Minimising time spent on social media

I’ve realised that the internet is a big time sink for me lately, whilst there are valid reasons for some of this time (related to health and not being able to socialise as much as others), much of it is mindless. In a bid to adapt my daily routine to something more healthful, I am trying to clean up my time spent online!

A short amount of thought revealed that much of my time is spend on social media (namely Facebook which is the only site I use) looking at mindless rubbish that others post, little of which is truly interesting to me and most of which is massively irritating! I would never watch things on TV that I found to be banal, dirty, disgusting or went against my personal beliefs. So why on earth have I spend so much time absorbing it via Facebook? I had even set up 2 accounts, in an attempt to remove myself from much of this and distance myself from mere acquaintances as opposed to true friends. The reality was the the acquaintances account was simply an opportunity for me to nose into the lives of people that I have no contact with in the real world. I realised that this content was impacting on my mental health and cluttering up my mind.

Like or not, we as human beings compare ourselves to others. It seems to be in-built and it negatively affects our happiness. If you want to read more on this subject then I suggest several of the books written by Oliver James. The trouble is that people paint the picture that they want to be seen on Facebook (and probably other social media too, like Instagram). They post pictures and comments that can make it seem like they are leading a perfect life, even if the reality is very different. Even if they are posting seemingly every day things, via my professional training and personal experience, I have come to realise that these can be harmful to others. The mere fact that you have a job, can be a knife in the side of someone unemployed. People who plaster their relationship information all over social media, can be upsetting people who are single. People who post endless pictures of their children cause endless heartache to those who are infertile or who have lost children. All of the above can be a never-ending reminder of perceived failures to a person struggling with mental health issues. Certainly those who are posting these aspects of their daily lives are probably completely unaware of this, as it just seems to be the mundane and the every day to them.

I have also begun to ponder about the total over-sharing of personal information via social media. We know so much about our friends and acquaintances, probably far more than we would ever know, even if we hung out with them constantly. We know their religious, political and other personal views, sometimes in detail- as people share articles of interest and comments. I have also found that when you do meet up with people, it’s like they already know everything of interest that you would normally have shared in conversation- often killing it dead. Personally I think it should be re-named as ‘Rub it in your Face-book”, as that is what it currently feels like to me- just an exercise in Narcissism.

Hence, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I just culled my second account and also knocked 10 friends off my other account. Thus taking my friends down to 21. I also cleaned up my likes and groups, to keep my newsfeed minimal too. Honestly I’d love to get rid of it completely, but I find it valuable for work and there are some friends I’d like to keep up with in that way.

The next step is to work on a more balanced and healthy daily routine, with less time spent online and more time spent in healthier pursuits. I have recently taken up colouring again- adult colouring books and mindfulness anyone? I’m sure I will blog about that soon.

What are you perspectives on the good and the ills of social media? How do you balance it with being a Minimalist?

2 thoughts on “Minimising time spent on social media

  1. I agree with a lot of points here regarding social media, especially the idea of “oversharing personal information”. I try to teach my students every year a little bit about internet safety, especially with what posts/photos they share on the internet. It is scary what can be done with those photos, even if your privacy settings are high. I can admit that I don’t typically feel positive after scrolling through my Facebook feed, just because most of it is senseless information that I don’t really care about. There are certain things I appreciate, like articles that friends with a like-mindedness share. But there are those that just post selfies, or daily pictures of their dog or children or meals, and, like you said, it’s clutter. I have yet to set a way to balance this; I suppose a good start would be to either have a technology-free or social media-free day per week.
    Now that you mention colouring books and mindfulness…. have you ever heard of Zentangle? It’s mindful pattern-drawing, you should look into it. I took an information session on it yesterday and it was very calming.

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I am intrigued by Zentangle and I shall definitely be looking into it more. I am an Occupational Therapist by profession and during my training, we explored collective occupation through pattern making in pairs. This looks similar in some ways and also very different. But aren’t the designs beautiful and all done with simple pen & ink!

      My OH is a teacher by profession and they have even had the police visit, sharing about the dangers of social media. It seriously made me consider giving up altogether as he has already done. I think the idea of an internet-free day is great- almost taking it back to the idea of a ‘day of rest’. Did you know that you can also remain friends with people, but no longer ‘follow’ them on Facebook which means your newsfeed won’t be so cluttered. The bad news is that Facebook tends to fill it with more stuff from other sources, so now I get more stories than I would like from a newspaper! From my recent reading, I believe there are apps that will streamline what you see online, but I am not sure quite how they work yet. I discovered this by accident when looking into ad-blockers. Apparently they also massively improve the battery life of your mobile phone.

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