I admit it – I suck at social media.
I’m not talking about the number of followers I have on Twitter or the number of likes on the new POP GOD Facebook page, although I’m always wishing I had a few more.
I’m talking about the way I use these incredible technologies.
Ever since I got an iPhone I’ve been a lot more connected to Facebook. In the back of my head I was afraid this might happen.
What was once a fun hobby has become an annoyance. I don’t even really enjoy Facebook anymore. Yet I can’t look away.
I still check it religiously, wondering if I missed something important, if someone posted something interesting, if someone tagged me in something or liked my post.
Nope – just another baby picture or irrelevant political opinion.
I used to think the problem was with all of my Facebook friends. Now I think the root of the problem is in myself.
I don’t think my friends have a problem with over-sharing on Facebook. I think I have a problem with over-consuming.
I get annoyed that everyone thinks their picture is the cutest or their statement on the world’s events is the most profound. I roll my eyes when everyone in the world posts a picture of their Dad on Father’s Day like they’re doing something original or deep.
But I think I’m only getting annoyed because I’m checking Facebook on my phone 30 times a day. I’m seeing these same posts over and over again.
Checking social media on my phone or my laptop is such a knee-jerk reaction to boredom these days. If I have one free second at home, in the car, in mid-conversation, on the toilet, I’m probably checking Facebook or Twitter. It’s a bad habit I can’t seem to break. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Social Media has a way of sucking your mind into a trap. Scrolling through your timelines and news feeds feels like a mindless activity, but it gives us a false sense of accomplishment. It takes our minds away from the tasks at hand. And it takes our focus away from loving others to judging and gossiping about others.
If Facebook is sucking the life out of you too, maybe the problem is not with what your friends are sharing. Maybe the problem is the pace in which you’re consuming it.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s 4 ways you can avoid the Social Media Suck:
1) Take A Social Media Sabbath: Every week I try to take a full day off of social media. That means Facebook, Twitter, even email if possible. I don’t check the sites from when I wake up until when I go to bed. I really enjoy doing these sabbaths when I’m out of town for a day or two. Sometimes it takes a little planning, and sometimes I stumble and feel the need to check anyway. But it is incredibly refreshing to remind yourself of what life was like before Facebook for 24 hours.
2) Delete The App: I’m not gonna encourage you to become a complete radical and delete your social media accounts. But I can tell you that deleting the shortcut to your social media apps will make you less likely to run to them in those moments of boredom. Don’t worry – deleting the apps won’t delete your account. It will trick your mind into avoiding the accounts a little more. (Side Tip: If you don’t want to delete the app, try turning off notifications on your phone or your email for your different social media outlets. This way you won’t get an alert every time someone posts something on your wall, and thus won’t be tempted to immediately check it out.)
3) Set Limits: Somedays it’s easier to ignore social media than others. Then there are days when I check my phone 20-30 times, maybe more. What if you set a limit to the amount of times you check your social media accounts? What if you only checked Facebook once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once at night? Maybe your social media accounts would not seem to have such an overwhelming control and presence in your life. You really wouldn’t miss anything either.
4) Avoid The Mindless Morning Scroll: Raise your hand if your cell phone doubles as your alarm clock. Now raise your hand if the very first thing you do as you turn the alarm off is start a mindless morning scroll through your social media timelines as you try to wake up in the bed. You may see this as a harmless way to start your day. But really it’s akin to pouring yourself a shot of whiskey in the morning instead of milk. You’re fueling your addiction as you start your morning. Your mind is at it’s most productive in the early morning hours, believe it or not. When you devote the strongest time of the day for your mind to brainlessly thumbing through Twitter you’re letting your strength go to waste. Try to wait until you’ve done something productive in the day before you check your Facebook wall for the first time. Read the bible, go for a walk, make your coffee, write for 30 minutes. Let your mind get going on it’s own before resorting to your @mentions to wake it up.
What I’m getting wrong about Facebook is not what others post, but how I consume it. Could that be the case with you too? Which of these tips could you try to beat the Social Media Suck?
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