What I Learnt Coming “off” Social Media

For the past couple of months, I’ve been “off” social media. It started as a give-something-up-for-Lent thing and thus far, it’s continuing. I’ve been trying this for a few reasons, but primarily to curb my procrastinating and reduce my anxiety. The results have been interesting – and not what you might expect.

When I say off I actually mean “off”

If you follow me on any of my social media accounts, you’ll notice that I’ve not actually deleted them or stopped posting. So in that sense, I’m not completely “off”. But I have deleted my social media apps from my phone and logged out of my accounts, so I can’t just absently go into them without thinking. I use Buffer to post, something I do anyway but usually just to schedule them in. Now I post even immediate shares via Buffer so I don’t accidentally fall down the scrolling hole. In practical terms, I just can’t remove my feeds entirely. I use them to share blog posts, promote my books, and connect with fellow writers. So, unfortunately, the temptation to peek remains and sometimes I’ll admit I have caved. There’s a reason these networks have been so successful and part of that is their addictive nature.

There are plenty of other ways to procrastinate

I had hoped coming off social media like this, would have lead to me writing more. But writers will find many ways not to write (physically anyway, we write a lot in our heads and then struggle to get it on paper). And unfortunately, there’s still TV, video games, magazines, book and well, the rest of the internet. I find plenty of other sites on which to fritter away my time and avoid doing things like er, writing. So my anxiety finds other places to feed and has not yet reduced as much as I’d like. The next step would be to stop ‘surfing the ‘net’ completely of course. But that could be one step too far. What I’m going to try instead is to find better ways to procrastinate with colouring books, papercraft, cross-stitch etc so at least I’m being creative even if I’m not writing!

It’s surprisingly easy to get out of the loop

One of the good things about social media (and yes there are some), is it connects you with people you don’t see day-to-day. You can keep up to date with bits and pieces in their lives from what they post. But if you’re not looking at your feed every day, you can quickly lose track of things and feel a bit of an outsider. And yes before you say it, it would be great if I could talk to people to keep up to date, but the reality is neither I nor they necessarily have the time to do that. That’s where these titbits about a new job, engagement, or photos from a recent party really come in handy. 

I’m not sure if I’ll continue to keep my channels at arms length. It’s hard to engage with people I follow without scrolling through and commenting on posts. Equally, I do feel like I do feel a bit better emerging from the bubble. The ideal would be to be able to cut down my use rather than cut out entirely. But anyone who’s tried that before will know it’s not easy; “Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!”

Have you ever tried coming off social media or cutting down on your internet use? Let me know your experiences in the comments?

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5 Ways You can “Write” without Writing

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15 thoughts on “What I Learnt Coming “off” Social Media

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  1. I have successfully (to one degree or another) reduced social media usage, admittedly basically FB and WordPress. I used to check randomly, multiple times a day. Then I ditched most apps (not WordPress, since I type a lot of posts in Notes on my phone and it’s easier to copy-paste into the app). That’s helped my successfully limit most social media usage to a couple days a week.

    The out of the loop thing is a definite. It doesn’t help when most of your high school, college, and grad school friends, and family, live in different states, even different countries (the “talk” option doesn’t work nearly as easily). Frankly, I’m terrible about keeping in touch with people normally, but FB has made it a lot easier (possibly part of its potential for addictiveness).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. I admire how you’ve limited your interaction. I feel like if I started again now I go right back to how I was. And I can very much relate to being terrible at keeping in touch with people. From that perspective I do like SM. But perhaps messaging apps are the better way to do this!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m comforted to read that my procrastinating and writing issues are not unique, and agree with your experiences.
    The biggest benefit to me in going ‘off’ social media was more of a mental attitude shift, because I was too concerned about how people reacted to what I wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, thank you very much for this great post. I think above anything the time we spend on social media is not healthy and needs to be reduced. I actually just wrote an article on the good things about social media on my blog and I would be really interested to hear your thoughts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post/read! I find myself scrolling to ‘catch up’ whenever I need login to social media to post something for a customer – I do not offer social media services, but pinch-hit if they are busy – :). I have never had social media on my phone – email is bad enough – LOL – but yes, I LOLd when I read the line, “…(physically anyway, we write a lot in our heads and then struggle to get it on paper)…” because yes! Thank you! I feel not so alone – I can be cooking, gardening, washing dishes, doing data entry, whatevs and my mind spins through a fairy tale, a story, an insight, and then, once done with the task and I set into writing it? Hmmm….a mythical legend in my own mind – an hour later – I can’t quite delete, yet not quite put forth or put into a manuscript, thus, I save in folder for ‘possibilities in need of edit’ and often delete 2/3rds of them later – – which begs the question… If one must write every day, to become a good writer, then I’ve got that nailed – so now what? LOL. Thanks for the uplift this a.m.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your reply! Social media is just the devil when it comes to hooking you in, which is why I try to keep off it – but with mixed success.

      With reference to writing in our heads, I don’t think there’s a writer alive who doesn’t do that! I’ve composed perfectly brilliant chunks of writing only to lose it all when I finally sit down to write. I think of writing every day in terms of “every little helps” – even if you delete it, you learn something more about the craft and know, at least, what doesn’t work!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If nothing else, my typing skills since the stroke improve – somewhat – ahh…I miss the days of 92wpm with no errors – writing/editing was so much easier then – – LOL. but you are right, every bit helps, in some area – 🙂

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