Looking at the troubling symptoms that the smartphone revolution has gifted us most probably left you in an awkwardly self-aware state of confused guilt, and as the guys on top are on to a good thing, it is extremely unlikely that they will start spreading the ‘less is more, get back to real life’ message any time soon.
And so the responsibility falls heavily on we users to monitor our own consumption. While the track record for this method is not good, it was fed-up cigarette smokers, tired of losing loved ones, and suffering greatly, who once retaliated against corporate giants to have the playing field levelled. Sure, social media isn’t mortally harmful like smoking, but there are undoubtedly negative side effects and it is up to us, and us alone, to change the game.
How you go about your social media detox/diet is entirely up to you and may vary according to your level of dependence. However you go about it, have a think on the following points to see where you can trim down time wasted and turn up the good stuff.
Limits on devices.
Instead of having apps installed on your phone, laptop, home computer and tablet, try keeping them in one, non-portable place. If it’s not in your pocket at all times, you may be less tempted to be constantly checking in.
Limits on time.
Pick ‘social media time’ each day and use it only during these hours. Don’t log on first thing in the morning or last thing at night – try filling these hours with useful, positive information to feed your mind; read a novel, do some meditation, or have a conversation. The time you allot to social media may depend on your work requirements and might be three times per day, or just once. Either way, put a time limit on it, and stick to it.
Limits on content.
If you feel like social media content might be dumbing you down, you’re probably right. We might have the sensation that we are absorbing more information, news and insight than ever, but there is a lot of rubbish in the mix. If you have people in your news feed whose posts agitate you, make you roll your eyes, or make you feel bad about your life, un-follow them. Same goes for blogs, links, videos and articles that don’t pass the “do I really need/want to read/watch that?” test.
Limits on life.
Social media often runs contrary to living in the moment. If you are with a friend, family member or colleague, eating a wonderful meal or experiencing a wonderful moment resist ALL temptation to a) check-out of reality by going online or b) check-in online to tell everyone about how great your reality is. The moment you do this, the actual moment loses its value. Try this technique, and your experiences will begin to take on the color of something so wonderful it needs to be kept secret.