Last month I finished reading Cal Newport’s Deep Work.
One of the things I decided to try as a result is a 30 day social media fast. On June 22 that time will be up and I’ll log back into each of my social media accounts.
Here’s a few things I’ve noticed:
- Habit breaking – For most of the past decade I’ve had the habit of regularly checking my social feeds. At first it was Facebook (and for a while Path), then it grew to include Twitter and Instagram. I’ve now gone nearly a month without pulling to refresh. That feels freeing! I’m curious if the habit will come back quickly.
- Awareness – I’m missing out on things that are happening with my friends and family. By default any interesting activities that people are doing will make their way onto a social network. My wife has asked me several times if I knew about something that happened in one of our friend’s lives. There’s been a few small things I just didn’t know about until she told me.
- Facebook is big – Facebook, and everything it owns controls a lot of the internet’s time and attention. It’s been fun to know I could completely disconnect from it and the world would still continue. For a fun experiment checkout this article.
Before this I’d been working to reduce the reach of social media in my life. I unfollowed everyone on Twitter. That effectively made me stop using the service.
Facebook was a little harder, unless I want to delete my account it doesn’t make sense to unfriend everyone I know. Instead I unsubscribed from everyone on my friends list. This meant if I wanted to see an update I’d have to go to each friend’s profile. That quickly limited how much time I was willing to spend.
Overall I’m really happy with the experiment. I’m not sure of my next steps though. The main reason I want to use Instagram and Facebook is to share photos of my kids. Without that I have little reason to use them. I’ve been thinking about switching to some form of a blog and posting more curated photos of our lives. Not sure yet.