My social media fast
About two weeks ago, in a General Conference talk prepared for and given to all women, ages 8 and older, President Russell M. Nelson challenged us to conduct a 10-day social media fast. As soon as I heard him say those words, I instinctively knew that this was going to be a good and important thing for me—even at the same moment that I thought, “10 days? I can’t NOT use social media for 10 days! I am a BIG fan of social media, but this wasn’t just my preferences speaking. I have a product line that I need to talk about and promote. What was I going to do? I just couldn’t see myself going away for that long. This conundrum was on my mind for most of Sunday—and then after dinner I made the decision that I was going to set aside my concerns and go for it. I wrote my “I’m taking a break” message and posted it on the evening of Sunday, October 7th—I wondered if I was truly going to make it to the 17th. To making cheating more difficult I moved my Instagram app off the first screen on my phone and went to bed. Monday was weird. I couldn’t believe how often I instinctively reached for my phone, BUT at the same time. I felt so FREE. I realized that anytime I feel a little tired or bored or unmotivated to move onto the next thing, be it a chore, task, project or whatever—I would grant myself a “few minutes” on Instagram which can easily (and frequently does) turn into 30 minutes or more. By Tuesday night I was ALL in. I had had an incredibly productive day and I had fewer negative thoughts. I still reached for my phone, but when I did I turned on a podcast or listened to my audible book about Mr. Rogers (more on that soon!)
You guys. It’s now the 19th and there is so much that I DO NOT miss about social media. My experience has been so positive that I’m a little leery about jumping back in. Clearly my relationship with these tools wasn’t as healthy as I wanted to believe. Again, so weird! Weird because I have told myself forever that I LOVE it. And, I do. But after this fasting period I want to proceed with some very clear intentions in mind and I have decided that I will be taking a few days off each week.
Is kind of a big deal in the world of health and nutrition these days and that got me to thinking that perhaps I could apply those same principles to my social media. So, here’s my initial take on some rails designed to keep me accountable and productive. No social media on Sundays, Monday mornings and Friday mornings. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays I can post and scroll ONLY after I have completed my top 3 priorities for the day. This might mean that I’m on by 10:00am or that I’m not on until the afternoon. In addition to this schedule, I will be paying very close attention to who I follow on my personal account and I will be unfollowing any people or accounts that disrupt my confidence or pique my curiosity to the point of distraction. You know what that looks like right?
I very much want to guard my new found sense of freedom and the energy, productivity and creativity that I have reclaimed. I know that I can always use the search tool with hashtags to learn more about a topic and I can easily check in on people with a public profile—I don’t have to follow them ALL the time!
I’m KEEPING the stuff I truly LOVE …
I created an account on Instagram in January, 2011, just months after it launched and I now have three accounts, although one of them is in desperate need of some attention and TLC. My favorite thing to do with Instagram is turn my posts about family and every day life into Chatbooks. I have over 70 volumes and keeping up with them has been a memory-keeping solution that has allowed me to focus on the stories I most want to tell with my traditional scrapbooks. I have recently learned more about Insta-stories and I enjoy those, although I want to become more of a contributor than a consumer. Again, something to work on!
When it comes to Facebook, I have recently, been honing my skills, as they were sorely lacking. Since doing so, I’ve realized that I like Facebook more than I thought I would. I want to use my Facebook time to create more groups and to do move live broadcasts.
Twitter has never been a problem for me. I open it only rarely and use it mostly to quickly and easily share content and products that I have found useful.
So, I’m curious if any of you have done a fast of this kind and what you have learned. Do you do anything to curb the addictive qualities of social media and stay the task master? I would be very grateful for any insights or advice!