If you’re involved on any of the social media platforms, you’ll regularly hear people mention that the noise is too much.
We’re all aware of Facebook envy, where you imagine that people’s lives are the sum total of their updates, because nobody posts about the flip side of the coin, real life.
Instagram has made it a little worse for some people, I’d imagine, with all those beautiful pictures of families, homes, travel, baking, and so on.
I remember when we went on a beach holiday, scrolling through my phone pictures, I’d see both Instagram-worthy photos (the beach…) and also the moments between Instagrams, like kids having time outs, messy kitchens after meals and laundry day craziness.
The truth is I’ve never really felt like I needed to unplug because I try to live life on my own terms and not compare myself to others… and I feel relatively well balanced. Well enough that I can coach other people in total integrity knowing I am being authentic.
You see, I set up some social media boundaries for myself years ago which are now very firmly entrenched habits:
- I like to be more of a contributor than a consumer on any social media platform. If I’m on a particular site, it’s first to contribute (post, comment, etc.) and then to consume (check other people’s pretty pics and status updates).
- I also use social media to connect with people. So if I scroll through my feed and see something I enjoy, whether a post or a photo, I’m probably going to comment or “like” that snippet. I want people to know I’m reading, watching and enjoying catching up with them, no matter how superficial some might think that is.
- And of course, being a time management coach, I have very firm time boundaries for myself.
Also, very old-fashioned of me, but I actually still use Pinterest for my original reasons, storing bookmarks and websites I may want to reference again, and of late, as a search engine for pretty things.
All of that said, a few weeks ago, I was praying about a situation and I just felt like I couldn’t hear very well because my brain felt too cluttered.
I sensed that I should take a bit of a social media fast to clear my head a bit.
Since I didn’t feel that it was completely necessary to not have any involvement, I did a “light version”:
- I blogged in advance for the week ahead.
- No internet at night after supper. Night times were now reserved for cooking, husband and kids, gym, photos, prayer and Bible reading and other projects… like the good old days!
- I only read blogs while eating my lunch at work and if I could only read and comment on three blogs during that time, then so be it.
What were the results?
- I got a TON of things done around the house.
- I heard a lot from God – I journalled too so I wouldn’t forget it all.
- I felt calmer and more peaceful.
- There was more time so I slept more during that week. My usual sleep duration is at least 7 hours and I was getting in 7.5 – 8 hours daily.
- Of course my Feedly had about 200 items in it (I subscribe to about 75 blogs) and after the fast, I unsubscribed from a few feeds, the ones where I wasn’t even slightly tempted to do some catch-up reading.
I still don’t think I’ll need to do a social media fast very often but I’m definitely sold on doing one at least every six months.