Getting Away From Social Media

I recently made the choice to stop using social media. There are many reasons why you might want to do this, but for someone who has been using social media for years, this can seem almost impossible.

This article lists a set of small changes you can make, one by one, to gradually distance yourself from social media. This will slowly reduce its influence over you, and its demands on your time.

Open the Settings Page

Open the settings pages of your apps and social media websites. Find out what all the tick boxes do.

Now, let's make a few changes...

Turn off algorithms

Turn off “custom content” features. Turn off targeted advertising and suggested content wherever possible. Don’t let the algorithm decide what you are interested in thinking about. Where possible, view content in chronological order, without artificial intelligence having a say on what you see first. This will automatically lower the addictive quality of your feeds.

Turn off notifications

One by one, disable notifications. Turn off email notifications, pop up phone notifications, and notification sounds.

This reduces the number of times a day your attention gets dragged away from what you are doing or thinking, summoned back to online media.

Unfollow, unsubscribe

Gradually begin to follow less content. Mute verbose accounts, let go of accounts you have less interest in. Start by just following what you enjoy most, drop things that make you annoyed or cause negative emotions. Don’t worry, important news will still reach you. Unimportant news will fade into the background.

Uninstall apps

Uninstall apps from your devices. Maybe you still check your feeds on your laptop or pc, but you don’t have to carry it around with you in your pocket every moment of the day. Create more and more mental distance from social media.

Observe Your Mind

Observe how your mind is changing. Your thoughts are becoming more and more your own. Your mood is not being pulled around by constant notifications and moment to moment news cycles. You can relax more easily, rest with your own thoughts.

Log Out

When you feel ready, log out of your social media accounts.

Eventually, if you want to, you can go all the way and deactivate or wipe your accounts completely.

Stay Alert - Watch Out for Bad Patterns

Stay vigilant, watch out for this same pattern returning in other ways. Watch for this “just checking to see” feeling, even if it’s only checking your emails too many times a day, or checking news websites, or flipping through tv channels. All of these activities use the same addiction-forming neurological pathways that cause social media addiction.

Do Something You Want to Do

Use your new mental clarity and spare time for something you really like.

Naturally, you have more time now. Not only that, more concentration and less distraction. Maybe now you can do something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time but never got around to. Do something that accomplishes a real goal. Spend more time with your family and friends, have real conversations.

Stay Connected to People

Stay more in touch with people you miss, by writing emails or making phone calls. You will find that people highly value this kind of thoughtful personal communication. It is becoming increasingly rare. Stay in touch with people, don’t just watch them from afar through social media feeds.

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