I remember a time when Twitter was only populated by bloggers and tech writers. Now, even grandma might be checking out her twitter feed during Sunday dinner. Not only that, but you’re more likely to find out about school delays and winter road conditions on Facebook than the morning news. Social media is the new Internet, and everyone is plugged in.
In part because of that pervasiveness, many people are finding that social media is crossing the line from enhancing their lives to disrupting it. Smartphones - and the platforms they connect us to - are now omnipresent at dinner tables, in the checkout line, and on the night table. Our tendency to always have one thumb in the digital world means we never have to be bored or alone - but it can also rob us of mindful moments and opportunities to deeply connect in person.
Social media, like the Internet as a whole, is not inherently bad. It is a tool to be used as the user sees fit. However, it can also become a crutch, something used to numb rather than inform, distract instead of connect.
Are you finding Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or some other social media platform is interfering with your desire to live your best life? It may be time to put yourself on a social media diet.
Tips for a Social Media Diet
- Delete social media apps from your phone. Is your phone most likely to be a source of mindless distraction for you? Dump the apps and stick with using a computer for occasional check-ins and updates.
- Set time limits. Do you intend to spend five minutes on Twitter and suddenly find you’ve lost an hour? Set a timer to remind you when it’s time to get back to the real world.
- Clean up your contacts. Are you spending most of your time on social media scrolling through updates from 1,500 people you don’t really know? Whittle down your list to a group of people with whom you want to have meaningful interactions.
- Establish no-social-media zones. Are you tweeting instead of snuggling with your spouse at the end of the day? Agree to keep social media devices out of the bedroom, away from the dining room table, or turned off during movie night.
A social media diet isn’t a boycott; it’s an opportunity to be more mindful of how and when you plug into the matrix. It’s a chance for you to take back control of where you spend your attention, instead of letting habit and compulsiveness decide for you.
Have you successfully cutback on your social media use? Share your best strategies in the comments.
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