How much time do you spend on Social Media ?

social mediaI’ve recently read a few articles of social media and the writing life, and this has affected the way I think about both.

One of them is  ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia :

There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”

The one I can remember off the top of my head on the writing life: Why Write Fiction in 2017?

Unthinkable amounts of money are spent every day to engage the part of us that unceasingly wants—wants not just food and shelter, sex and security, power and status, but information, novelty, and connectedness. We are assailed at all turns by cravings; we are pulled in every direction by our desires. As twenty-first-century first-world humans, our first act in the morning is to check our phones—the nineteenth-century word we use to familiarize the glowing portals we carry with us, windowpanes we caress until they show us what we want. But writing, by necessity, means saying no to all of that. It’s an activity that must be monotasked—there is no other way to do it. And so it reminds us how it felt to do only one thing.

social media and holidaysI’ve always maintained a healthy skepticism for all social media, and a lot of respect for solitude, especially when writing.

Each year, I go on hiatus at the end of the year, and this one is no exception. I’m taking off a little early– for the next two weeks, I’ll draw back from online life. More reading, less time on social media, more time with family and with myself, less time in front of screens.

This is a time to cherish our relationships of all hues, shapes and intensities. I’m taking time off to be with books, with nature, and loved ones. I hope you’re able to find some time to relax with your friends and family as well.

Here’s wishing everyone a happy and peaceful holiday season! See you all in the new year.

How much time do you spend on social media? How does that affect your life? Do you ever take a social media hiatus? What plans do you have for the holidays?


I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post Fvourite Placethe last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity.

This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here’s a sampler. Click here to know more.

We’re taking a small break this December, and gather again in January. meanwhile, we’ll share all the wonderful #WATWB posts on social media.

Sign up here and add your bit of cheer to the world on the next installment this Friday, the January 26th, 2018.

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  1. Dorn Simon

    One can lose an entire day drowning in their Social Media, from platform to platform, account to account, timeline to newsfeed, and then if you are trying to utilize Social Media for your own work, business, freelance, bands, the time consumed quadruples…unless you can invest in paying others to take care of that for you, do your Social Media likes, comments, posts and so on.

  2. dianemoments

    Love this , thank you ! Once you check social media I feel like your Mind lingers in that world for a bit even after you log off. It prevents any kind of deep thinking at all. Scary and drug-like

  3. authorwilliammangieri

    I don’t spend much time on social media – I go out there every so often, and I can see how easily it can become a never-ending series of clicks, especially for an addictive personality like me. I don’t have enough time for my writing as it is.
    Thanx for the post!

  4. aj vosse

    Great post! I have a loathing for Facebook… but Twitter has got me just a tad!
    I think I should just develop a loathing for that as well!
    I’ve started a new day job… I want to give it my full attention because I believe the rewards will be meaningful… that means scaling back on other activities… so, time spent on social media has to be the first to go! Maybe not a bad thing!!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Yes, social media can become a huge timesuck if we aren’t careful! Congratulations on the new job!!

  5. jpcallenwrites

    Very good points. As writers, we need to experience life and can’t do that if we bury ourselves in social media. I’m conducting writing workshops for teens this winter, and I will emphasize the need to set aside the phone and absorb your surroundings. You never know what inspiration you will find.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      I think the next generation is wiser than us. They’ll find a way not to get sucked in, with proper guidance from us, of course. I know that staying away from social media made me feel less stressed. Otherwise, I keep remembering the things not done (as I mindlessly scroll through), instead of doing them.

  6. Steph

    Best wishes for a refreshing new year! I spend way too much time on social media. I plan to unplug (next month maybe) for a short period too.

  7. Marie H Curran

    I ditched Fb and Twitter (the only two social media sites I ever used) in 2015. My phone doesn’t have internet access and I’ve never looked back. I believe we still possess a need for solitude and our minds need a time out regularly. As for screen time, I too limit that and spend most of my days at a window. Some people regularly pull their heads from social media to announce I’m the odd one. I disagree.

  8. dgkaye

    Beautifully said D. Yes, I think for the average person there is an addiction to social media and mobile phones. For us writers, we also have to spend time there to engage with those who read what we write. After putting in my time on social media which cuts into writing or reading time, I’m glad to not look at my phone. 🙂 Enjoy your time off. Happy holidays and all the best things for you in the New Year. <3

  9. maureenjenner

    Your words are an invitation to pause, think – and conclude; yes, social media is far more intrusive than I care to admit. I spend (waste?) more time than I should following stray comments that lead me up the garden path and round the mulberry bushes.

  10. Leigh W. Smith

    Simply put: at times, way too much! It’s easy to get caught up in the spin cycle of social media, especially for the easily distracted people, as I sometimes am. A timeless and thoughtful post as always, Damyanti. Take care!

  11. Mark Murata

    Whatever you do, do not use your face as a substitute for a password. If hackers ever get a hold of that, they will then use your face that way for the rest of your life.

  12. macjam47

    I try to stay away from social media except for in the morning when I turn on my computer, but it is enticing and some days I’m better at it than others. It takes a huge amount of time from my day.
    Happiest of holidays to you, Damyanti. Love and hugs.

  13. hilarymb

    Hi Damyanti – I’m a-settling in here still and it’s not easy … but life will go on. I don’t spend very much time on Social Media – never sure where people get the time – but I think I need to be a bit more organised to get to grips with it – I’ll curtail it … never been an overdoser ..

    So glad #WATWB will be back in January … for now have a blessed and peaceful seasonal break enjoying family and friends and taking stock for next year … cheers and thanks for all you do – Hilary

  14. datmama4

    I do all my social media in bits and pieces when I have moments throughout the day, so I’d have to really think about it to give a total. I do believe I spend less time on it when I’m checking things from my phone, because phone-checking means I’m doing it during work (walking from one end of the building to another) or somewhere when I’m waiting for an appointment or a person. I know for sure that when I’m on my laptop at home, I can easily get lost, checking from one area to another and wasting all productive time.

  15. cherylfoston

    Thank you, for reading my blog throughout this year. It is greatly appreciated! I am in love with your blog and all the information you share! Thank you, for being a blessing to others. I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday! May 2018 be all you wish it to be!

  16. Viola Bleu

    What an interesting question. Since starting a blog two months ago, I have spent more time staring at my phone screen at every (legal) opportunity, it has to be said, but much LESS time on my social media, namely FB and Insta. How can this be? I’ll tell you how. I’m truly engaged now in a passion; learning to write. In such a format that people may want to read. I joined an online reading and writing group and have read more novels in the last 3 months than I had in the previous 15 years. I have started the blog. I am drafting a novella and some short stories as we ‘speak’ in fact, yet all the time collecting worthy sources of informative material. Yes, the writing group is FB-linked. But I don’t recall the last time I scrolled down to watch a singing dog post which a vague ‘friend’ found highly amusing. Instead, I’m on the private group daily, fully absorbed as author’s try self-publishing over traditional methods, then come up against the eternal ‘no-one knows me’ question and the advice from other members about agents and publishers.
    I have never felt as fulfilled as I do now.
    So … did that answer your question … damn it. Probably does in a roundabout way.
    Merry Christmas!

  17. umashankar

    There is no doubt the phenomenon is changing the circuits of our brain. Only time will tell how developmental, dystopian or decadent it will turn out to be. While those of us who have breathed in the days before the invention of the wheel called world-wide-web may emerge relatively less damaged (or less enlightened, depending on one’s point of view), I deeply fear for the generations who have seen the light of the smartphone before they could see the light of the day. As to your original question, I mostly stay off the imagined spotlights and I trust I have not been missing much, or being missed much by the glitterati either.

  18. Gary

    Hi Damyanti,

    Ah yes, social media. I have noted that social media and in particular, Farcebook aka Facebook, can be rather detrimental to our mental health well being if we start comparing ourselves to others on there.

    You enjoy your break, my kind friend.


  19. magickmermaid

    Have a wonderful holiday, Damyanti! 🙂 (Blogging is my only social media and I’m more of a reader than a poster. I don’t use a mobile.)

  20. Jemima Pett

    Happy downtime, Damyanti! I’ve been on final edits lately, so have had little or no time for social media. And I wonder how I get so much rubbish on there (apart from cute guinea pigs, they aren’t rubbish). 🙂

  21. Christy B

    A time away from social media makes sense, especially at this time of year. I wish you a wonderful break and time with both family and friends, Damyanti! ♥

  22. pjlazos

    Totally agree. I see it especially in my kids. Have a wonderful holiday, Damyanti. Hope you return renewed and refreshed.😘

  23. Almost Iowa

    I have turned all of my social networks over to my dog, Scooter. He not only has the patience to read to the end of a Twitter tweet but he does a better job of barking his outrage than I do.

  24. Emily Bloomquist

    I enjoy having no data plan for my phone so I can only get on social media when I am on wifi – usually at home. However, I certainly could cut back on the time I spend on social media when I am home. Cutting down for the last two weeks of the year is a great idea. Perhaps I will select a week per month to cut back, too. You have me thinking now, Damyanti. Thanks!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Glad it got you thinking, Emily—I find much food for thought on your blog.

      I’m becoming very conscious about my social media time, I end up going on them to share my posts etc.

      But I must ration it, and a clean break for the holidays will give me a good taste of how good it can be. 🙂

  25. Audrey Driscoll

    Writing must be monotasked. I like that! I write my first drafts — or more accurately, proto-drafts — in longhand, which means I don’t have to be connected to do it. Except for research, of course, which can take me down a rabbit hole. As for social media, I don’t do it, except for blogging, and even so I sometimes feel overwhelmed. Happy holidays, and wishing you a peaceful and creative interlude.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks, Audrey!

      I cut back on all kinds of life, online and offline, when I’m in my writing cave.

      Thanks for your wishes, and for your support to my blog over the years.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Yes, having an FB page to admin can be a strong motivation to go on FB everyday. I’m trying to cut back on posting on my FB page as well.

  26. Dan Antion

    I am not taking a formal break, but I plan to ease off quite a bit during the holidays. I participate in Twitter and Facebook, but I stick to a smal group of people and I avoid polarizing topics.

    Enjoy the break Damyanti – I wish you happy holidays and a wonderful New Year.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks, Dan– here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas, and a lovely New year– hope you get tons of time to spend with family and friends. I’m taking a formal break, because that way it is easier to stay away from online life–I’m attached to my blog, and it keeps drawing me online.

  27. literarylad

    Hi Damyanti, For some time now, every time I try and look at your blog, the pictures are not showing. I tried emailing you, but I don’t think it can have got to you. Other blogs are showing correctly for me, which would suggest there’s a problem with your blog – has anyone else noticed this? I spent some hours earlier this week trying to fix another of my blogs, which had the same problem. in the end, I managed to fix it by uninstalling, and then re-installing the Jetpack plug-in. Are you using Jetpack? In answer to the question in your post, I think I hate, not social media, but the technology on which it runs!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks for letting me know, Graham, and I’m sorry you can’t see the pictures. Didn’t receive an email from you, but your comment has my attention now.

      I haven’t had any complaints from anyone else, and I can see the pictures quite all right. I’ll look into this.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks, Sue, for your kind wishes, and for your support to this space over the years.Take care of you, and have yourself a blessed holiday season!

  28. travelswithfran

    What a worthwhile topic! I recently went on a trip with my son, his partner and my two young grandsons. They spent tons of time on their phones! All of them did. On the way back via air, we told our grandsons they had to find something else to do. They did puzzles, they read, they talked with us. It was the best part of the trip because they connected with us!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      You’re so right, Fran. Spending time together is all about connection.
      Social media, which are supposed to be about connections, have ironically become the screens we hide behind. I don’t know what the future holds for the coming generations, who do not spend enough time interacting with each other in real life, and thus don’t learn how to use or read social and interpersonal cues all that well.

  29. mestengobooks

    I’ve been thinking the same thing…which is why I’ll be cutting back on my social media accounts in 2018 – they’ve not increased my readership by much and I feel tethered to a lot of strangers. Time to pull back and be in MY life. Happy holidays.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Happy Holidays to you, too! I feel a little tired of social media, and feel the need for a break. I’m sure your cutting back on social media time will lead to positive results.

  30. ccyager

    Social media: I joined Twitter to promote my writing and found Twitter nearly overrun with writers promoting their writing. So I don’t spend much time on Twitter anymore. I have pages on Facebook for my writing — fiction and nonfiction — and I do post on them although not as often as I probably should. My personal Facebook page is just that — personal. I try to check in a couple times a week. I do not own a smartphone and have no intention of buying one. I have a flip cell phone that I carry for emergency use only (and occasional long-distance calls). Since I just lost my fulltime job, I expect the next few months to be filled with a job search online and that will cut into my writing time. It’s really crazy that the thing I want most to be doing — writing — must take second billing in my life because I need money to pay the bills! 🙂 Happy holidays to you, Damyanti, and I hope your time off will be rejuvenating.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Cinda, I admire your discipline with social media. I don’t think I could abandon a cellphone– it also works as a camera and a book, not to mention apps that have guide maps when I travel.

      But I’m determined to make FB and twitter an occasional stop, and devote more time to reading, and family.

      Here’s wishing you a holiday spell of peace and love, and goodness.

  31. cleemckenzie

    I did some research on the topic of attention and social media. The results were shocking and I posted about them over a year ago. What I learned changed how I interacted online, and I’ve experienced a difference.

    Have a wonderful break. Enjoy and see you in 2018.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      You as well, Lee– have a lovely holiday season! Please share the article with us– it will broaden the scope of this post.

  32. K.J.

    Yes. Too much time on social media and not enough of those mono-tasks is a habit I battle with all the time. I have found that the more often I turn off social media the easier it is to do the next time. I take my big break from social “everything” in January. It is a perfect month tho hibernate. Happy Holidays to all! I’ll see you again in February. 🙂

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Every word of this! I’m off to hibernate, as well, and will emerge in January. Have a lovely holiday season!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      You’re a blogging ninja, Alex. I don’t know how you manage the time for a job, writing, blogging, and then social media. I remain in awe.

  33. Fictionophile

    Blogging and everything that goes with it takes up a LOT of time! In order to respond and interact with other bloggers by following their blogs, liking/commenting on their posts as well as writing content for your own blog, well… you could let it take up your whole life. I took a day off last week to attend a family function and came home to over 300 emails. The only social media I participate in is Twitter and that takes more precious minutes out of every day. I DO love blogging (though it doesn’t sound like it here), but I do wish that I could be a blogger without the emails. I find that if I don’t have my settings set to receive an email when someone likes or comments on one of my posts, then I may be ignoring someone who supports me and I wouldn’t reciprocate in kind. It is a ‘Catch 22’.
    Merry Christmas!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Lynne, I hear you. I’m a terrible blogger, because I often wander off without replying to comments, and also don’t blog very consistently. I’m just very fortunate that my blog-friends are super-decent, forgiving folk who bear with my general scatterbrained-ness (that’s not a word, I know, but it describes my habits to a T).

      Thanks for reading, and for your support. I love your blog, and want to mention here that even though I lurk most times, I enjoy, and benefit from, your posts.

      Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you, as well!

  34. Sarah Mitchell-Jackson

    I grew up old school, so I know that concentration requires focus over time. I can’t have any distractions when I write, which is why you won’t find me toiling away in a cafe or with music on.

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Yes, social media plays havoc on attention spans. I do write at cafes but I take a social media hiatus whenever I’m in my writing cave–my cave can be quite metaphorical 🙂