I just love the research that Cal Newport does. He’s all about getting the most out of our time and truly living the life that we want. Digital Minimalism is his latest effort to help us cull the distractions and focus on the things we truly value. The point isn’t to necessarily stop using social media if it brings value to your life, but to substantially lower the amount of time you’re using those programs to ensure that you’re actually living your life.
I’ve been following the release of this book for a while and knew that Newport advocates for a 30 day hiatus from all social media. My morning pages are full of weighing the pros and cons of this, but I wanted to see all of Newport’s arguments before making a decision. (Does that make me sound addicted to social media or what??!)
I left Facebook a long time ago. There was just too much pressure to “friend” people that I actually knew and I often became angry or disappointed when I’d see the inevitable political posts from them. I’d find it difficult to stop reading posts but walk away feeling sick. I haven’t regretted leaving that platform even once.
But I don’t feel that same pressure from Twitter and only follow a handful of people that I know in real life. I gain so much from Twitter – upcoming publishing news, inspirational mantras, and the increased understanding that so many of us have the same strange quirks and weird thoughts. When used well, Twitter is our shared humanity!
I find Instagram to be an inspiring place to hang out. Again, I’m only friends with a handful of people that I know in real life and it’s much harder to share political agendas on that platform. In order for a person to post, it takes an effort — you can’t just click “share” and spew your opinions and beliefs on others. I believe this leads to more high quality content.
After thinking about all of this, I’ve decided not to take a social media hiatus. But here is what I have decided to do:
Continue to cull my Instagram friends list. I started doing this after writing this post about how distracting Instagram is for me! Since culling my list, I have been logging into Instagram only once or twice a week to keep up with a few key people. That’s it. My last screen time report stated that I’d used Instagram 17 minutes the previous week, which was down from nearly 2 hours the week before. I’m making progress here!
Take Twitter off of my phone. Twitter has become my go-to time waster. My mindless scrolling oasis. I plan to become more mindful about when and how I use twitter. I’ll only use it when I’m sitting at my desktop and when I choose to. Not because I feel bored at a particular moment.
Continue to cull my Twitter feed. Several months ago I started unfollowing users who I perceived as negative – totally subjective, I know! I decided that I only wanted to see posts that are positive, encouraging, and funny. Of course I still want to know what’s going on in the world and see the headlines, which I often perceive as negative. But I’m trying to be mindful about the people I follow – what are their values? What are they putting out into the world?
This is my starting place. I’ll be interested to see if I notice a difference in my life by removing Twitter from my phone — and if it lasts!!
Have you read Newport’s new book? Or anything else by him? What did you think? Or have you been thinking about your social media habits and considering a change?