Call me insensitive, call me judgemental, call me whatever you like…
… but LinkedIn is not the place you should be to declare to your network that a family member has died of cancer.
Yes I’m sorry for your loss but with personal tragedy I choose to keep quiet on social media as I don’t want the sympathy of strangers and people who haven’t talked to me since my GCSE school year.
But despite personal preferences I can accept people deal with grief in their own way – but will always argue a professional social network is never the right place.
There is enough doom and gloom in the world amplified by social media, that I don’t need what was once a bland, neutral platform to be another outlet of bad news.
Or perhaps all this is just a sign I need to cut back on my social media?
Therefore today I start a a new challenge, one which I invite you all to get involved with if you desire – switch off from social media for 31 days.
Why switch off social media?
How social media impacts you mentally…
Last week I posted about my struggles keeping up to my blogging schedule – it’s true I’ve been busy with work and family, but I know I’ve also wasted a lot of time scrolling through my phone.
In recent months I‘ve felt social media has been taking more from me than I’ve been getting from it which has left me feeling worthless as I waste away precious time.
The yearn to switch off has grown inside me as I seek to improve my productivity and offer more than I consume.
If that isn’t enough reason to switch off, social media over the past year seems to have increased in adverts – if you go on YouTube you’ll find you now have to watch two adverts, which often seem much more complicated to skip to watch a video, and if you go on Instagram you see more “recommended content” than clips from people you actually follow.
How social media impacts you spiritually…
I also don’t feel I’m as present in situations – my mind wanders, I have a short attention span, and can’t allow myself to have head space in any situation whether it’s looking out a train window or sitting on the toilet without reaching for the phone after a second of doing nothing to see what one of my social media accounts is saying.
I yearn for boredom, not to know the latest pointless trivia, and just get old without worrying about a social media brand.
I want to pay more attention to my kids, talk to my wife more, and check in to see how old friends are doing.
The ironic thing about social media it was sold as a way to help us reconnect and keep in touch, but I don’t feel like I use these tools anymore to talk to people involved in my real life.
Why switch off social media?
More like why not switch off social media!
Defining: What is social media?
How does one classify what social media is?
It may seem a tedious pointless exercise like plucking single blades of grass to trim your lawn, but if you want to cut something out, you have to know what it is you need to deal with.
Is YouTube social media or video entertainment? Pinterest? I’ve seen this described as a search engine of pictures. What about blogging… is WordPress social media?
To answer, this post from Digital Vidya answers my question: What Are The Different Types of Social Media.
Using this criteria Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) are out.
Media sharing networks – I won’t miss Instagram, and moderate my usage of YouTube, ensuring I’m not going the rabbit hole of watching pointless videos I didn’t ask for pulled out by the algorithm.
I will keep using WordPress, because as a writer and blogger, this is the one place I produce more than I consume, but will not spend the whole 31 days looking at my page views – a hypocrite I am, because I’ve told people to not obsess over metrics, but I can’t help over analysising these numbers to work out what it all means!
What I would like to get from disconnecting from social media
It’s all good saying that I’m going to disconnect from social media, but I think it’s important what I want to get from the experience so I know how I can measure if I’ve been succesful.
Therefore during the 31 day switch off I would like to:
- Give more attention to my family.
- Put more focus on my hobbies/interests/goals.
- Not feel down or hopeless as much.
- Rely less on social media to be a form of entertainment to occupy my time.
- Achieve a number of small tasks I’ve been delaying because “I’ve been too busy” to get around to them.
How will I go about switching off social media?
Six months ago, I set my phone to mute all social media notifications – so I don’t get those little buzzes and pop ups to validate that I’m significant.
It works in theory, but it doesn’t stop you from switching off completely, as you can still click on the apps and view the notifications in your own time.
Therefore I’m taking some additional extra steps to reduce my usuage.
- Uninstall the apps.
- Focus on gradual reduction than a total switch off.
- Keep my phone out of sight at all times.
- No phone scrolling at bedtime.
The one small technicality that impacts a full social media switch off…
I’m 100% behind switching off and cutting down on social media for 31 days, but the small issue that I worry about will bring me back to my social accounts without even thinking about it is that my job requires the management of the teams social media!
I really have no idea how I’m going to manage and wonder if I’ll just levitate to some trash brought up by the alogirithm to keep me reading.
To try and deal with this, I’ve set myself the following target:
- I will use social media to post content and manage engagement as required by my job, but I will not do any further scrolling or reading of trivial content.
Do you want to cut down on your social media use?
This is my social media switch off challenge, where over the next few weeks I will be sharing some posts about cutting back on social media to give you tips and advice to switch off.
If you’re inspired by this post, then why not try switching off for 31 days?
What do you say? Are you in?
We’ve got this.
Wishing you the best in your success
James @Perfect Manifesto