End of Social Media Free February

Happy Leap Day! Today ends my social media exile. A few thoughts:

  1. I have not been perfectly social media-free because while I deleted the apps from my phone, I left the apps installed on my iPad and laptop so occasionally I would peek at them.
  2. Honestly, I’m not sure what it is, but I found using them on my laptop in particular to be extremely un-compelling compared to my phone. I would scroll for a few minutes and get bored and do something else. On my phone I could easily scroll and scroll and scroll…
  3. Part of it may be that I kept myself from posting anything during this month. I occasionally liked or hearted things if they were especially momentous (such as seeing some friends who welcomed their new baby into the world) but otherwise I passively scrolled until I was bored, which came pretty quickly.
  4. Because of that, I accomplished my main goal which is to re-claim my time from the black hole of social media use. More on that in a moment.
  5. I think going forward I will continue to occasionally use Threads, Facebook, Nextdoor, Linkedin from my laptop/iPad only. I will re-install the Instagram app on my phone for a couple of reasons. One, it is the app that the majority of my friends use. (hello millennial friends!) and two, mostly we use and share stories which I still enjoy posting to keep in touch and you really can’t (certainly can’t easily) post these anywhere except through the mobile app.

Instagram is still my “refrigerator” app — the app I open most often when I am bored and have nothing else to do, like checking the refrigerator not because I’m hungry. So there’s still a bit of concern that I will spend too much time on Instagram, but this little mini-vacation is enough to convince me to keep it on a tight leash.

One of the best ways to break a habit is to replace it with a better habit, so what are some things I am doing instead?

  1. My 15 year old decided he didn’t want his Switch OLED anymore which he only got a few months ago. I bought it off of him, and have been using it to play some quick matches with my oldest son on Fortnite.
  2. Many evenings, I have been re-watching some episodes of the Americans while playing Minecraft with my 15yo. Quality bonding time —if you fast forward through the sex scenes. 🙈
  3. I’m back on the scripture reading and praying wagon. I have often done the 5 day reading plan but have been struggling lately. So I switched gears this years and am just reading a single Psalm a day. It has been — wonderful.
  4. More walks as the sun has come out and we’ve had some of the most beautiful weather for February ever.

You might be like — you replaced one bad habit (social media) with two different bad habits (video games and tv) and I think that’s fair. However — with a pretty full schedule, my TV/video game consumption has been near zero for probably close to 10 years. Not actually zero — I’m not against either, obviously — but small enough that occasionally I would fit a show in here and there amongst many other things.

With a slightly freer schedule, I am catching up on some TV shows I have really wanted to see. And I’m rewatching some series (The Americans in particular) that I’ve really enjoyed, and doing so while playing video games with my kids.

And for me, video games have been almost entirely relational. A good way to find common ground with my kids. I like Minecraft but I only play it as much as I do to connect with my kiddo. Same with Fortnite with my other kid.