Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thoughts from My Social Media Fast

My social media fast ended just over 2 weeks ago on Easter Sunday, and since then I've slowly returned to Facebook and Instagram. I haven't taken that long of a break from social media since I joined the sites long ago so I thought I'd share my thoughts on how it felt.

Pros:
- I spent way less time on my phone. This was one of the biggest benefits of taking a break from social media. Before the fast I found myself mindlessly scrolling Facebook and Instagram. I think it's ok to do that occasionally but it can become a really big time suck, which was the case for me.


- It took away the comparison game. As I've mentioned before, I sometimes struggle with comparing my lives to others. Without social media, there was less temptation to compare my lives to others.

- Less exposure to all things political. I'm so over this year's election even though we aren't in the heart of the campaign season yet. I've pretty much completely disengaged myself from it because it only frustrates me to see a party that I typically would side with (Republicans) have such asinine people in the running for the candidacy (I'm looking at you, Trump and Cruz). It was easier to disengage without Facebook because I didn't have to see all the political articles and such that people share. I'm sure some will think it's awful that I've disengaged from the election process but it just frustrates me to follow the news. I'll still vote on election day but I will most likely not vote for a presidential candidate.

Con:
- I felt disconnected from far away friends. I do not enjoy talking on the phone so one of the primary ways I keep in touch with faraway friends is by social media. I missed being able to see what they were up to and seeing pictures of their kids or furr-babies.


Overall thoughts:
As you can see, I had 3 pros of staying away from social media and only one con, which is eye-opening. I am back on social media but my presence going forward will be different than it was before. The biggest change I am making is not adding Facebook back on my phone. I will look at my feed in the morning on my laptop when I am eating breakfast and maybe in the evening, but besides that I don't think I really need to be able to check it on a more regular basis. This way I'll still be able to connect with far away friends. This approach ties into my theme for 2016 being "the year of less" as I'll spend less time pouring over the latest news and status updates on Facebook and more time being in the moment in my very own life.


Have you ever taken a break from social media?

15 comments:

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

That makes a lot of sense- I think my pros and con would be EXACTLY the same. I have been having the hardest time with this election either. I'm an independent and my views definitely fall on both sides but I have no idea what I'm going to do on election day. Other than not vote for Trump- I'd say obviously but apparently lots of people will, so who knows at this point!
I also have trouble with the comparison game. But I like being in touch with faraway friends so this is basically why I've never given up social media. I should try to limit it though!

Jeanie said...

Good for you-- and I really agree. FB is a huge time sink but an excellent connector. And at political season it's just too much. I get crazy in restaurants when I see people sit down and whip out their phones (when they are with someone else). Talk to each other! It should be a tool for information not a crutch for constant activity. So, the checking a couple of times a day makes a lot of sense -- you still get the info but manage it. Good for you!

Marlys said...

I think people spend way too much time on facebook, but I do love seeing family and friends pictures and catch up on what they are doing! I am not a FB junkie, but do check on it a couple of times a day, but rarely post.

Nora said...

Love the idea of removing FB from my phone. I think I ought to/need to do this. I am active on FB because of the fitness group I'm a part of (I'm an ambassador for them so they like us to check-in at least once a day) BUT I can easily do that from my computer in the evenings.

suki said...

I probably SHOULD take a break from all social media. :) It's the healthy/sane thing to do.

Charbelle4 said...

I have access to FB from work, it's dangerous! I have to be careful because it can be a huge time drain! It was always something that my ex husband watched like a hawk so it caused me stress and I'm so thankful now that I can just enjoy it!

Caroline said...

I'm glad you found the social media break eye opening! I had similar results when I took a month off a couple of years ago. I haven't had the Facebook or Twitter app on my phone since then. I only have Instagram basically because you need to have the app on your phone to use it. I also use the "kill newsfeed" chrome app, which blocks my news feed from loading when I'm on my computer. This way, I can still log into Facebook and see my notifications/stalk Friends that I choose to/update my biz page without seeing random peoples daily posts. I originally did it for productivity purposes but it's been great to not see my news feed for those other reasons : )

Linda said...

The danger for me is stalking the wrong people and then feeling super bad about myself. Overall, social media is a fun and beautiful place for me to peruse. It's only when I'm not mindful of unhealthy stalking!

Jenny said...

I hardly post anything on facebook because it feels like bragging. The people that I want to hear meaningful stuff from either don't post it or are a coffee date away. But still I find myself checking my phone for updates first thing in the morning, making me run late! I have reduced my social media time, but it's a mindless habit when I'm bored (or procrastinating!).

Stephany said...

This election cycle is horrendous. I don't blame you for stepping back!

I take a break from social media for a month once a year (typically in August) because I just like the thought of completely getting away from the constant need to document my life and scroll through my news feeds and keep tabs on people. It's SO freeing. My mind instantly grows so much quieter. I love it.

Sandra Bond said...

I've never done a complete social media fast, but I do limit my time (esp. on Facebook) and I try to regularly clean out my 'friends' list' and what I see in my feed, because I find the amount of posts overwhelming.
Now, Instagram is a different beast... I love Instagram and only get annoyed with the more and more sponsored posts that seem to show up (even in my private account). Sigh.

It's a double-edged sword... the opportunity to be connected with people and the constant overload on information. Definitely a balance one has to find.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

It took me a long time to get a smart phone, as I didn't want to be so connected all the time. I am still on my first smart phone, and I'm not sure that it was the best idea to get it. I am definitely on it more than I need to be. I take a break when camping ... but that's about it.

likeschocolate said...

If you just remember that what you see on social media in terms of comparing yourself to other is that what you see is such a small portion of the story!
http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2016/04/newest-citizen.html

Raquelita said...

The comparison thing can be tricky, and I like having chunks of time where I'm not looking at a screen because I do so much at work. I used to take breaks here and there from social media, but now it's more challenging because due to budget and staffing cuts I administrate my department's Facebook page.

Amber said...

With my old job it would have been really hard for me to take a break from social media as I was on it ALL the time for work, but I think I could easily do it with this new job and I do think it would be a really good and eye opening break for me. I constantly find myself mindlessly scrolling -- exactly how they described it on Starr Struck Radio the other day -- and it's honestly THE WORST!! I need to break that habit for sure...