Over the last few years, I have read a few books (like this one and this one) that woke me up to the danger of social media and the role our phones play in our lives. However, it was watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix that drove me to fully address my own personal phone scrolling and put social media back in a healthy spot for me. I know everyone’s relationship will look different. Some people live far from family and therefore spend more time online to keep in touch with relatives. Others have social media in their job description. I begin with that caveat to say that I generally don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do this. It just depends on what is right for you and your life.
So with that said, as I have paid more attention over the last few months, I believe that a healthy relationship with social media all comes down to boundaries and intentions.
To start, I want to address each platform and how I use them.
I am almost entirely off of Facebook personally. I have never connected with the platform and truly hate the negativity that I see when I do take a quick scroll. Those hateful political posts too. Why though? The only time I use Facebook is to check on a few helpful groups I am a part of (motherhood, design, and lifestyle-related). Otherwise, I would be completely off of this platform in a heartbeat. Perhaps I will be soon.
I highly recommend the podcast series Rabbit Hole about the intense ways that the internet, specifically YouTube, sucks people into their algorithm. Since listening I have set this rule for myself: I only use YouTube as a search platform & I don’t allow myself to get pulled into their “recommended” videos loop. It’s a hard stop after the 1-2 videos I came searching out.
I still use and love Pinterest. It’s a such helpful tool for inspiration. Plus, I love looking at beautiful photos. I usually gravitate towards this platform when I need some creativity. And for some reason, I don’t find myself mindlessly scrolling here. I usually get on for a few minutes to search for something specific and then I’m off again for a few days. I hope to keep up the use of the platform in a healthy way.
Tik Tok, Snapchat, etc.
At around stage 5 of quarantine, I hopped onto Tik Tok for a brief stint. And while I did enjoy watching the cute videos that made their waves over there, I never fully connected. I found myself wasting too much time watching videos of teenagers dance. Not my scene. Deleted this one from my phone after about a month. The same goes with Snapchat and any others that the youngsters gravitate towards.
This is the platform that has made the biggest impact on me. I love everything about Instagram. People are generally more positive and uplifting on this platform (although that has changed more and more recently). I can connect with friends and see their “highlight reel” in a quick way. And I love the pretty photos, especially. With that said, I often found myself mindlessly scrolling (mostly at night) to wind down. This scrolling wasn’t adding anything to my life and in fact, it often left me unsatisfied and dull. After completing my summer social media sabbatical (more here), I noticed that I truly only missed a few key aspects of the platform. Those aspects for me: the pictures, the people, and the positivity. And so with that new framework in mind: I set a social media intention. A reminder each time I log in to keep me on track with my purpose for being there.
Here is mine: Focus on connection & positivity & inspiration.
I can’t remember where I heard about this concept but it has helped me immensely. I highly suggest you give it a whirl. To begin ask yourself one simple question: Why am I logging in today?
I also set some strict rules for myself:
- I delete the app off my phone from Friday night through Monday morning. I’m not always perfect with this but having the weekend be social media free is truly a joy.
- During the week, I only check it once a day (usually during my lunch).
- My time limit per day is 30 mins (to scroll, share something, or comment)
I have loved the results of this. I have more time in the day and my time at night is more productive. And you know what? I honestly don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.
So I’d love to hear: What are your social media stats like? Do you also struggle with finding a healthy spot for social media in your life? Tell me below!
PS: I’ve heard The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry is a great read on this topic. It’s in my TBR stack for this year.