Not so long ago, I wrote about the positives of embracing social media. It meant being very specific, very precise about the way that you use it. It meant that you shouldn’t become obsessed, shouldn’t waste your life online.
Let’s explore that. Here’s why you should reject social media, with strategies to help you do just that.
Why social media is bad
Social media isn’t always bad; let’s get that straight before we start. It can build so many connections with so many people who you wouldn’t otherwise meet, and it can be a fantastic device to get you into new positions in your professional or personal lives.
However, it can be bad. Very bad. We saw the dangerous effects of social media in earnest after the Cambridge Analytica report was released, and we’ve heard of companies harvesting our personal data for their own financial gain. We’ve also heard that people are shown stories – even fake news stories – that reinforce their political biases, just so they’ll remain on the app.
Social media is inherently toxic. If you feel that you’re not getting anything positive from it, then you need to get off that app. It is far too easy to spend your time Doom Scrolling, where you endlessly scroll for no real reason. That is a complete failure to prioritise our lives properly, and is true and proper procrastination (you can read more on my thoughts on that at this link here).
Let’s not waste our time. Here’s what I’d do to get off – and stay off – social media.
Anti-social media strategies
I’ve written this list in order of complexity. The ones at the top are going to be the easiest for you to implement into your life, and the further down you go, the more difficult it might be – either because it involves someone else, or because it makes your life a little bit tougher.
- Replace Doom Scrolling with a new, healthy habit.
Any time you feel the need to flick your way through a Facebook Feed, pick up that ukulele you’ve always wanted to learn (I know that I try to). Out of the house and bored on the Tube? Read an ebook on your phone. Do anything other than opening that app.
- Make those habits visible.
James Clear makes an incredible point in his book Atomic Habits (which is THE productivity book, and I gave my key takeaways on this link here), which is that we should make our healthy habits – as in, the ones that we want to pursue – visible. If you struggle with picking up an instrument, or learning a language, then put the guitar next to your sofa so that it’s there when you sit down. Or make Duolingo an app shortcut on the main screen of your phone. You’ll be more likely to do that than waste time on social media.
- Set an app timer.
Still struggling? Set a time limit for how much time you’re allowed to spend on your social media apps. You should be able to do this by going into your phone’s settings, finding each app, and setting an app timer. You can change how long you’re allowed on each app and your phone will kick you off once the time has expired, though this is easy enough to extend if you choose to do so. I’ve got a few similar tips to this over on this link here.
- Make those habits invisible.
James Clear didn’t just discuss positive habits; he also mentioned unhealthy habits, and how to hide them. Hiding them can be really useful because it makes it a little more awkward to start doing them. If you take the social media apps off your Home Screen, you’ll have to go through additional steps to open them. If you remove the apps, you’ll have to download them each time you want to use them.
Better yet, don’t save the passwords. Then it’ll be really awkward, having to log in to the browser each time you want to see what’s trending on Twitter, and chances are much higher that you’ll stay off altogether. Make the habits that you don’t want slightly awkward to access and you’ll just find it easier to do something more productive.
- Get an accountability buddy.
This one’s the most awkward because you’ll have to have a very patient friend who is willing to accept your texts whenever you feel the need to open a social media app. Call them if you feel the urge. Text them instead of posting online.
Or, you can make this a touch easier if you’re lucky enough to have a large circle of friends. Anytime you want to mindlessly scroll, find someone you’ve not spoken to in ages and drop them a line. This way, instead of seeing posts from your uncle that you’d rather not look at, you’re taking time to stay in touch with the people you love. And isn’t that so much better?
What do you do to stay off social media?
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