Social media has permeated our lives. For a lot of us, the activity of scrolling through an infinite feed of information is a daily habit.
However, people have begun to recognize the severity that such an activity contributes to the fragmentation of our attention. As a result, taking breaks from social media has become more common, and is known as the “Social Media Detox”.
So, are social media detoxes effective?
If they have abandoned social media, how do we know what these “de-toxers” are doing with all the extra time they’ve gained? Do they succeed, or do their plans fizzle out part-way through?
I aim to answer those questions with the Social Media Detox Project.
Q & A
What is #SMDProjectJuly?
It is my attempt to quit social media for the month of July and see how it affects my overall productivity, mood, personal health, and relationships.
- Objective 1: Demonstrate what I have learned by not spending time on Twitter.
- Objective 2: Blog updates every day.
What will you do instead of using social media?
These are a few of the activities I plan to make more time for:
- Write (Fiction/Freelance/Blog)
- Music (Songwriting/Practice)
- Video (Shoot/Edit)
- Quality time with family/friends
I will blog the things that I do each day instead of using social media and will inform my followers on Twitter that there is an update.
Whaaaa? But you said this was a social media detox. How can you inform your followers on Twitter?
I will use Buffer to schedule tweets and send out updates about the blog, along with little tidbits I have learned along the way. I will not actually use the Twitter app itself.
The restrictions I am placing on myself can be thought of as tweeting with a blindfold and ear muffs. I will have no idea how a tweet “performs”, how many likes or responses it gets. I will just send it out via Buffer, and whoever stumbles upon it can feel free to take action or ignore it completely.
It’s possible that this will help reinforce the fact in my mind that I have no control over others’ responses anyway, and that there’s no point in concerning myself with such things.
I believe that the most damaging characteristic of social media is in the constant, aimless scrolling. There is no specific goal to such an activity, nor any defined end.
Activities such as “liking” a photo or “heart”-ing a Tweet are the most basic form of communication, and amount to nothing more than simple binary responses. They do not offer anything close to lasting happiness for the receiver and take no effort on the part of the individual sending it.
So, what I am doing is filtering out those negative traits and using social media for the express purpose of sharing interesting things I have learned or read, as well as notifying those who care of blog updates.
Why are you doing this?
My hope is to create value for those who might see those tweets by getting them to think more deeply about how they use social media and how it affects them.
I believe that mindful social media use can be a positive thing. This relatively new technology is powerful. I think the importance lies in how we use it — something that is often forgotten. So I want to send my message to where the people are, and those I wish to speak to are on Twitter.
And how better to spread the message of mindful social media use than by making use of social media itself?
Plan of Action
So here’s the plan. I will:
- Delete Twitter app from my phone.
- Spend time on activities that are not Twitter-related.
- Continue to use Buffer to create tweets about my progress and other writing tips.
- Not respond to or like others’ tweets during the month of July. Anyone who wishes to reach me can do so via my website/email.
- Create blog posts for each day of detox.
So that’s it!
I’ve got a little bit of a plan, but am mostly making this up as I go along.
If you wish to join, or share your own social media detox experience, feel free to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also click the Follow button below to receive new blog posts and updates on my progress over the month of July.
We’ll see where it goes…