It’s a great way to keep in touch with friends. It’s a useful and affordable form of marketing for business. It’s handy for those moments of weakness, checking out what old school friends and ex-boyfriends are up to.
BUT it also sucks away hours of time. It inevitably leads to a bazillion tabs open in browsers, and it can be the beginning of the old comparison-hate cycle.
Most people seem to have a love/hate relationship with it.
Especially lately, so many people have mentioned to me that Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and all the rest are getting to a point where they’re feeling out of control. They feel like they need to be online all the time. They find themselves mindlessly refreshing their feed 10 seconds after the last refresh. They start to wonder if they’re ever going to have a life that looks so good or a business as successful. And the fear, oh the fear of missing something if they go offline.
It’s the ultimate FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) creator. If you’re on it and everyone seems to be doing something you’re not OR if you’re not online, what you might be missing.
What really seems to be the issue, though, is the HABIT that we have all formed. The immediate and constant connection with ‘the world’, ‘our tribe’, ‘all those people online’.
And it’s gotta go.
Mindlessly picking up your phone to check Instagram again? Stop it.
Frittering away hours on Facebook, clicking on links that you actually don’t even care about? Nobody’s got time for that.
Comparing yourself to strangers on the Internet and feeling like a hollow pit of unworthiness and self loathing? It’s time to end this now.
No more mindless scrolling
I’m not an all-or-nothing girl. And while I have HUGE respect for anyone who steps away from their chosen social media vice for a given number of weeks or months (or forever), that is just never going to work for me.
What did work for me, though, was SHEER FRUSTRATION.
I actually got to a point where I was so sick of the mindless scrolling that I just stopped. I asked myself one question:
“What are you achieving here?”
And I realised that nothing I saw in that feed was going to get me where I want to go.
The frustration was enough that, overnight, I went from a Facebook addict to a Facebook drop in.
If you’re feeling the need to change your habits, here are some of my best tips:
// Go online with intention. What is my purpose here? What do I want to achieve?
I have a certain commitment to a few groups, and I have to drop in and contribute. I also like to check in on other groups, post updates on The Beauty of Life page, and keep in contact with a few friends quickly. Then I’m out.
// Pay attention to your habits.
Just like in meditation, and in anything in life, really, paying attention is a big one. It’s so easy to get caught up in the scrolling, but the second I realise I’m doing it, I guarantee you that I will now close down that window. I hope to repeat this habit enough that I close down before the scrolling even begins!
// Find something better to do.
Facebook and Instagram are my S.M’s of choice. But, lately, I’ve been reading some really good books and I enjoy them significantly more than the click bait that can be found in my news feed. Having a great book at my fingertips (or whatever floats your boat, really) is infinitely more enticing than Facebook.
Pay attention and engage
One of the Facebook communities that I’m in actually posted this week that if you’re not going to be an active member of the group, you should probably leave. Not because they’re a nasty bunch of meanies, but because they want to promote a community of engaged and enthusiastic members.
I love this for so many reasons!
One, that they are so passionate about why they’re there.
Two, because they want to inspire everyone who is part of the community to contribute and add value.
And, three, because they are asking for everyone to make the decision as to where they want to put their energy and their attention. To actually be discerning about the part they play in their social media engagement, and to really think about it.
Get rid of your triggers (or change your mindset)
Does someone piss you off every time you see their name pop up on Instagram? Unfollow them. Do you find yourself fuming every time they tweet? Or do you feel so negative about the contents of your news feed?
UNFOLLOW. DE-FRIEND. BLOCK.
Do whatever you have to do to expel that negative energy from your social media. It will feel so. damn. good afterwards.
And if someone you really like is triggering you and causing you to compare, doubt, or dislike yourself, maybe it’s time for a mindset shift.
What is triggering you? Where do you feel like they’re showing up in their lives and maybe you aren’t? What could you do differently?
Or maybe even, is this real?
Social media allows us to see but a tiny snippet of the lives of others. Our brains like to think this tiny snippet is the entire picture, but alas it is not.
So stop comparing yourself to strangers on the Internet. Accept that everybody has bad days, everybody poops, and everybody fights with their partner/friend/parent sometimes but nobody wants to see that in their Instagram feed.
Have you lost yourself to social media? Have you managed to get yourself back? Leave a comment below and let’s kick this habit together (it’s easier than you think, I promise!)