Social Media Fasting
For all the madness in the world, it feels both quiet and ordinary most days. Until you pick up your phone and read the stream of toxic opinion and rage tweets anyway. In an attempt to dial down the craziness I deleted the Twitter app three days ago and find it a refreshing non-factor. There’s a lot I like about Twitter, but a lot I can do without too. Blog posts are automatically tweeted out, but ironically I don’t even see my own posts.
This isn’t a post bashing Twitter or Facebook. I enjoy the experience of being on each. Instead I’m reflecting on fasting now and then. A friend of mine is doing intermittent fasting and lost twenty pounds. With social media fasting you don’t lose anything. Instead you gain time back in your life for substance and meaning. Time for reflection and deeper conversation. Time to read the books that stack up resentfully waiting for you to put down your damned phone. Time to think. Time to be.
I lived without Facebook for the first three months of 2020 and felt I didn’t miss much of anything save a few pictures and an endless stream of opinion posts. I’ve dabbled in opinion posts and find the upswell of indignation they generate a complete waste of time and energy. So rather than fight the urge to contradict the inane ramblings of a zealot I simply delete the entire post and wish people Happy Birthday! and leave it at that. With the election coming in the United States it may be a good time to step away from Facebook once again. With significant life events happening I’m holding out for the time being.
Twitter on the other hand is an attractive rut you just can’t seem to crawl out of. I’ve followed authors and thought leaders of substance and gain the experience and wisdom they offer. But Twitter is set up in such a way that you also become subjected to seeing posts or suggestions that person you’re following likes or comments on that you may have no interest in pursuing. It’s clickbait on steroids. The rut quickly becomes a rathole. I don’t want to hang out in either ruts or ratholes, thank you.
In omitting or limiting Twitter and Facebook time you open up thinking time. Outdoors time. Get things done time. Mask-to-mask time. Thinking time. Experience time. Learning time. And generally more time in your life time. That seems to me a fair trade for the very real information you might glean from each platform. And so I fast.
Time is our most precious commodity. And we all have this same gift until we are gone. It’s how we choose to spend it that differs. Sharing it with a friend is most generous.
I’ve been without Twitter and Facebook for almost two months now. It’s amazing the difference it makes in your life, it’s like wiping clean a dirty window and seeing the word anew. I definitely think that my mental health has improved as well. I have a lot more energy, desire, and Time to do the things I want. I’m thinking that I’m never returning to social media again, it has become a nonessential for me.