When we moved from Lansing, MI, to Knoxville, TN, in 2018, I started exploring ways of using social media that were less distracting and more rewarding. The first thing I tried was drastic - I deleted almost all of my social media accounts. Having had the same Facebook account since my first year of college (in 2006), and a Twitter and LinkedIn account from roughly the same time, I figured I was ready for a fresh start. I also created a new Google account; I’d had the same Google account since around then.
Perhaps expectedly, this caused some inconveniences, and, if I had the chance to do it over, I probably would have deleted my Google account, but not the others, as the positive effects that can come from having a network of friends, family, and peers is quite valuable. I was able to recreate my Twitter account with the same network, but not the others. But, the effect of these changes was somewhat positive, in that I used social media in a less distracted way. I’ve slowly recreated the accounts, including - this past week - LinkedIn. I’ve also tried to take social media breaks, but they don’t last very long. Lastly, I’ve tried to log out and log back in every time I use social media (or even reset and not saving my password each time), which has helped a bit, if not being somewhat comically inconvenient.
In the course of recreating what I’d had (and deleted!), I’ve found that social media is relatively not distracting when I use it to read or amplify content. For example, I can check-in on Facebook or Twitter a few times a day, read/favorite/save for later posts, and then sign-of. I can also amplify content that I like or just want to share from others and can share posts from my blog, like this one.
I’ve found that social media is considerably more distracting to me when I share personal posts or updates - e.g., photos of my son or our family, or professional updates. In these cases, I can’t stop checking for who liked or interacted with my post last.
So, I wonder if a way to use social media is to share or amplify content, but not share personal posts, apart from those initiated in other places (namely, content on this blog, which Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn do not own). And, also, to (ridiculously) change my password to somewhat random that I don’t save each time I log out, leading to a process that means there’s a greater cost to logging in to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn. This is less efficient in some ways; social media is tailored to engaging with shorter posts, and having to click a link to a blog post to e.g. read about some update is likely to lead to less … well, likes/interactions. And, it still lets me take away some of the benefits of social media, while focusing on writing longer posts/reflections/updates here.