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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It is human to inquire into the ambiguity that sometimes leads to personal crisis. You focus on time.
I suggest you do a creative exercise (if you have not done it). Put aside time (Phenomenal that you believe and think you can control. It’s the opposite. Time controls us. Time is the river that flows into the sea. small creatures of a cosmic instant, we are flowing with it Some happy.Other rebels.But the reality is that: we have no control.To leave what you can not control, as Leonard Cohen says is his “Sisters Of Mercy”: “Yes, you who must leave everything that you can not control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul … ”
What we do have is our freedom. Do what we want. Whatever it is, though flowing without resisting and considering enjoying this light trip.
Our freedom and without thinking in time, is to set our PRIORITIES. The wise men of all times repeat the answer that is blowing in the wind: A couple of examples:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“My benefactor told me about it eleven when
I was young, and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do
understand it I will tell you what it is: Does this path have a heart? All paths
are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or
into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths,
but I am not anywhere. My benefactor’s question has meaning now. Does this
path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; If it does not, it is of no use. Both
paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other does not. One makes for a
joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make
you curse your life One makes you strong; the other weakens you. ”
Don Juan-Carlos Castaneda
So there is no dilemma. Simple. Be honest with yourself and before any decision making, ask yourself: Does this path I am choosing have heart? Is my “treasure” here?
That beauty of Salomon’s planting on time “… Time for everything” concludes it beautifully, after his deep reflections, with:
“12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”
So: Flow, My Pretty Lady, ilow!
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.”
– Jonathan Livingston Seagull
I cut out the internet this past Lenten season. (I did allow myself 1 ten minute perusal of e-mail a day for anything Earth-shattering from friends or family — there wasn’t any!)
The first week was difficult but then it got very easy fast. Since Lent I’ve been limiting my exposure to the internet for about a half hour a day. That’s down from nearly two hours a day. Needless to say, I’m much more productive now.
How do your define social media? What is included and whats not!
A friend of mine writes nice stories (moral) on his FB page and read those.
I write (rarely) and read (more often) articles on LinkedIn. Some time there are quite inspiring ones.
Love to watch in-depth interviews of educationist or professionals and TED talks on YouTube.
…and then there is the blogsphere…. mine and other’s
Would you include these as SM activities as I spend quite sometime on these. More than reading a physical book.
Posting restaurant photographs or fighting/distorting news on Facebook is something I always stay away. I do not read hate post there either.
A Chetan Bhagwat book for instance is another thing that I stay away from and there are many more like him.
Would like to hear your viewpoint!
Social media doesn’t attract me. But then computers as a whole never have. I use it for purely professional purposes. I’ve enjoyed online conversations, but I understand only too well trying to work on a short story or novel and having to break off to keep up with blogging updates. I feel like I’m the rope in a tug-of-war.
I share your dilemma… I am waiting for the world to change the tag from “social media” to what they have all become – “marketing media”.
It seems Every purely social media site ever, has either disappeared from the web completely, or has become a marketing media site. Oh, I understand the need to gather $$$ to keep a community site going; and that there are sites with social forums – though they are mainly text only, specialist interest, and can run like a dog with three broken legs…
It’s a worry. In the long run, each of us has to take the responsibility for how much we let SM run our lives.
Great blog post and food for thought. My take on this is that we should always remember that most other people are going through the same thing and are feeling the same way about the distractions that social media brings.
Fortunately, being a social media marketer and running a small SMMA ,I fully accept the complex difficulties that come along with such a profession and love the challenge of becoming better at dealing with all of the chaos everyday.
It’s exhausting, it’s tiring and especially when you are using social media and the online space for creative work purposes such as writing and blogging.
Have you ever thought about outsourcing some of the menial tasks? Such as posting blogs and making a note of comments to respond to, answering emails etc. Anything which reduces the amount of time YOU spend on social media just so it doesn’t seem to consume as much of your time and soak up your creative energy?
I really agree that to be fully absorbed in using our creativity we must have space to fill with inspiration and ideas. These definitely do not come with answering comments online and the menial tasks that having a quality social media following brings. I think it’s a crossroads decision.
Either stay as is and juggle between one and the other or choose to be fully creative by filling space with reading, the arts, being inspired etc. It’s probably rare that anyone can operate at the best of their abilities by doing both and there are probably millions of people having this same internal debate.
I hope you do what’s best for you and truly find the best solution. Thank you for a very inspiring blog post and I look forward to reading more of your superb writing!
Animal videos! Those consume the most time for me on SM!
Finding the right balance between doing too much and too little on social media is what I’m attempting. But like with all good things, it takes time to get it right.
Taking apps off the phone is a great place to begin.
Damyanti, I know we have been in a similar place to this before. As we have seen some of the negative effects and affects online. Recently, one of our Australian journalists, Ginger Gorman published a book called “Troll Hunting”. I’m yet to read it, but it’s attracting a lot of attention. Some time ago, William Powers published a book called “Hamlet’s BlackBerry”. It really struck me at the time. He talked about his BlackBerry addiction.
One of the things I’ve done is shut off the notifications on my iPad (except calendar banner alerts). Then, when I’m reading eBooks there, I don’t get distracted as much. If you choose to unplug from your blog and social media you will lose contact with some of us.
No suggestions as I avoid social media as much as humanely possible! Interesting to get your perspective though.
Earlier, I would be hooked to my phone for a long time. SInce some months now, it has reduced a lot, and in the past couple months, I use my phone for – 1) using the Canva app to make images for Instagram and Pinterest. 2) To check messages from cousins and close friends in the morning for about 10 minutes. 3) For talking to friends who live overseas.
In all, i think it must be about an hour and a half or so. And, compared to earlier, it’s so much better. I usually switch off the wifi in the evening after 5 or 6. I have set alarms that remind me to do so, and believe me, I don’t think I am missing out in anything! I have done away with the notifications for FB and all, too, and put on mute so many chats on WA after our chat yesterday.
Whatever you do, keep the blog going, D. For yourself and your readers who would, otherwise, miss it.
As someone who resisted social media forever, I am still stepping into these waters with extreme caution. I think just as intermittent fasting helps reset your metabolism, specially if you have a tendency to binge, staying away from social media “cold turkey” makes sense. But for long term sustainable engagement, moderation would be the best approach – self-awareness in terms of what, when and how much you are consuming. This has worked for me for my body metabolism. Whether this approach works for social media, only time will tell. ll the best as you figure out the best strategy for yourself 🙂
I believe we can control whatever social media addictions we have fallen prey to and still keep up with writing, including blogging. Perhaps we need a good discussion with ourselves about what it is we’re about and then take a hard look at whether or not endlessly scrolling down through Tweets or Facebook entries is really helping that. Quite likely, it isn’t. To some extent we need platforms, so maybe we can’t leave. As isolated writers, we need communication with others whether its daily trials and joys or “writing talk.” But if the social media take us over, we’re no longer ourselves, and we’re avoiding doing the work we’re “supposed to be doing.” I won’t finish my next novel by reading two hours of Facebook posts. So, rather than asking myself what is easy, it’s more necessary to ask (or remind) myself what is important. Social media scrolling is easy. But, it’s like eating food with no nutrients in it–past a point.
I have an app that tells me how much time I spend online its a great unexpected app that keeps me mindful to unplug on my days off.
Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe Roger McNamee’s book on Facebook … exceedingly enlightening … about FB and Zuckerberg – not at all good, he includes references to Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple as to their main men/women … please read everyone!! Cheers Hilary
Will definitely look it up, thanks, Hilary.
Hi Damyanti – I spend way too much time on blogs … I hardly touch FB and don’t actually post; I’ve a TW, Instagram account … but don’t use them. I really enjoy the camaraderie in blogging … and hate the short cryptic world of FB or TW … and don’t use any of them on my phone … in fact don’t carry my phone unless I’m off on a long journey.
Please, pretty please – don’t leave your blog … and most definitely – just do your thing, don’t worry about the rest of us … we are our true selves and we know our value … we just need to work out how to get things organised so we can live that peaceful life … writing and less worrying …
I’m organised for #WATWB on Friday … cheers HIlary
I need to be more like you, Hilary.
Thanks for your words about the blog–I’m considering shutting it down, but might also just cut down drastically, and set up a schedule of posting just once a month. It is not the posting that I find overwhelming though–it is the reading of other blogs–I have so many valued friends, and I feel guilty if I do not visit them all.
Wish I had a time machine.
I dont keep a track of the time spent on social media and I am not very regularly regular. Somedays I dont open FB, Twitter but am regular on whatsapp with close friends. I can see a sea of change before I joined social media. There was enough time to read books an most of the newspapers. When I am glued to the screen , time just flies by and 24 hours is less….. and many more. I feel the need to detox digitally.
I’ve managed to detach from Whatsapp, have turned off all notifications, and deleted all other apps like FB and Twitter, but it still feels like an intrusion to go on to SM, maybe I just need a longer break?
If you feel the need for a detox, go for it!
The only thing close to social media for me is WordPress…:) do not have Facebook Twitter,etc as I had too many issues (security, etc) and I found I do not need them… 🙂 but then again I am a bit of a Introvert .. 🙂 also I have a few dreams to follow.. 🙂
“Every morning your have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them.”
“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” – Douglas H. Everett
My WP leads me to all the other social media–which is why I’m figuring out strategies for this blog.
Let’s see–I need balance, and I need to free myself from myself. Game on. 🙂
From being a social media recluse, not having WhatsApp or fb on phone up until a few years back, I am on SM a lot lately. I was one who believed SM is a waste of time and for frivolous people (sorry, but yes I was judgemental in this particular aspect) But when I started my farming journey, I wanted to document it for myself and for like-minded people who might get information that I had struggled to find. And I have to say that I find it very rewarding to know many people have/are benefiting from it and that has made me a believer. If any one had told me I would say this today, I would have scoffed at them but it’s true. SM has helped me reach out to people beyond physical boundaries. Having said that I definitely think SM can be distracting as hell. Need a lot of self control and time management to balance it out.
Coming to the question of blogging, I started blogging first and foremost for myself… Not for the world. I write because I want to express my thoughts. And that’s what our blogs do.
As a person who loves your blog, I want you to consider not shutting your blog down. By all means, stay away from SM, but don’t close down your blog. That’s my humble request. Sorry to have rattled on and on….
Your thoughts completely resonate with mine, Kalpana–it took me a long while to get on social media, and yes, my blog and social media have enriched my life as well.
Thank you so much for loving my blog–it is love like this that has kept me going for eleven years. This may not be the end of the journey, but I have to do some serious re-calibration in my life (just like you did with yours! You’re an inspiration.), and since blogging is such a huge part of my life, it will see some changes as well. Not sure how it will go, but I know it won’t stay the same after this year.
My thanks are not lightly given–some days, for a rather reclusive, self-flagellating writer, words like yours are what keep the wheels of my life turning.
I think, I started using social media more to promote my blog posts. So, more than personal purposes, iam spending more time on social media these days. If we have access to better tools like buffer, I can schedule my posts and limit my social media time.
One best way that works for me in social media detox is uninstalling the app on my phone. Saves a lot of time. One more thing that works for me is I turn off wifi every day for a few hours and iam planning to increase this time.
Like you, some of my social media is to promote my blog posts, and the other part is volunteering.
My wifi is off on days I’m taking a break, and my phone has no apps.
I think I need a change in strategy. Haven’t come up with one yet, but we’ll see. Thanks for taking the time to comment–I appreciate it!
I have been going slow on social media since the past one month but once I started doing that I also wrote less on the blog. Though I want to keep writing on the blog and read more , I definitely enjoyed my time with not being obsessed over social media.
So I guess it all comes down to self control and to be sure of what we actually want . Once that clarity is achieved it gets easier to stay productive on social media as well. Because let’s accept it if we want to keep blogging we can’t go off social media completely.
Congrats on all that writing, and on getting pieces accepted! Great work!!
It’s kind of funny reading this post today as I’m coming back to my blog after months of being away. I have similar feelings as you about blogging, that it’s so nice to make connections and read others’ blogs but at the same time I feel that I miss out on other things (like reading more of this library book on my end table.) I guess it all comes down to time management and choices about how to spend our time. I’m glad to have caught up on some blogging, but I regret not having had time to read tonight. But we have to choose. I think perhaps setting goals about how much time to spend of social media could help. You’re right, the feeds are bottomless and time can so easily slip away.
Yes, blogging always makes my reading suffer, and I resent that.
Recently, I found it makes my writing suffer, too. At the endof the day, I think reading and writing is what engages me most, and I need to put them on priority.
Thanks for all your kind words, Cynthia. I’ve missed visiting you.
Thanks, Damyanti ☺. I’m still trying with my novel; in my head I’m writing every day but in reality it’s still a struggle. I hope that one day my story will make it out into the world.
I thought of a possible little rule for managing my blogging time: what if I only do blogging and social media on my PC and I’m not allowed to do it on my phone? I’m breaking that rule right now, but maybe that can help from spending too much time on it. Although time on the PC is usually supposed to be writing time, so this rule will mess things up. I think you’re right about making reading and writing the priority and staying firm to that.
It absolutely will! Is this your first novel? they’re the hardest to finish, in my experience, but once that’s done, I don’t think it gets easier, bu there’s a greater ability and confidence to finish.
I think each of us has to come up with our own rules. I’m tending towards keeping two days a week when I’ll be on social media and going off on the other days. One of those days, I shall do a blog post, and that’s it. I’ll fit all my social media work around those restrictions. Not sure how the experiment will work–must try it out.
Yes it’s my first. I’ve been thinking about it for so long and writing here and there. I know I need to make a bigger commitment to finishing it. I’m not sure if the ending yet and I think that’s causing me to stall. To be honest I think I’m afraid to choose, that not choosing lets me continue to flail and worry. Anyway thanks for your kind words.
Also I think your idea to only blog on certain days is a good way to set limits. I’ll try something like that. Take care!
90,000 words. That says a lot. No FB or Twitter of any other media for me. I don’t consider the blog social media. More of a platform for writing.
Those were words written mostly after trashing a draft so I know where I was going, but it made me see what blogging and social media were doing to me. On a good month, I usually write about 20k words…
Blogging leads me to social media, which is why I’m considering getting away from both.
The more you blog the more you go to Social Media. Well it is all a vicious cycle. In today’s world either you have to be super reclusive so that people hang on your every precious word or super in your face just so they cannot escape you. Being in the middle leaves you in the middle. Ultimately it depends on your life’s priorities. I only visit my SM profiles when I have nothing to do…..
Yep, I think I’ve been swimming along in the middle. Very tempted to get into my true, reclusive self.
You’re so right about priorities, Sunita.
On average 2 hours a day, depending if some blog posts are a bit long and there are interesting articles on the special interest blogs. That being said the only ‘social media-izing I do is with blogs and a handful of YouTube channels.
I don’t have the time, and more importantly the desire to be entangled with FB or Twitter, or similar platforms. I did peruse them back when every author was (and still is, I suppose) encouraged to sign up for ’em all, but I found nothing of value there, they had no substance, like a continuous diet of candyfloss. (which is not to say that there are times and circumstances when they are literally, lifesavers, but my life is not in need of such saving, thankfully)
If I want to connect with someone, I’ll email/text them or check out their website/blog. If I want to research something, a search engine is a gal’s best friend.
I got on social media because it helped me with my blog and kept up with them because I got sucked in, I suppose.
Now that I’m more mindful of exactly how much of my life is being leeched off, I’m doing a bit of introspection and re-calibration :).
I do enjoy the connection on SM, and it has led to real-life friendships and work opportunities, but I can see now that it costs my writing a fair bit. I’ll continue for this year on a pared-down schedule, and then take a call.
Most SM is only as harmful as the amount of time we spend on it, I suppose.
… and the reasons why we spend that amount of time. 🙂
I don’t do social media -Facebook or Twitter – at all. I used to very involved with Facebook. So involved my writing suffered. Facebook can be a positive place. That being said it can also be a very polarizing place, especially during elections. Three years ago when I had cancer FB became the only way I could stay in contact with my family. Three years later I find it an extremely annoying place.
If a celebrity passes away it seems like twenty people will feel duty bound to report the news. FB also has some glaring security issues. In my country, Canada, Facebook said to the Canadian government they would clean up their act. To date they haven’t done a thing in 2 years!. Since FB is an American company the government can’t even fine them.
My brothers identity was stolen during a FB hack which made his life a living hell. He eventually got things straightened out but it got me thinking. FB seems to care very little for the end user. So its role in our lives is up to us. We can use it and risk all sorts of unsavory things. Or we can put our foot down and say loudly Enough! It’s a matter of priorities. What do you want/need to do, and asking yourself “Do I really need FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc” For me FB is waste of time and that’s why it’s no longer part of my life.
Tom, thanks for stopping by, and your heartfelt comment.
Of all social media, I confess that FB annoys me the most, for some of the reasons you state.
I’ve learned to curate my feed so I see mostly the stuff i want to, but I’m also a little wary of creating my own little echo chamber.
Cancer is not an easy journey, and I’m glad FB was some good during that time. The privacy issues on FB are a nightmare–which is why all my posts are public–I don’t say anything on there that I wouldn’t say otherwise. My personal info public property anyway in the connected world we live in, so I’ve made an (uneasy) peace with that.
FB so far has been a place to speak about the causes I care about, keeping in touch with writers and publishing professionals I would otherwise not meet, and of course, HONY, which gives me a positive boost 99 per cent of the time.
I don’t keep track of my hours (I know it’s not “hours” though!). Recently I’m been spending very little time on Facebook. I find it very distracting. I started an Instagram account last year, but haven’t used it much lately. I look at Twitter everyday just to see what’s trending, read a few posts, usually related to politics. I’ve always read that authors need to be on social media, but after many years of using it, I haven’t found it helped that much for marketing my books.
I don’t think SM is a place to market–it is a good place to chitchat, get info, maybe even network a bit. I don’t think anyone manages to sell anything on social media, because we never get on them to buy anything–we’re there to entertained and informed. I enjoy the interaction, but I’ve come to realize it also brings distraction, lack of productivity and anxiety. Thanks for being a good blog friend over the years, Linda–I appreciate you taking the time to say hello.
I’m guilty of over-tweeting.
That’s all right, if it is working for you, and not stressing you out 🙂
Definitely not. ??
Damyanti, I’ve discussed this very issue in my blog more than once (and you Liked it each time, if I remember correctly, so thanks for that). I agree with many of the comments here; with SM you have to find a balance that works for YOU, even if that includes walking away. I blog because it’s a way to communicate but I do try to write blogs that are relevant or helpful. I also continue writing my blog because it’s a good writing exercise for me; but if I step away for too long, I get rusty. And, I admit, part of it is the insecure writer in me who needs to see the occasional ‘like’ to help boost my confidence to continue writing. It’s why I write my blogs in sort of a narrative format, like I’m having a conversation or sharing a teaching lesson; that way, I don’t feel like I’m being ‘preachy.’ That said, I like your blog and it’s one of only a few I regularly read. But this isn’t about me or any of your other followers – it’s about what YOU and what YOU need to do for yourself.
Long ago I stopped reading the FB timeline, it gave me a headache. I spend about 30 minutes each morning checking Instagram and Twitter (I don’t read the tweets, I selfishly check to see if anyone liked my rare tweets). With social media (SM), it seems the bloom is off the rose. And with good reason.
If you decide to stop blogging, I will miss you. It’s been nice communicating with someone on the other side of the world. You have brought many writers together with your blog. I hope you reconsider and decide to cut down on or do away with other SM that isn’t serving you or your writing life. I strongly disagree with the ‘experts’ who say we have to be everywhere on SM in order to succeed. I guess it comes down to how we each define success with our writing.
I do hope we continue to hear from you and get to share our thoughts and ideas with you. Namaste.
Denise, it is always a pleasure to read your blog. Thanks for being such a regular reader here, I truly appreciate it. I don’t know if I’ll shut down this blog altogether–I’m just wondering about ways to continue it without killing myself with stress 🙂
I’m just re-evaluating my priorities at the moment, and thinking out loud in this post, more than anything else. I’m not on SM or the blog to succeed at anything—I do them because I like the interaction. Now the interaction has swelled up and begun to take over, so I have to take stock of things. I hope to find a solution that would allow me to keep in touch but not get overwhelmed.
Good to hear…thanks for taking the time to respond!
Here’s some irony for you…after posting this last blog, I literally lost 33 followers, just like that (snapping my fingers). I won’t deny it hurt; I’ve never promised to write a blog that would turn anyone into a writer or achieve success. I can understand a few changing their minds, but 33? I’m struggling with what feels like a kick in the pants so I understand now your need to back away. We infer so much from SM; perhaps too much. Thanks for your support from the other side of the world! Let’s both Write On!
I think most of us can relate to what you’re saying, Damyanti. I know I spend way too much time online, neglecting other things in the physical world. Internet fatigue usually sets in (getting there now, with so much to do, offline). It amazes me how some can seemingly juggle all of it gracefully and without stress. Self-imposed time limits might work, but not all of us are disciplined enough. 🙂 An app like Leechblock could work.
I think I’m going to try LeechBlock. My problem is I spend too much time blogging, as well.
Blogging and the resultant interactions take up most of my time as well, but Instagram is also seductive, as I’m active in a few photography communities. Cutting back on everything for the summer! Here’s hoping we can all find the right balance.
Relevant and timely – thank you
I spend way less time on social media than I used to. I realized a few years ago that social media was making me constantly compare myself to others and I was unconsciously devaluing my own life experiences when I set them against the experiences others were posting about. It was a miserable, soul sucking existence.
I completely deleted my Snapchat almost 3 years ago–I found that was the worst, because it was so easy to see what people were doing at any given moment. I don’t have the Facebook app on my phone, so I physically have to log in on a web browser whenever I want to check that. I also turned off notifications for Instagram. I check Facebook way less than I used to–about two times a month usually–and I check Instagram once or twice a week. I rarely check my WordPress anymore, because I’d rather focus on creative writing and reading books than spending my free time catching up on blogs. I do still check in occasionally to see what’s going on with bloggers I’ve been following for a while, but reading other blogs is not the priority it used to be.
I found that being mindful and conscious about my actions really helps me to curb my time on social media. I ask myself “Do I want to go on Facebook right now?” or “Do I want to go on Instagram right now?” If I really don’t want to check social media, then I don’t. I’ve also been using DuoLingo for about a year now to learn some languages, and that has become my go to phone app instead of Instagram.
I don’t like the idea of completely deleting social media, because I do like keeping in touch with people through various networks, but I’m SO much happier these last couple years since I’ve been consciously spending more time off social media.
Britta, I SO hear you. Never been on Snapchat , and have curtailed FB, Twitter, Instagram and it still feels like too much pressure on some days.
We seem to be following the same thoughts lately, I started my blog to support my author platform. Ditto for all of my other channels (FB business, Insta, Pinterest, Wattpad, Deviant Art) The exceptions are my personal FB page, which is my only way of keeping in touch with friends and family because I literally live long distance from everyone except my daughter. I’m so in the middle of nowhere that most of my shopping has to be done on-line. And my Skillshare page, which I joined because I genuinely want to learn new skills in writing, illustration, and marketing. The problem for me is the FB feeds on a daily basis put me in such a negative funk because of what’s happening globally in terms of political tensions, racial tensions, religious tensions, climate change, etc. So, this is Week 2 for me of not checking into FB at all. I don’t know how long I need to detox from it, but I was in desperate need of NOT seeing bad headlines I am helpless to do anything about or seeing how my “well-off” friends are living the dream compared to me. These are exactly the kinds of things that studies have said are reasons why social media makes us unhappy.
However, as an author/illustrator, my classes on Skillshare and all the other articles and research I’ve done on marketing emphasize the importance of a frequent social media presence in order to sell your books, art, or services. Personally, I would be happy with only one or two outlets to stay in touch with people. But the trend in marketing is be everywhere, be there multiple times a day, and be there on a regular schedule or people will forget who you are and what you do, or no one will discover you in the first place, because of all the noise. It’s insane to NOT have social media presence all over the place all the time if you want to be your own boss of your own business. And yet, the catch-22 is that social media can drive you insane. It saps your time away from your craft, your health, and your life.
I have tried ramping up my social media for the sake of marketing, but I’m hating it. And that probably also contributed to me needing to escape headline news and lifestyle competition last week. So, I’ve decided I can’t do what all the “experts” recommend when it comes to marketing. It’s just not me; it’s running me into the ground when I have enough real-life problems overwhelming me that need my attention right now. I don’t know what works for me yet in terms of a balance, but like you I need something else because hours upon hours a day of media presence is counter-productive to the other things that are important to me. I’m thinking of picking one main channel to work on once a week. Then set a timer to explore the community for that channel. When the timer goes off. That’s it for that week. Period. Maybe it’s time for me to look into paid advertising or something. It’s not very cost-effective for me right now, but I know I can’t keep up the “influencer” pace that is recommended for marketing AND also produce work AND maintain my off-line life and sanity.
It IS insane to have to be on SM all the time. I thought I was doing ok, but going away completely has taught me that I was not. There are so many voices out there, and so many of them full of hate that it is good to just be in silence for a long while. I hope you find a solution. Nowadays, even trad-pubbed authors have to do their own promo—it is a crazy world, but it is what it is, I guess. Hugs, Melody. I hope you and I both find the peace and balance we seek.
I remember once when Neil Gaiman took a hiatus from social media so he could write because he found that spending so much time on social media was sapping the core reason for him being on it in the first place. Grant it, he is a celebrity author, so no one will forget he exists if he takes a break. But the fact that he took a four-month break back in 2014, loved it, recommended it to his fans, and did it again means it might be the best thing we can do for ourselves sometimes. This was from his FB page in 2015 from a link to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Neil Gaiman tried a novel New Year’s resolution last year: he took a four-month hiatus from social media to rediscover the joys of getting bored. It wasn’t a decision the feted writer made lightly; on Twitter alone his 2.3 million followers read his daily posts with insatiable zeal.
‘The biggest problem with Twitter is that I’d be in a taxi and I’d be on Twitter and it would keep me interested. I realised I wasn’t getting bored enough and [that I needed to get bored] to start plotting things and coming up with ideas.’ The spell provided time to go for walks, talk to his wife, singer Amanda Palmer, and just ‘breathe out’. Speaking from Boston this New Year’s Eve, he quips of warning his fans of a repeat exercise: ‘Nothing’s wrong, I’m just going off to be bored’, he says, laughing.”
And reading this article reminded me of something else that often comes up in my meditation practice: the importance of having space. It has many applications, but my favorite is music. In music, the rests are as important as the notes. The rests share the responsibility of helping notes create songs. 🙂
All hail Gaiman! I’ve been mulling over it and I’ll be taking breaks more often. Switch off completely few days a week. I realise that it doesn’t work if I set rules and timings. All of it gets messed up.
If I blog once a week, and am on social media on two days a week, that should be enough. On those two days I’ll go to town on social media, but on the other five days, zip, nada.
I’ll try it out and see if it works.
Being bored, and creating space is exactly what it is about. I find that it takes me an entire day to stew over something and then come to it at the end of the day. I’m writing even when I’m not writing.
After my facebook fast, I’ve decided not to reinstall the app on my phone. I still check in when I’m on the computer but less frequently now, I think, and I can go a day or so without caring if anything has happened on my feed. I don’t think I’ll ever get off facebook because it’s the one way I keep in touch with friends without actually meeting them/going out.
I don’t think you should shut down the blog! But if it’s eating too much time, maybe cut down? (I don’t read blogs that often though I still update mine.)
Hope you find a good balance 🙂
FB is off my phone, and that has helped a lot. FB helps me keep in touch with a load of peeps, but sometimes I find all of this very anxiety-inducing, as if I don’t measure up. I’m definitely planning to cut down on blogging–maybe once a week or so. the problem is not with writing blogs, but with reading them. I always visit back, and leave comments and am finding it quite stressful to do it on a regular basis. Thanks for commenting, Anna. I do hope to find the right balance.
Hello Damyanti! Unless one calls WordPress blogging ‘social media’ I don’t do any other. I try to keep my blogging mentally challenging and intellectually stimulating so it’s a bit like attending academic classes – the sharing of ideas with intent to make a difference in the world. Never a waste of time, and I also know when to quit to attend to other aspects of a very busy lifestyle. Everything should have a pre-determined purpose before being mentally engaged, IMO.
You’re so right. We have too little time in our lives to go frittering it about on social media. My blogging takes longer than social media, but in the next few days/ weeks, I shall put measures in place to contain how much time I spend on either/ both.
This is an issue for me too (and for most people, I would guess). I think I have it a little more under control than some. I have my blog, and the blogs that I follow, and then I only have facebook. No twitter or instagram, or any of the others. I dipped my foot into those and realized what a time sink they would be, and got right back out again. But facebook alone can be an endless pit — and as you say, a source of stress and headaches, too. Still, it’s also a source of sharing real information with far-flung friends, so I don’t want to give it up entirely. I’m not sure how many hours I spend online, but I hardly spend any of it on my phone. I started using an app, Leechblock (for Firefox) and programmed limits: e.g., it won’t let me access facebook at all form 8am to 5pm at work, and it cuts me off after 10 minutes in every 2 hour block at home. It seems silly that I need an app to tell me to stop scrolling the feed, but it helps! I hope you find the right balance that works for you, between time for yourself and time connecting with others.
Your measures make a lot of sense, and I should learn from you. I shall give Leechblock a try. I have Insta and Twitter, as well—and am hoping to stick within my given time limits on those.
I tried Twitter and got sucked in so deeply so quickly that I knew I couldn’t handle it long-term. I keep hearing that authors all “need” to be on Twitter and have a large following, but I can’t see how that would work for me. It’s hard enough for me to find time to write as it is; the last thing I need is another huge hobby/obligation to take away from writing.
I can resist twitter, but not blogging cos I have so many blogs to visit, and a gazillion comments to return, and such little time. I try and set time limits, but always exceed them. I know I can either focus on writing or blogging. Multi-tasking is a myth, at least for me.
Multi-tasking is a myth for everyone; those who think they’re more productive that way are fooling themselves. (Or so says the scientific research of my colleagues who study it here at UC-Irvine.) Whenever you interrupt one task to check your email or do something else online, it takes you a ridiculous amount of time to be able to concentrate again on the original task, especially if it’s a deep-thinking task like writing.
I average 3-4 hours per day browsing social media on my phone according to the tracking app on my phone. I want to cut that gradually down to an hour by half-hour increments. I started setting a timer on my laptop when browsing social media there as well as when reading blogs. I suppose I can also set a timer on my phone. It’s amazing how fast time goes by when we’re not paying attention to it.
Yep. I’d average 5 hours a day if I wasn’t watching myself–blogging takes a lot of time! You have sound ideas on how to fight back on the addiction. Time-suck is something the social-media giants invest heavily in, so it is not a surprise we find ourselves sucked in and swallowed.
I am probably the last person on the planet who doesn’t have facebook!
But I do spend time blogging!
I always enjoy visits to your awesome blog!
Thanks so much for the kind words. I know others who aren’t on FB, and frankly, I’m only on it because I meet cool writing peeps in some of the groups.
It is always a pleasure to see you in the various corners of the Internet where we find each other, Damynati, but I understand the urge to escape. I have not tried a complete fast, but I have cut way back on Facebook and Twitter and I have avoided doing anything with Instagram except open an account.
The people whose blogs I read and comment on are mostly also my regular readers. It’s a community, and I do enjoy their writing, but I’ve cut back reading the folks who post multiple times a day.
Likewise, Dan. Always a pleasure to meet you.
I don’t think I read anyone who posts multiple times a day. I do read a lot of blogs though, and sometimes too many to comment on, so I just click Like and move on.
After a while, the numbers get to me: too many blogs, too many comments, too many blog friends. Which makes me feel really bad about myself–a mean-spirited, privileged snot–how dare I complain about too many comments or friends? So I don’t, and I try and respond and interact the best I can, but after a while, I feel the need to escape.
I never could have finished my novel draft had I not switched off all social media. And well, life, basically. Am wondering if this is me being a hermit, or a bad time-manager, or both.
I’d say neither. Any creative process requires time and attention. When I am working in my shop, or even doing home repairs, I ignore my phone (unless it sounds like a family text). I do the same at work (as best I can). We all only have 24 hours each day. It’s totally fair, acceptable and understandable to prioritize your time. If missing a few posts causes a problem for someone you’re following, it’s their problem, not yours.
Thanks, Dan. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. Reciprocity is my principle however, and now that the numbers have become a little unmanageable, I’m in a fix.
Just do your best, Damyanti. You can’t create time. We follow you for what you have to say. I’m not going to stop following you because you miss a reply.