In yesterday's print edition of the Grumble, I posted this question to our readers to see if they could give me some meaningful advice on how to cut down on the use of social media:
My Grumble on social media fatigue
[Photo Credit: iStock]
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How do people do it? How do you switch off from social media?
Lately, I’ve been starting to get a strange sense of weariness every time I log onto my accounts — or even unlocking my phone for that matter. Early last year I tried to combat this by deactivating my Facebook. To be honest, it felt great to be free of some of the nonsense that was pummeling my feed day in and day out. But, I did begin to lose touch with friends over time. Many jobs — including this one — require you to stay plugged in to things like Facebook and Twitter and it can create this surreal blur between what your professional life and your social life is. I thought the Instagram would be my solution. I know, I know it’s owned by Facebook as well. But, lately I feel that the neverending feed of stories and ever plunging scroll of photos has taken the place of all of the accounts I’ve been trying to avoid. So here is my question to you, my fellow Grumblers: How do you keep yourself from using social media TOO much? Please send us all of your recommendations or innovative tips that people can use to make better use of your time away from your screens.
Metro reader responses
To my surprise, the responses came pouring in overnight from readers who wanted to share their advice on how to put some distance between you and your phone. Here is what we received:
Off the screen and on the scene!
I just came back from my Morning break and seen your article today in the Metro, and I fell off the bench I was sitting on. The picture of the Man tossing his phone out into the Ocean gave me a flash back of the day 8 years ago when I did exactly what the picture showed. I was a caregiver at that time and from a BIG family that there only involvement with helping was to call me and ask how everything is going or that they needed me. The phone became a NASTY tool in my life. One day off - I was in my kayak and answered it and had to give up my down time and I was pissed. I tossed it into the lake just like the Man in the picture and have never looked back.... I am so Thankful for that day because I am so unplugged from the ELECTRONIC fake world of texting social media and words being taking out of context. I see people looking down and going down without even knowing it is happening. My car has been hit 2 times in the back from texters. My son tells me I need to get with the program and get another phone. NOT HAPPENING! Today you restored my FAITH in the decision to be OFF THE SCREEN AND ON THE SCENE and I wanted you to know it. May you see a Robin feeding its baby, May you not be bumped into and I would love a copy of the picture as I have the paper copy hanging up here on my desk at work.
From Sue Gould, Metro US reader
How to unplug
Find a significant other, and then DO NOT move in with them. Between work, date nights, transit to see each other, spending time with each other, and texting while your apart, you’ll find all of your hobbies and preferred time wasters are suddenly pressed for time. Your subconscious will begin prioritizing your time and ditching a lot of the waste.
Alternatively, I have a buddy who deliberately gets up an hour earlier than necessary, to get to the office an hour earlier than necessary, in order to get all his social media nonsense out before 7 A.M. Oh yeah, finally, on the train - put the phone down, and read the Metro!
By Matthew Nassif, Metro US reader
Social Media Fatigue!
I already knew I didn't want to be a phone zombie so I created only one social media account. Sometimes I just go on it once a week or sometimes I don't even touch it in four month. I especially don't go on it during the weekend. I just keep telling myself what would be so important that I have to keep looking at my social media. Nothing really. If we didn't have it before to keep in contact with people or to read feeds of stories; we don't need it now for our daily life. There is more to life than looking at what people are doing on social media. Read a book(I don't see that much anymore) or just get out and hang out with friends and family.
By lIsa M, Metro US reader
Metro Staffers on ways to switch off social media
I was amazed at this outpouring of people who felt what I was feeling. We are living in an age with a modern problem that hasn't been pinned down completely. Our anxieties are stoked in anticipation of new content. The next update and notification is inevitable. At least that's what we've been told. Perhaps, that might be one of the only constants we have left in a world that seems to be making it up as it turns?
As great as these responses were, I felt like I should open this discussion up to people in the Metro office to see how they are able to build the barriers between their lives online and their lives at home.
Kristen Touissant, Metro News Reporter
To try to spend less time on my phone, I turned the display settings to grayscale for a little while. I heard this tip first from a friend and then found all sorts of things online talking about it. To do so on your iPhone, you have to go into your Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters, and then choose Grayscale. I don’t have any notifications set up for apps, but I do tend to just scroll on Twitter or Instagram. Without colors, though, endlessly scrolling on Instagram becomes a lot less interesting, and the apps don’t stick out at you on your home screen demanding that you check Twitter again even if you just closed it. I definitely spent less time on my phone, and then when I switched it back to color, it was so bright and jarring it actually put me off of looking at the screen still. (Though that does fade after a while, so you can fall prey to phone addiction again afterward).
Eva Kis, Metro Going Out Editor
Just remind yourself that life doesn't happen on your phone but around you. I kept finding myself missing key moments of TV shows or asking my husband to repeat things. So now when I'm home, I try to use my phone only when no one and nothing else requires my attention.
How to battle social media fatigue
While people have different ways of setting social media ground rules for themselves, there are no wrong answers really. As long as you can limit yourself to how much you scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever time-sucking social media platform you use, the more meaningful your life in the real world will be.