"What consumes your mind, controls your life."
If you think about this Bryce Lewis quote and your relationship with social media, and if your first reaction is to reject, blame, complain, or defend, then this statement is probably true. If you don’t believe me, ask the five people you spend the most time with. Or, better yet, check the Screentime setting in your iPhone to see how much time you're spending on social media.
This may be a gut wrenching reality check for you, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all could use some time away from our screens. If that's exactly what you're looking for, here are some tips that can help you balance your consumption.
1. Take a social media vacation
Delete the any all-consuming apps from your phone. Start with a small period of time — you can always reinstall it when the the time is right. (I tried moving the social media apps off my home screen but found it's still too tempting.)
2. Take a real vacation
When my wife and I travel, we never get data plans. It’s awesome not having the constant ping of notifications about meaningless viral videos.
3. Turn off your notifications
You may not be thinking about social media, but a buzz or ping unintentionally pulls you into an infinite scroll of mindless content. Turning off notifications or turning on Do Not Disturb helps curb the interruptions and temptation.
Benefits of Finding Balance
Social media has great power and isn’t inherently bad, but I strongly believe in balance. It can be used to make a positive impact everyday, but it can also be used to consume our minds with negativity. When you take time off social media it allows you to:
Gain Perspective — When you aren’t using social media you are present. You're able to gain perspective from many differing opinions rather than the echo chamber that is created by your news feed.
Build Meaningful Relationships — Social Researcher, Brene Brown says, “Social media has given us the idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky.” Invest in the one or two friends you have.
Be Happier — Staying off social media allows you to focus your time and energy on what really matters to you. This allows for a sense of purpose. A compliment, hug, or laugh with a friend in person is better than a like.
Whether you're a heavy social media user, or you're just seeking balance, press pause on your news feed. Take an honest inventory of where you are and run towards one or two meaningful relationships rather than towards thousands of followers. A break from social media will allow you to gain perspective, build meaningful relationships, and to be happier each day.
Jim Smalley is a Technology Integration Coach at Hilliard City Schools. He graduated from Heidelberg University and received a masters in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University. Has worked in every grade level K-5 in a 1:1 environment using iPads. Currently working in Hilliard City Schools outside of Columbus, OH. Enjoys coaching basketball, traveling with his wife, and spending time with his American Bulldog Max. Connect with him on Twitter @SmalleyTech or follow his weekly blog Think.Laugh.Cry.