myself to no more than 30 minutes per day. I can spend that however I want – posting, commenting, checking out events and groups. But after that 30 minutes, I need to do another intentional activity. Writing a blog, playing my piano, reading a book, playing a game, working on coding, learning something new, doing housework, talking on the phone with a friend, or even watching a TV show or movie. Anything other than spending my entire evening browsing the internet all night.
One platform I’m unsure about is Instagram. I love posting there and one of my favorite things to do is scroll back through my own photos. I always get inspired by other people’s content there and I follow a lot of accounts that make me happy. I don’t find that it triggers negative emotions in me like FB and Twitter do. However, I need to be mindful that my decreased FB usage doesn’t turn into more Instagram time, because that would defeat the purpose.
So there you have it. Big changes afoot for my social media usage. I hope I can stick to this.