Minimalism and Social Media – What Happens When you Unfollow Everyone?
When Facebook was first announced, I remember that I was laughing at the girl that told me to create an account. I replied to her that, “I will never, ever, have something like this.” Few months later, I was posting pictures regularly, writing updates, refreshing like a zombie to see my new likes. The process was pretty much the same when Twitter and Instagram were announced. In the beginning, I despised their existence. But later, I was using these social platforms regularly. I’m sure that more than a year from my life is wasted on social media.
OK, if you’re a business owner there is probably a good reason to tweet and post stuff online. But if you’re a regular dude who has not yet decided towards where he should direct his life, there is a 99.99% chance that you’re simply wasting your life scrolling and liking stuff on social media.
Today, I want to talk about applying minimalism to social media and how to properly use the most addictive mediums of our time.
Probably the best way to use these channels is to not use them at all but few are capable of resisting the “funny” cat videos and the dopamine injection we get when we see the notification icon flashing red.
I, myself, tried several times to quit, disconnect, delete my online presence but there was always something drawing me back. Something keeping me inside the rabbit hole of picture liking.
I’m sure that if you tried to quit SM yourself, you’ve encountered similar difficulties. You close everything, you swear that you’ll never return, but only an hour later you find yourself going through a pile of pictures, again.
These days, people can’t imagine their lives without these mediums. They do help, to be honest. They connect people. They are a great way to spread the news. By properly using social media you can increase your sales. However, we all know what’s the dark side of social media: procrastination, lack of in-person communication, time wasted, relationship ruined.
By applying a minimal approach to both the best and the worst inventions of our modern social life, I’m sure that we can find the right balance. The right formula to live a good life both offline and online.
Why Social Media Sucks?
In the last year, I have been trying to be more productive. To do more in less time. Not that I’m working constantly. I do rest sometimes. But while I’m working I want to be focused and 100% involved in the work I’m doing. However, things get slippery and out of hand.
The number one reason I procrastinate – and probably that’s the main reason you stall project yourself – is the social media channels we all have access to. Even though the initial purpose of these platforms was to keep us connected, to make our lives easier, they’ve become huge time wasters and destroyers of lives.1
I rarely use Twitter and Instagram. The main platform that draws my attention and wastes my time is Facebook, probably because most of my friends are using it. I’ve deleted my Facebook account several times in the past. I’ve applied things that are quite obvious: deleting the apps on my phone and using software that blocks Facebook on my PC. The results were temporary.
Unfortunately, there was always something drawing me back. Probably I wasn’t strong enough to resist the temptation of “liking stuff”, or the urge of receiving likes. That’s why I decided to go in another direction. Since the above wasn’t working, I decided to find my own way to block the channels that don’t serve any purpose in my life and only waste my time.
So, if you too find yourself spending a lot of time on Facebook, and on the other social media platforms, I believe that the advice below will help you drastically increase your productivity while still keeping your account active.
How To Cure Yourself Of Social Media Addiction?
What happens when you write a comment under someone’s post?
You’ll most probably get a response to that comment. Unless your comment is inappropriate or the person is playing hard to get. Either way, you will eagerly wait to see what will be the reaction of the person. Even if there is zero reaction.
And what happens when you get a response? Your tiny planet notification gets a little 1 and you’re eager to click it:
But that’s not all.
You’ll see the response and you’ll write back. In less than a minute, you’re involved in a pointless conversation about cat videos, recipes, clothes, or whatever.
Of course, you don’t want to disappoint your friends. That’s why you keep replying to all of the comments that are pilling up. Until you know what’s happening, you’ve wasted an hour.
I’ve created a unique system to protect myself from similar to the above situations.
Ready to hear it?
I don’t post comments under posts, at all. So, if I sometimes see something cool, something I really like, I simply click the like button. It’s simple as that. This gives me an advantage when I see the person posted the link, picture, or whatever in real life. I can actually ask them about this and we can have a decent conversation in person.
Ok, post from time to time.
Like commenting, when you post, you expect new likes and new comments to follow. That’s why when you share something you keep a tab open and you refresh like a maniac. Eager to see new notifications and new likes.
Since we crave attention, we get really excited when more people are involved in what we’ve shared. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When there is low engagement, our day is ruined. We question our existence and we do the most logical thing we can think of at this moment: we share more stuff. Hoping for more likes. Eventually, it turns into a habit.
Even if you do post, do it when you absolutely need/want to. Then, throw your phone away and get out. Or leave your phone in the other room and get some work done.
Straight To The Point Messaging
Most people spend way too much time chatting with folks online. They talk for hours and always keep a tab open to make sure they respond on time.
While I also use Messanger sometimes. And the DM function on Twitter. I don’t know how you can chat with someone for 8 hours straight. I don’t know what I can tell to this person?
If I’m involved in a conversation that is taking longer, I’ll do my best to excuse myself. I will either call this person so we can come to a solution quickly, or I will simply tell him/her that I’m busy right now and that I will respond later.
This leads to the next point.
If you’re responding to every single comment and you’re online immediately when someone sends you a message, people will get used to this and they will expect that from you in the future.
I don’t do this.
My notifications are disabled I open Messanger only twice a day. Sometimes even less.
The idea here is to set the right expectations.
When people realize that you don’t reply to messages instantly, they’ll call you only when they want to ask you something. They won’t trouble you with every single detail of their lives.
Turn Off All Notifications
It’s needless to say that if you want to be more productive and still keep your social media account you should turn off all of the notifications on your phone.
If you’re distracted every time you receive a new message or a tweet, you will waste a lot of your precious time.
Well, you’ll not only engage with the content in these channels once you’re in – after all, social media was designed to keep us inside. But it’s also scientifically proven that we need around 23 minutes to refocus and get back in working mode when we’re distracted.2
Fortunately, it’s super easy to disable the notifications.
Simply go to Notifications and Sound inside your Messanger app and place the cursor to OFF.
The place to disable notifications inside Twitter and Instagram is inside the tab called Push Notifications. Here’s a screenshot. The settings inside the screenshots below are arranged in the following order Instagram; Twitter; Facebook:
It’s hard to resist not to look at your phone when you receive a beep. That’s why is essential to stop and block all noises.
This simple configuration can save you hours.
I’ve saved the best for last.
I’ve unfollowed all of my friends on social media. It’s kind of weird saying this. But drastic times call for drastic measures.
As mentioned in the beginning, I want to be more productive while working. Still, every now and then I will open Facebook and I will waste a good hour doing nothing meaningful. Simply scrolling through pictures and liking stuff. And I’ve done this for years.
Even though I knew what was the problem, I was still checking Facebook (and the other social media channels) quite often. I was always curious about new happened since last time I checked.
But one day I had enough.
I decided that I will spend 10 minutes per day unfollowing people and pages. I took probably three months till I got this message:
Cool, right. Now even if I open Facebook, I won’t see anything 😀
It’s like locking your refrigerator and throwing away the key if you’re trying to lose weight. I was a desperate move but it worked. Now I’m even more productive while I write simply because there are zero distractions when I open social media.
You might ask about the other social media channels: Twitter and Instagram. Fortunately, I don’t quite use those. I follow only a few people there. People like Elon Musk. People who inspire me to do better work.
Unfollowing everyone is a daunting task. Fortunately, there is a tool that will help you block your facebook feed. The tool is called: News Feed Eradicator from Facebook. This is a browser extension that will replace your entire news feed with an inspiring quote. Neat, right? You can find it here: Chrome, Firefox.
Purpose of Social Media
If you’re still not sure what to do, take a moment to think about why you’re using social media? What’s your purpose to be inside these mediums?
Are you trying to boost your ego by posting your best moments and make people jealous?
Are you using social media to avoid doing other work? Or in other words, to procrastinate?
Or, you’re mindful when visiting social media? – I mean, you’re only visiting Facebook when you want to check something quick or you want to message something to someone?
Most people think that they don’t have a problem with these platforms. However, often these people are wrong.
If you’re currently using Facebook to add pictures in order to feel good about yourself, then, obviously you have a self-confidence issue that you have to address.
If after you’ve read the above you think that I’m an anti-social guy who hates people you’ll be probably right. I don’t go out much but I do love deep, interesting conversations.
However, I prefer speaking with someone in-person than chatting with him on social media.
Far too many people get addicted to these platforms for the wrong reason – pointless conversations, sharing dump memes, counting their likes.
Instead of leaving these mediums to rule our life, we should sit down and find ways to block their negative influence.
There are a lot of articles and researches that back this statement. Here are two: LINK; LINK.
In a study from the University of California Irvine, researchers say that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.