Social Media and Minimalism
Back in 2006 I thought social media might be a fad. As My Space ran off into the sunset, I thought "well, that was fun." But with roll out of Twitter, and the availability of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram soon after, it looks like Social Media is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
People are spending a lot of time on social media. A recent study was done that revealed that, on average, people spend about 40 minutes a day browsing through their social media accounts which means they spend almost 5 hours a week. So why should we thing about this? If you have minimalist values or are trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle, why should this matter?
If minimalism is focusing on what's important to us and removing the excess so that we can live our fullest life, then the time we spend on social media is worth an honest look.
Social media is not bad or evil. It just is. But it can be a thief of our time. It can also be an unnecessary catalyst for anxiety, depression, and distraction. If we are serious about living our life in alignment with our internal values, it's important to define those values and see if how we are spending out time matches up.
Social media could offer some value to a person's life: easy access to social circles, beautiful photos, easy connection....so it can be hard to measure and determine how much time we actually want to be spending in this area or if we even want these tools in our lives at all. Here are two questions to ask yourself if you are finding it difficult to figure out whether or not social media might be an issue for you when it comes to living your values.
If it makes you feel bad
This seems like an obvious one, but I think some people don't realize the impact social media is having on them, and they get themselves caught up in a vicious cycle ending with the same result. Do you find yourself upset after browsing through what's trending on Twitter? Do you feel yourself getting jealous at another mom in a hammock with her baby during the day while you are at work? Do you roll your eyes at the campaign crusader who's going to save the world by ranting and raving on Facebook? If you find that the negative feelings are outweighing the positive ones after you consume social media, maybe it's time to pause and think about your relationship with social media is affecting your ability to live out your values.
If it does not bring you LASTING joy
The word LASTING is key here. I've had people tell me that Facebook brings them joy. Maybe it does. It certainly has brought me joy when it's been a way to reconnect with friends from years past. It's been a source of joy for me when I've had a beautiful collection of congratulations after the birth of my children. It's been a source of joy for me when my grandma died and people were able to post their memories and condolences. But I wonder how much of that joy is actually tiny hits of dopamine. If we are constantly relying on social media to distract us with some quick fun, likes, and laughs then this type of joy doesn't last and it leaves us wanting more. To me it's worth it to resist social media when we are craving comfort and distraction and instead focus on what we really want to be doing.