I wouldn’t quite say I’m addicted to social media, although it is (was) the first thing I do every morning after getting up. I don’t do it in bed like many of you, but that’s probably only because I can’t.
Addiction is something you have to do everyday, it’s often the first thing you do and the last thing you do. Was it drink wine, eat cake, smoke a cigarette or anything really, we would call it an addiction. Something you can’t function without doing. But with social media it’s the norm. Wake up and scroll through Facebook, check out the latest tweets or how many hearts last nights Insta shots got.
I’m just as guilty.
I’m addicted to social media, I’ve said it. I’m sure many of you reading this are too. It’s thought to be as addictive, if not more so than drugs. A prince said that, so it must be true.
A drug we can all freely get hold of, and one that’s acceptable to do in public.
As you know I’m a little bit crazy and like to deprive myself of something every year for Lent. Previously I’ve given up bread, chocolate, cheese and sugar.
This year for Lent I decided to try something different, I would dramatically reduce my social media usage. Something possibly harder to live without than cake.
This led me to ponder what social media is, and what it is to me. Being a blogger means that social media plays an added role in my day to day life. It is used for communicating, promoting and discovering within the blogging world. Although I’d happily be disconnected from mindless scrolling and what people had for lunch, I didn’t want to completely withdraw from this aspect of being a blogger. I see these as different things.
So I decided to limit all social media to between the hours of 6pm-7pm.
Also, I considered what platforms are social media to me, and which would be limited. I take these things seriously, I’m stubborn, so having guidelines to follow works best for me!
I came to the conclusion that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat were most definitely social media and would be limited to the total of one hour per day.
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp however are methods of communication that I only use when I have the need to communicate. So these are allowed.
Pinterest was a tricky one. I mostly use it for blog stuff, in all honestly I don’t use it that much anymore. It’s also not full of people’s random outbursts. I felt it was ok to continue normal usage.
These are all my platforms, the rules are set. I must not forget and just start scrolling.
I used to pick up my phone to answer a message or check my emails and before I knew it 30 minutes had passed. Eight people had wished someone happy birthday, somebody had checked into hospital with no explanation, two people were annoyed but didn’t want to say why, I’d learned three new Slimming World recipes even though the Tasty recipe video looked much more appealing, and someone’s holiday snaps had made me feel like I haven’t seen the sun in way too long. These are the things that didn’t affect my life in a positive way. Except for the Tasty cheese and bacon dip. That was yum.
My usual morning routine involves a brew and catching up with the goings on. Checking social media, replying to messages, scrolling through the nights news. It’s weird not opening those apps. The first few days I had to consciously make the effort not to automatically pick up my phone. My hands felt a bit empty, lost, I’m quite the fidgeter and not very good at doing nothing. That’s why I’m better watching movies at the cinema, there’s nothing to distract me. My tea was too hot to drink straight away, what would I do with this sudden dose of extra time?
Sometimes I read, books or blogs, watched morning tv, chatted to whoever was here. I quickly learned to enjoy this quiet time, not worrying about what’s happening in everyone’s lives, nor scrolling through breakfasts that look much better than mine.
I did nearly slip up at various moments during the first few days. It’s habit really, muscle memory, unconsciously going to press apps for social media. Those tempting red notification spots glaring at me, wanting me to catch up on the gossip.
I tried to enjoy a relaxing cuppa or BBC drama rather than automatically going for the phone at every chilled moment.
My iPhone battery was pleased with the limited swiping. Those things weren’t made for that!
Reading more in my downtime rather than mindlessly looking at people’s pets is a bonus. (Although I do love cute pet photos. I share plenty of mine!) I’ve read three books within Lent, that’s more than my usual and a plus for me.
I did go to pick my phone up, well not pick it up because I can’t, but you know, unconsciously go for a browse. It’s like we can’t just do nothing. Is that what we are turning into. I say we like I assume it can’t just be me.
By week three I found I became bored of social media. I’d have a little browse for 10 minutes, answer any tags or messages and be done. I don’t read the banal nothings. I’m not even nearly using my full hour.
It’s been a liberating experience, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed out on anything. All the people are still there. I’ve spoken to the people that matter, kept up with the goings on that concerned me.
Social media has its place. Pretty and creative Instagram images can inspire me, hearing of someone’s tasty dinner at a new restaurant can influence me. That’s the bit I like. It’s still useful for the blogging, sharing and discovering. It’s the nonsense I don’t miss. The mindless stuff.
Mornings are the best bit. That’s something I’m going to continue. A peaceful brew while reading a book, stroking a cat or just staring at nothing. It’s a much fresher way to start the day, with calm.
I’ll be flexible on myself with timings, though that doesn’t mean absentmindedly scrolling again. I don’t want it to be scheduled like setting an alarm. Time in a way makes you just as obsessed.
They say habits are something you just have to break, and this is one I’m going to continue with.
Are you a social media obsessive? Do you have time out?
Bonus content – I’m up for an award!
When I started Wheelescapades I didn’t really know what I was doing, I still don’t. I wanted to tell my tale in a way. I aimed to highlight my lifestyle, a life style very much so about, and totally unrelated to having wheels.
If you’ve enjoyed following my reviews, musings and rants please take a moment to vote for me in the ‘Lifestyle’ category of Bloggers Bash Awards.