How far off the grid can you go?

Jaskinia Mylna – Okna Pawlikowskiego

Let’s face it, because we were stuck at home for the past year it’s not our fault that we spent way too much time on social media. It was our only connection to the outside world. There are some redeeming factors about social media; it kept us connected far and wide, it helps you go past surface conversations and really talk to someone if you want, and where else are you going to get an honest review of last night’s Real Housewives episode? You can ask for help, advice, or just connect with your tribe. I embrace my connections on social media, it has been invaluable this year.

But now that we are slowly leaving the dark cave and venturing out into the real world, it’s time to reset ourselves. Let’s embrace life and put our phones down for a little while. 

What? You’re not ready to go cold turkey? I get it, but it’s not an “all or nothing” decision. Here’s some options to choose from.

You could just lean into it. 

Why not just try turning off your notifications? There isn’t anything on there you have to know about right now anyway. What about going a little further and leaving your phone in the other room for a short time? You could make it a contest. Just make it for five minutes today, and tomorrow you can try ten. A real hardcore rule would be to block it during work hours. I’m not there yet either; I still have my lunch period to think about.

Want more of a challenge?

If you’re ready for something more, you could delete the app off your phone entirely. That’s not to say you’re deleting your account, you would only access the site when you are on a computer. A lighter approach would just be to move it or bury it on the second screen on your phone. If it’s not the first app you see when you open your phone, you might not immediately go to it anymore.

Here’s something a little icky.

One thing that I do that I’m not entirely proud of, is I’ve been unfollowing people and not because they bother me. When these sites first started, hearing from people far and wide was fascinating. Now I don’t really care if someone I went to highschool with is out to dinner. I haven’t done a major sweep of all my friends, it’s been a little everyday. Whenever I get the annoying alert that it is their birthday, that’s when they go on the chopping block. I decide if I still want to follow them or not and move on with my life. I’m hoping that I will slowly wean myself off of the feed and get down to just the handful of contacts I truly want to stay in touch with.

Avoid most of the nonsense this way.

You can just join “groups.” Those are the parts of the sites with no ads and only relevant information is shared there. The NYCDOE Tech Facebook page has almost 7,000 users but only real information is shared, you couldn’t find a photo of avocado toast if you tried. You can find out in minutes if the system wide internet is down. The breaking news about any NYC school technology breaks there first. Now that’s useful.

How about just shaving off a few?

You could also just limit the amount of social media sites you use. I’m not saying get rid of them all, try taking one away and see how you do. If you just spend more time on the remaining ones, you haven’t really fixed the situation but it’s a start. 

Ready to step out of the cave?

I know this sounds crazy, but you could go back to the days when we didn’t have phones attached to our hands and pick up a guitar, or paintbrush, or a baseball bat. You know, hobbies! The weather is getting nicer and we’re able to go outside again. What more do you need to encourage you to try something you haven’t been able to do for over a year?

If you want to get really nuts, you could just meet up with your contacts in 3D (real life) and have face to face conversations with them rather than just clicking a “heart” next to their post. You wouldn’t believe how much easier it is to communicate when facial cues, sarcastic voices, and a glass of wine are included.

What’s in it for me?

Why go through all this? What’s wrong with how I am doing right now? Nothing, if that’s what you want. I’m pretty sure though, that if you took back some of your time, you’d be surprised at how much more you could do with it. You could reclaim your quiet sense of self and mental peace. Trust me, just try it a little bit. See if you feel a little better. I think you will, I know I do. I had time to write this post instead of finding out what my elf name would be. Believe it or not, I can live without that information. See you outside.

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