I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my relationship with social media. Over the years, I’ve struggled between enjoying it’s benefits while also watching it consume valuable time that I will never get back. I would take social media breaks, the most recent being earlier this year, in the hopes that I would be able to have more control over my time while still being active on the platforms. The problem was that I always returned and got sucked right back into the same cycle of consumption over creation.
Last month, I came across a few personal websites/blogs which made me re-think my usage of social media. They made me ask questions like:
- What is my intention behind using social media?
- How do I want to utilize my attention on a daily basis?
Eventually, I set out to answer these questions and began to think more and more about the intention behind many things that I do, not just with my time and attention on social media, but in life overall. So much so, that I think my word of the year for 2023 will be intention. What could be more crucial than how I spend my time when my life could end tomorrow? I seriously doubt that when I look back on my life, I’ll be reminiscing on the tweets and Instagram posts that I liked. I want to be able to look back and recall ideas that I brought to fruition, the creative ways in which I engaged with the world, and the like-minded individuals I met along the way.
I’m reminded of a talk that I listened to by Terence McKenna. He emphasizes the importance of reclaiming one’s own experience and that this is done by a series of negatives. That is, by not “believing, following, consuming, or watching.” It resonated with me so deeply at the time that I transcribed it into my journal. I realise now though that I never implemented his wisdom into my life. It only recently dawned on me that at the core of reclaiming my own experience is reclaiming my attention.
In today’s mainstream society, when we are inundated with a plethora of media and opinions vying for our attention, living as many moments as one can manage with intention may seem like an impossible task. I know one thing for certain – I can’t continue siphoning my attention towards the addictive aspects of social media.
So, what now? Do I delete my social media presence completely and become an off-the-grid nomad? Well, not just yet. I needed to assess my usage of each platform. Then, I would compare the benefits and drawbacks of each to determine if I should continue using them all or if I should delete the account permanently. The last step was to determine some general usage principles and to augment how I would interact with the platforms that I still wanted to use.
- Delete all mobile social media applications. This is imperative as the majority of my time wasted is scrolling through the explore page on Instagram and the home page on Twitter.
- Implement a fixed social media usage window
- Set a 30-45 minute timer to use social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) intentionally.
- Subscribe to newsletters and personal blogs that I want to keep in touch with via RSS reader which I check every few days during the above window.
And so, this is where I am currently. I’ve deleted all mobile social media apps and starting today, I’m limiting the time that I have daily to use these apps. When I do log in during that social media window, I plan to use the platforms as tools with the intention of actively interacting by commenting on tweets, messaging persons with shared interests and selectively watching videos that are aligned with my current curiosity. It’s the beginning of the journey but I already feel like I’m on the right track to a more intentional life.
Have similar thoughts that you’d like to share or want to start a discussion? Feel free to get in touch via email.
Open source RSS reader for Apple products: https://netnewswire.com/]