ImageI was looking at this folder on my phone a week ago and wondered what percentage of my ‘phone time’ was spent accessing this little collection of apps. My very unscientific, statistics free conclusion was probably about 75% withthe other 25% shared between calls, email and txting (and playing games on the bus or while my lovely partner watches Coro St.).

This suddenly became a very scary thought when I realised how much time I was looking for the little red notification bubble, but what was the root casue of this scary thought? For me, it’s the fear of missing something. That maybe there’s a discussion I can’t be a part of, an opinion I can’t give my take on or a joke I won’t be involved with. My next though was “but why put myself through this fear when I can simply continue to immerse myself in an online life lived both seperately and in conjunction with reality”.

Here’s my reason. I’m not missing anything important on my phone. I’m missing important stuff in real life.

Conversations are half heard, TV shows are watched in snippets, I sit next to my partner but talk nonsense to people 10,000 miles away and most importantly I miss unknown, unretrievable moments with my little daughter Alice, who deserves the same attention my parents gave me. The problem is, it has become a habit, to whip out my phone and check the latest on what the world is up to is second nature to me and requires no more forethought than getting a glass of water when I’m thirsty or checking my review mirror when driving. I don’t consciously think about it, it just kind of happens. For some this will seem ridiculous, for some it will seem familiar and of course there are those who this will seem akin to blasphemy given social media is how their lives are lived. Please understand that this isn’t a judgement on anyone but me and my percieved situation.

What is my approach to weaning myself from this habit?

  1. Retain something (my choice will be Twitter). I enjoy this most of all and love the short, sharp approach it offers. I find myself only engaging in the comments made in the short time just before my latest login.
  2. Don’t go cold turkey. Facebook is the biggest monster and it needs to go back into its cage and then be put out to stud. I’ll slowly save all my photos, reduce my friends list (in reality, only 40% of people on there are actual friends) and reduce to checking just once a day for the next while until I naturally find myself going weeks without it. I hope.
  3. Delete accounts for the little used. For me Snapchat & Instagram have held little interest and I rarely use them so they need to go. NOW.
  4. I’m going to call people. We txt or we Facebook/Tweet. I’m going to attempt to use up my mobile plan minutes up this month by having conversations, asking how people are and generally having a proper catch up.
  5. This isn’t a weaning process but I’m not sure what to do with LinkedIn. It’s professional social media. Does it count? I think not and will most likely not change a lot here.

This may all be successful, it may fail miserably.

  • I’ll miss being able to organise things and share my hilarious (my own words) thoughts on people’s photos and choice of drink/meal/music/kids names.
  • I may initially struggle to fill my time
  • I’ll enjoy reading books again
  • I think my IQ and EQ may go up
  • I think my social life may improve, but equally could suffer
  • I KNOW my family will benefit.
  • I KNOW my daughter deserves it.

I’m looking forward to being a part of the real human race again and will certainly miss being part of a large digital race made up of our online personas, but it’s a feel good change for me and my phone will feel a lot lighter as well.

I’d be interested to hear you own thoughts on your Social Media usage and the pros and cons you’ve discovered.

Thanks for reading