How to Be Intentional with Social Media
In case you missed it I quit Facebook back in August. While I'm planning on doing a check in post with how that's going in a few weeks, today I want to talk about cutting back and being more intentional with social media in general. As each new social media platform got popular, we all got engrossed, and then another would pop up and again, engrossed. It's ridiculous to think that now we mindlessly check these things without even realizing it. I think we all spend more time on social media than we think we do and we really want to. My goal is to be more intentional with social media. I don't think it's bad, but I do think we need to control ourselves from the obsession with checking tweets and status updates. If you're an avid social media user I really encourage you to just try cutting back (completely or limiting) for even just a week to see how you feel. I found that within days of quitting Facebook my mind was just much more clear.
Turn off Notifications & Alerts
This is probably the easiest way to limit your time using social media without being too extreme. Sure, it's nice to get a notification when someone tweets you, but do you need a reminder to sign onto social media 25 times a day? If you aren't getting notifications and you aren't seeing that little red number (for iPhone users) saying you have new notifications you won't be reminded to check it as often.
To manage your social media alerts on an iPhone:
- Go to your Settings App
- Click "Notifications"
- Select a social media app
- There are many options once you get in here, I recommend just toggling over the "Allow Notifications" to off so you don't get ANY notifications. Alternatively you can just turn off sound, decide if the alerts show on your lock screen, etc.
Hide Your Social Media Apps
Don't have them on the main screen so when you look at your phone it's not automatically there in your face. I have a "Social Media" folder, but my Facebook app (the one I'm avoiding at the moment) is actually hidden in the Utilities folder. I know it's there, but since I don't go in there often, it's easier to forget about.
Remove the Apps from Your Phone
The first thing I did when I quit facebook was to remove the app completely. This and the tip below were the most important thing to kind of break me from the habit. I, personally, ended up needing it for work so I downloaded it again, but not having it on your phone at all definitely helps curb the habit to check it regularly because you'd have to download it.
Change Your Password
This is THE best tip. I changed my password to a long, confusing string of numbers and letters that I'd never remember. I kept it in a notepad file on my computer and, because I'm that crazy, I actually put several other random strings of numbers and letters in there with it so if I wanted to sign in I'd have to try several of them. That makes me sound insane, but it really worked. I would actually laugh at myself every time I'd open a new tab and suddenly be on the Facebook screen waiting to log in and it wasn't until then I realized that's what I was doing. It became such a silly habit.
Set Aside Time Throughout the Day
If you're ok with your social media use and just want to limit your activity try setting 2-3 little blocks of time throughout the day where you can check your accounts. That way you're not checking throughout the day and you're not stuck in the time suck for 3 hours! Set a timer if you have to. Seriously.
Install a Time Limiting Software
I've done this to myself a few times in the past. I use Mozilla Firefox and have used the LeechBlock plugin. You can set it so it blocks certain websites with many variables such as at certain times of day, during certain days or even after a certain amount of time. When you try to go to the website during a blocked time you get a screen that tells you that you're blocked and how many times you've tried to access that site. It gets a little humiliating when you get to 10+ times in a day.
Create "Rules" for Yourself
Maybe you tell yourself you're only allowed to post on instagram once a day. Or that you aren't allowed to post any status updates on facebook, just read them. No tweeting between the hours of 5pm and 9pm so you can spend time with your family. Whatever works for you and makes you feel better about your social media usage.
Limit the Number of People You Follow
Twitter isn't one of my favorite social media platforms and I think it's a combination of things, one being that I follow so many people on there that whenever I get on Twitter I can never catch up! Try reducing and limiting the number of people that you follow on your different social media platforms, especially if you're one of those people who feels the need to "catch up" and read every single post/tweet.
Some of these tactics sound a little extreme, but I'm going to be honest: when I quit facebook I was so surprised at how often I mindlessly would wander over to the website. I'm talking like a dozen or more times a day. I can't imagine how much time I was actually spending on it. Social Media is a great tool for many things: keeping in touch, meeting new people, marketing your business, etc. but it needs to have a time and place and shouldn't take up your whole day. No one needs to browse Pinterest for 4 hours straight!
Have you noticed your obsession with social media? Have you tried limiting it? I'd love to hear your experiences!