From 27 August through 30 September, I set out to do a modified version of what Cal Newport discusses in his best-selling book “Digital Minimalism”. Essentially, the detox calls to get rid of using, not just social media sites, but all other types of tech that appears to have a grip on oneself (i.e. gaming, etc). The end result is to use technology to enhance the value of your everyday life, as opposed to technology using you. for it’s gain, in the midst of the digital and social media economy.
As said above, I took a modified approach. As suggested in the book, I removed the remaining apps from my phone: Twitter, Beta, Instagram, and Reddit. In doing so, I found that Instagram is (outside of posting photos and videos) essentially useless, the user experience leaves much to be desired. This is definitely understandable, so much to the point of me having little desire to check my IG account, let along engaging there on any regular basis. This result was discussed in the book – the inconvenience of logging into social media sites via the web vs the designed convenience of doing so with a mobile app. I didn’t think I would miss using Instagram, especially being an early adapter to the platform.
With removing mobile apps and causing the inconvenience of logging in via the web, the other part of the process was to avoid just that – logging into the sites via the web. Being a huge fan of Twitter, this is where I fell short. My modified plan was to just check Twitter for ten minutes every morning, primarily via the Twitter lists I have built in the beginning of the detox. The same was to take place for Instagram and Facebook as I could log into post content for music production. That process started well for the first week or so, but waned quickly after that.
There is this context of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I spoke about this topic on a recent episode of my podcast, Tech Times. FOMO takes on many forms – for some it has to do with keeping up with friends and family posts, for others it’s breaking news, etc. For me, Twitter has always provided me with topic knowledge in the areas of technology developments, coding culture, and space news. It’s been an invaluable resource for those areas for the past 16 years, so going cold turkey on it has been difficult, even via the use of lists, and not having my feed littered with unwanted topic matter. Accessing it via mobile is barely different (unlike IG) then access via the web, so that didn’t help matters, but in the past month, one thing became very clear: the issue is not really the access per se, it’s ……………
…keeping the phone out of my hands.
I won’t wax phisophically on that issue, however, it’s the one and only thing that will cause me to use my time wiser and eventually get to the result that Cal ultimately states in his book. Last week, my screen time averaged 5 hours a day, which is way too much for the activities that caused that. That said, today is October 1, the first day of the last quarter of 2022. Yesterday, in my podcast episode “What’s The Password”, I mentioned that I plan to take actionable steps to finish 2022 on a high note. What I discuss, in terms of reducing my “digital footprint” (as a long time friend said to me years ago) is the primary strive I’ll be strengthening. With that strengthening, I hope to do more things to also strengthen the true and valuable things of my daily life for this point forward – things that don’t require the use of being online.
Thanks for the read.
I’ve done well limiting my time (without deleting apps/ accounts) using tools like Apples weekly usage details. I appreciate the connections I have (only using Twitter and Instagram), quality Vs quantity for me. I’ve been on each platform long enough to have built the perfect eFriend connections.
I like the term digital minimalism, and I’m sure I can reduce my time even further.
Definitely appreciate your comment and viewpoint experience. We know that these platforms are here to be used (as well as they are created to “use” us 🙂 ) In the end, it’s always about balance.