I quit social media...
In early 2015, I quit social media. All social media. No Facebook, no Instagram, no messenger, no twitter, nothing. For the better part of a year I was off it all. Why you ask? Well, I wanted a break from the mindless scrolling of Facebook, and I also wanted to practice what I preach. I encourage a healthy balance of screen time in my work and in my clinic, and I needed to put that into place in my own life.
Was it hard? In the beginning, I simply deactivated my apps and deleted them. In the first few days I did find myself, without thinking, picking up my phone and looking for the app before remembering it was gone. That was eye opening, and confirmed to me just how much of my social media use was mindless. It was learned behavior for me to just absentmindedly pick up the phone for a scroll. After a few days, that wore off, and I found I had a lot more time on my hands. I could exercise, do more work around the house, and was sleeping better. My attention span improved. I also definitely didn’t miss the I’ll targeted advertising and the comments on fake news sites, nor did I miss seeing comments from friends of friends on stuff I was, frankly, just not interested in. These were the pros. There were cons to it though, such as missing birthdays and life events of my friends and family simply by not seeing their posts on Facebook, or getting a reminder about someone’s birthday. I missed friends announcing births of children, engagements, pregnancies - all the things people only announce on social media these days. Gone are the days of traditional bulk text messages. My wife also received instant messages from some friends wondering where I was, and had to field the awkward “Did Brad delete me on Facebook?!” “Did Brad block me on Instagram?!” questions. I was also left off group chats planning activities and missed a few nights with the boys because of this. I couldn’t have FOMO though - I didn’t know what I missing out on!
These days, I have a healthy balance of use of social media. The balance I found was getting rid of a lot of that personal social media, and then downsizing my friends list on Facebook to people I see (or want to see) on a regular basis. These were the measures I used when coming back online to find the balance I wanted and needed. Would I ever take another break? Maybe, however a lot of my business revolves around social media nowadays, so this would pose an issue. The online world is the perfect platform for managing and sharing my work - oh, and don’t despair, the irony of posting this on social media isn’t lost on me! Ultimately, it’s that phrase again, ‘healthy balance’, and I think I’ve now achieved that.