I consume most of my social media on my phone. I check Facebook occasionally to catch up on the posts of family and friends. I follow numerous dogs on Instagram. Twitter is where I doomscroll. I follow mostly politicians, policy wonks, educators, and news sites on Twitter. On good days, the tweets are inspiring, insightful, wise and witty. On most days, especially over the past year, Twitter is dark and depressing, in an analytical, intelligent and critical way. At night when I am too tired to read or in the morning when I too groggy to get up, my thumb incessantly moves up and down on my phone. It won’t stop.
I recently listened to Cal Newport’s Deep Questions podcast (Episode 1). Newport is the author of Deep Work, offering insight into how to focus among the many distractions around us. He encourages us to ditch the technology that doesn’t add value. Intentional, useful technology is helpful and adds value to your life, he says. He refers to social media as an “attention economy” where companies make money on your casual and mindless scrolling. He doesn’t have a single social media account. He encourages his followers to find ways to unplug, embrace the boredom, and engage in the natural reflection that is guaranteed to come.
Newport inspired me to limit my social media use. I investigated the setting on my phone that limits my time on selected apps. I’m currently experimenting with 30 minutes a day allotted between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter combined. Between these limits and finishing our binge of The West Wing, I should have plenty of time to reach my Goodreads Challenge!
What’s an activity that isn’t serving you? How can you limit your time spent on that activity so you do something else that adds value? Let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!