I think everyone can relate to the love-hate relationship that is social media. I’ve been on social media for almost 15 years. Over that time, I’ve connected with people from my past and present that I wouldn’t have been able to without social media. There is no doubt that it has been an amazing tool.
But there have been some issues in the last few years.
- Facebook’s feed algorithm is a joke. I see the same 25 people’s posts every time I get on the site. I have 840 friends. The number of friends is not the point. The point is that I’m not even seeing 25% of the posts my friends make. And recently, Facebook got rid of lists, which allowed me to quickly check for updates from certain groups of people, like family. Now, I don’t know if they post unless I go to each profile individually. I don’t have time for that.
- Instagram’s feed is going the same direction. I get constant comments from people I follow, especially ones that depend on social media for their livelihood, that their followers don’t see their feeds. This has led to a lot of Instagrammers completely relying on Stories but those are getting so congested, making it longer and longer for me to watch in one sitting. And I don’t have time for that, either.
- Twitter is getting congested with retweets and sponsorship links. Plus, there are a lot of people I follow who get really caught up in the vitriol and drama of the internet. While I started following some people for the encouraging, yet challenging, posts, a lot of their more recent stuff has just been reactionary. I actually like Twitter’s format the most, but it sometimes feels like I’m not connecting with anyone on there, just shouting into the ether, and like I said already, no time for any of that.
With all the frustrations I had been experiencing, I really felt compelled to just leave it all behind.
In September 2018, I removed the Facebook app and Facebook Messenger app from my phone on a whim (why two apps are required is just ridiculous). Last year, I continued with the impulsive decisions. I stopped using social media on Sundays (with a few exceptions sprinkled throughout the year) and I deleted my Twitter app from my phone.
A lot of these decisions were influenced by wanting to be present with my active son. But it was also influenced by the fact that I lost track of time when I was on these accounts. Just think about all of the other things on my to-do list that could have been done in that time.
And if I felt energized or motivated after the time spent on these sites, then that would be one thing, but I usually don’t. And this is not a judgment on anyone else’s social media use. I just know that what I’m doing with my use was simply not working. And I needed to make a change.
But I realized I couldn’t leave. Not completely. Facebook groups are utilized on a regular basis by my neighborhood, church, and community. If I want to stay connected to these places and people I care about, I need to stay on these sites to some extent.
It’s not the people I was wanting to leave. It’s the sites, themselves. So, heading into this new year, here’s the plan.
- I am not going to deactivate anything this year. But I am going to be purging a lot of the accounts I follow and reassessing how I want to use these sites moving forward. I’m hoping that by culling back, it will help with those algorithms, among other issues.
- I am keeping both Twitter and Facebook off of my phone. I can still use my laptop, but it does naturally limit the amount of time I can spend on them.
- I will continue to fast from social media on Sundays.
- I am moving the phone charger away from my bedside table, so I don’t use it first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
I may add to this list as I move throughout the year. I don’t want it to get complicated, though. Simplicity is actually my main motivator in all of this. I just hope I can use these changes, or maintain the changes I’ve already made, to pursue a happier, healthier, more productive, and ironically, a better connected life. I guess we shall see.