I’ve recently made the decision to switch phone companies, to cut my bill in half and minimize expenses as much as I can. I also got a new phone, which meant it was time to re-download the apps, put in all the contacts and generally get it in functioning order. It also allowed me, as I compared it with my old phone, to decide which apps I wanted to re-download and which I could do without.
So, without much hesitation, I didn’t download any of the main social media apps that I take part in, including Facebook and Twitter.
The reasons I did this were various, but they all support one main reason: I want a break from social media, but not a hiatus. I don’t want to stop using social media, but I want to use it less. I feel like I’ve become too attached to checking feeds or looking up notifications–and I think I’m the least attached of most of the people I know, which says something. I don’t like how, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I lay in bed and check all of my feeds. The same situation occurs before I go to bed. Or when I’m sitting in the bath. Or when I’m waiting for places to load after fast-traveling in Skyrim (though, to be fair, the load time is a bit long compared to games made for current generation consoles). Or when I’m eating or feel bored or waiting for someone. Basically, any “free” moment that I have, I’d crane my neck, my thumb would start scrolling and that is how I chose to pass the times of leisure or use as a distraction.
I also didn’t like how people hold these expectations that, if they post something on my wall or send me something, that I not only need to see it immediately, but I also need to respond immediately. Because even though I check my phone often, a lot of times I’ll leave it in the other room. Or I won’t check it while I’m busy doing something else. And I don’t like people getting angry because my response isn’t immediate. People shouldn’t expect immediate. Yet that is what the technology-driven society is moving towards, with the high-speeds, the instant results, the immediate downloads. Personally, I don’t want those expectations.
I also noticed that, while I was writing, if I got to a lull in a sentence or even a pause in a thought, my instinct was to reach for my phone for a five minute diversion, which usually turned into ten or maybe even twenty minutes. There was nothing I “needed” to check–if there is anything that ever falls into the “need” category–yet the option was there and I usually took it. When I finally noticed that, I knew I had to figure out some way to become less attached, because interfering with my writing just can’t be an option. Yet I also really like using Facebook to stay connected with high school friends, Twitter to be surrounded by an encouraging and inspiring writing community or apps like Pinterest to sate my need to look at fanart, attractive men and nerdy stuff. I didn’t want to become totally disconnected. Just less dependent; less attached.
So this is the solution: less apps on my phone and less chance for a distraction. I kept Instagram so I could still post photos, a running app to help me stay motivated and track my progress (plus a writing app that does the same), Goodreads and WordPress. Not too shabby when I compare it to my old phone, which I had apps like QuizUp, Pinterest and Etsy, on top of social media feeds, on top of all the apps I kept. Of course, I could simply choose to check my phone less, but I know myself and the habit I’ve gotten into. Every time a notification popped up, I wanted to check it. So without the notification, without the apps, there is no temptation. And I can simply check everything later, once I’m on my laptop. Once or twice a day. Not once or twice every hour.
So friends, I’m sorry if I don’t see the adorable picture of your puppy sleeping with his tongue out immediately (though we both know I’m going to comment and freak out once I do). I’m sorry if it takes me a couple hours–or maybe even a day–to respond to an email. Sorry if your text isn’t answered five seconds after you sent it. We all know I’m a Luddite (the separate post I promised to write about that topic ages ago is still owed; like winter, it’s coming) and we all know you live one life. Personally, I could use a little less technology and a lot more living in the life I get, and not with my eyes glued down to a 4″ screen.