This is by no means a social media essay, or the benefits or disadvantages of being on social media–just a record of me going on a social media fast for the last 6 weeks.
I intended it for a month, but extended it to go on a much-needed life break.
The good news is that it let me–
- write about 90,000 words
- submit a few pieces, one of which got accepted
- read more books than usual, in a more focused way
- have a month free of (physical) headaches
I realised that even despite my social media ban during the mornings, I used to spend at least two hours a day on my blog and social media ( a lot of it volunteering, so I didn’t resent it). More than those two hours on social media, I suffered the effects of those two hours:
- I was happy to read others’ accounts of their lives, but couldn’t help thinking I was letting my life pass me by.
- I got a flow of useful information on social media thanks to those I follow, but felt like I had very little time to digest it.
- I was anxious about unread books, blogs and beta-reads, which led to headaches!
In the last 6 weeks, I missed the interaction, but realized I need to streamline it somehow. I’m not sure how yet, because I actually imagined I was being very disciplined about my social media time! Not so.
Billions of dollars are spent in keeping social media users like me stuck to our phones via bottomless feeds, providing us the dopamine hit of likes, and distracting us with notifications.
I’ve spoken about going on a social media detox before, but it is only after 6 weeks of staying away I’ve figured that along with all the other things I do besides writing, I can’t afford to interact as much as I do on social media and blogs.
An author may or may not have social media, I know that–I’m seriously wondering:
- if I should cut down on my accounts,
- curtail the time spent on the accounts.
- appear on social media once a day (or once a week?)
I love blogging more than social media—but it seems that the more I blog, the more I browse social media.
After eleven years, this is the first time I’m seriously considering shutting the blog down as well–I love it, it provides value to me (and some readers have said it provides value to them as well), but I don’t know if I have the time to spend both writing and blogging, and to do them both well.
How many hours a day do you spend on social media? Have you kept count? How do the hours on social media affect you? Got any suggestions for my social media strategy? Or rather a social media strategy to stay away yet be on them? All words of wisdom welcome.
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