A Few Reflections from My Social Media Sabbatical
My social media sabbatical lasted nearly a month, twenty seven days to be precise. As I have expressed here in previous blog posts, my primary objective with this social media fast was to reign in some of the time I was wasting on these mediums. In doing so, I wanted to reframe the parameters of my relationship with these digital platforms. While I feel fairly confident I have accomplished this, I am aware that an individual's relationship with social media is fluid, and it can be a slippery slope.
The fact of the matter is that social media is not going away, and it is not realistic to think that most of us can opt not to use it at all. Therefore, in my humble opinion, the best way to maintain a healthy relationship on these sites is to employ a mindful approach. For me, personally, this looks like:
Have a few set times everyday when I use social media. In other words, don't use it to scroll mindlessly or as an emotional pacifier to numb myself to the real world.
Don't use it to combat boredom. Being bored is ok. Heck, just "being" sometimes is good for us.
Have a purpose to be on: like to look at friends' kids and pets, or to post an article that will uplift others, or to get information or resources from accounts I respect.
Don't "hate follow" people or places that trigger me. While I don't want to live in a digital echo chamber where everyone has the same views as me, some just live to agitate others, It's not worth it. Unfriend, unfollow, or mute their posts.
There is no need for me to respond to every post that I disagree with or to defend my posts to others who disagree with them. For the most part, minds are not being changed on Facebook.
Stop feeling the need to document every major event in my life on social media. For me, this means trying to be fully present in the moment instead of trying to record it as it unfolds.
Have a positive presence. There's enough negativity being spewed on social media. I would rather try to find commonalities with others than further the divides which already exist.
Keep in mind that social media companies harvest our data. There is a reason they don't charge us to use their "products", because we are actually their products! They sell our personal information. With this in mind, I will be more careful what I share on their platforms.
Realize that most people's real lives don't always mirror what they post on social media, including mine! Posts are merely mental projections of who we want to be or what we want to be seen.
Lastly, I vow to use social media, not to let it use me.
Greg Graber, the author of Slow Your Roll- Mindfulness for Fast Times, teaches mindfulness and Social & Emotional (SEL) skills to schools, top sports teams, and various organizations around the world. Graber, a frequent keynote speaker, currently serves as the Director of SEL at Lausanne Collegiate School. He may be contacted through his website: www.greggraber.com