A little over a year go I made the conscious decision to evaluate my digital media intake. I was finding myself brainlessly scrolling through the same routine of social media apps whenever I had a spare moment on my own.
To be completely honest, this is how an average day went for me:
Wakeup. Check all social media and news websites. Get dressed and drive to work.
(Arrive at work early? Check social media while waiting in the car!)
Have Phone on my desk to see if any notifications come in and keep an eye on Whatsapp groups. Reply to messages and read more social posts at lunchtime.
Watch some sort of light TV while scrolling through my phone on loop. Cook and eat dinner.
Scroll through everything all over again on my phone until I could feel my eyes closing. Occasionally being woken up by my phone falling on my face.
Writing this all down now is not only INCREDIBLY embarrassing but also quite sad and painful to read. I can’t believe how much of my life was spent hunched over my phone.
And for what? All I really got from it was a constant stream of nonsense.
Facebook was the biggest offender for this. I could spend upwards of half an hour scrolling down my newsfeed. only to have seen half a dozen Buzzfeed ‘Tasty’ recipes, Some re-re-re-shared memes and ‘hilarious’ images, and some political soapboxing from friends that I would rather not be subjected to.
Instagram was my favourite, but after a while, even that slowly morphed from somewhere I could go to appreciate beautiful and high-quality images, to a pictorial version of Facebook. Full of my friend’s favourite memes and pictures of their kids (who I love, but don’t particularly want to see every moment of their lives)
I said ENOUGH!
I made several changes to my digital intake over the following months that not only made my life less repetitive but raised my overall happiness so much you would not even believe.
Not completely. I have not gone the whole-hog and deactivated my account. I still want to be able to access old pictures and be invited to events. But I did delete the app from my phone and the shortcut from my desktop bookmarks. I do not miss Facebook one bit. Thoroughly recommend.
Started fresh with Instagram and Twitter
I created my @BeccyMayBlog Instagram and @BeccyMaySays twitter as both these apps allow profile switching. On these accounts, I follow none of my IRL friends, work colleagues or old school friends. I only follow accounts that fill my feed with joy and beautiful art. I now only check my IRL accounts on average once a week.
Removed all News apps
I no longer check the BBC or Independent news apps as an idle activity. I turned off all notifications (the BBC’s idea of important ‘Breaking news’ was becoming more and more ridiculous’ I am surprised to say that I do not feel isolated or less informed on the world. If something important happens, you hear about it anyway.
Reddit: filtered information.
I have become a big fan of Reddit. I never really ‘got it’ before, thinking it was just a bigger version of Digg (Old school!) or less fluffy Buzzfeed. However once you sign up for an account, it allows you to subscribe to the various subreddits that you find interesting. This way, your feed is full of only the things that interest and entertain you. It’s a great source of entertainment. (You just have to be careful not to spend hours on it!)
Muted Whatsapp during work hours
This is a no-brainer and something I should have done all along really. Whatsapp allows you to mute individual groups for 8hrs at a time. this is perfect for a working day and allows me to catch up with friends in my own time instead of just adding to my already stressful 9-5 hours!
When the phone is charging, it’s down.
This one is a little bit arbitrary and takes will-power, but works! Now whenever my phone is plugged into a charger, it’s not to be used. Seems simple right? it is! Now there’s no more scrolling away while in bed in the morning, or late into the night. And I find myself wanting to save the battery life which makes me less likely to have marathon sessions of social media during the day!
These may all be relatively small changes to make, but they have had a massive impact on my life! I’m a big fan of technology, and so a complete digital detox seems like a step too far in the wrong direction to me. But with these minor tweaks to my online behaviours, I have found a new energy for life and am enjoying every moment of it!
Have you ever considered going off-grid, or something less drastic? let me know what you do!
Thank you so much for reading.
Love, Beccy May.