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One of my main regrets in life is giving considerable thought to inconsiderate people. — Jarod Kintz
We’ve made it one-third of the way through our 31 days, and today marks a shift into Part Two of this series, which will focus on creating less stress but more peace in our lives.
What better place to start than social media?
Now don’t get me wrong, I actually adore love social media! I could happily spend hours perusing the many wonders of Pinterest, collecting recipes and craft ideas and tips of all kind. I love keeping up with all my friends and family on Facebook, and I’ve found that participating in Facebook groups can be a great way to connect with colleagues or people who are striving for the same goals. And who doesn’t love Instagram? Even my seven-year old is hooked!
No, the problem isn’t really social media itself, but often the amount of time that we devote to it. Modern culture makes it all too easy to substitute superficial Facebook friendships for real life relationships. Even worse, we maintain online “friendships” or worry about trying to impress people we often don’t even like. Even worse, we get annoyed or depressed when our life doesn’t stand up to the Pinterest standards of perfection, or when the status updates from those same people rub us the wrong way. Why?
The more I’ve thought about this lately, the more I’ve realized something needs to give. While I still slip far more often than I would like to admin, I have found that implementing three simple rules have helped immensely in reducing my social media overload:
- Set the timer. I try to give myself 15 minutes in the morning for browsing Facebook & another 10-15 minutes in the evening, and I set similar limits for Pinterest. When the time is up, I get off, no questions asked. At least in theory.
- Turn off all alerts & notifications. This is such a simple solution but can make such a big difference! I found that as soon as I stopped being alerted anytime I had a message or a friend request or I was being tagged, the temptation to go and look simply went away. I also turned off all group board notifications, which allows me to participate on my own schedule, not someone else’s. Yes, I might miss an interesting conversation every once in a while, but that is a risk I am willing to take to maintain a little sanity.
- Be selective. The last time I checked there were no awards for the number of Facebook friends you have or the number of groups you belong to. Choose quality over quantity and limit your friends and groups to those people you would actually want to spend time with. On my personal page, I don’t usually accept friend requests from anyone I haven’t met in person. I have also unfriended a few people and unjoined groups for a variety of reasons.
I promise that you will never regret the time you didn’t spend on Facebook. Spend some time with a real-life friend instead!
Be sure to read Edie’s corresponding post, More Friendship.
Do an internal Facebook audit. Are there so-called friends in your feed who are driving you crazy or causing you stress? Un-friend them. Remove yourself from groups you’re not interested in, un-like any pages you are no longer interested in, and turn off all notifications. Then do the same for any other social media networks you participate in.
Now, spend some time thinking about the people in your real-life circle. Think of two people that you love and respect that you’d like to cultivate deeper friendships with and write them down. Pray for that person, invite them for coffee, send notes of encouragement or short texts or emails.
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Do you ever spend too much time on social media? What are some ways you can connect with your real life friends instead?