Reduce social media consumption

I find social media is a waste of time. The thing is, I’m aware and yet I look at posts, videos and ads.

Social media is a great tool for people to connect and get updated with friends and family. But too much of it is meaningless. I don’t have to know what my friend is eating or have been to on a regular basis. That’s unnecessary information.

Then there are engaging fun videos that makes you watch all the way till the end. Never ending. Keep watching and watching burning away our previous time. And of course plenty of ads.

Speaking of ads, I have real estate colleagues that spam marketing post. They post when new project launches, post when got a new listing, post when conducting a viewing, post when sold the house, post when got an award and post anything related to business. Most of them don’t post their personal stuff, only selling, selling and more selling. So I unfollow, unfollow and unfollow them.

Self-awareness is key

There was once I kept scrolling through the feeds for a good 10-15 mins unknowingly. My soul is like being sucked into this unlimited number of engaging funny videos and wanted to watch more and more. Then I stopped for a moment and looked in front, at my son. He is having his breakfast and staring at the space. That instant I said to myself, WTF. Why did I prioritise useless feeds over my boy. Why I chose to look at stranger’s videos and not interact with my loved ones.

That moment I knew I need to stop this addiction.

My first attempt

Many years ago, I’ve removed Facebook app from my phone for about a month. But in the end I installed it back because during family gathering everyone would whipped up their phone and start swiping. There are moments when there isn’t any conversation going on the table. So I got bored and then you know what happened next.

Another reason for install back is Facebook app helped me pass time. Especially when I am waiting for my client.

Hence I concluded that removing social media apps is hard to achieve and may not be necessary. It can be a good tool if you use it controllably.

My second attempt

Set up Screen Time limit

Screen Time it is. I set Apps Limits of 30 mins every day for my Facebook, Instagram and YouTube App. It worked... at first. It will pop out an alert to remind you when 30 mins limit is up. And then you get to decide put down your phone, continue for another 5 mins, 15 mins or ignore limit for the day.

Eventually, I found myself choosing "ignore limit for the day" more often than not. Which make the purpose of this function redundant.

My current attempt

Remove app from Home Screen and use search

I kept my Apps Limits because it is still useful as a reminder. But this time, I removed the social media apps from my Home Screen. The idea is to make it less noticeable in your phone so you won't be reminded to open it. And make it harder to access.

Now to open my social media apps, I need to search for it. To be clear, I do this for Facebook and Instagram app. Twitter is still on the 2nd page of my Home Screen to get update with latest Tesla news. As for YouTube it is useful for learning new skills.

As I am adopting this new method, a new usage pattern was formed. I began to open Google News app a lot more. That's sitting on my Home Screen so it's hard to ignore. Subconsciously I told myself it is ok to read news to get up to date. But the problem is, I kept reading and reading, scrolling and scrolling. Until the app shown me the same old repeated news.

I realized the problem is not about using social media app, it is the addiction of looking at the black mirror.

My next move might be putting the phone in study room. There is no need to look at my phone when I'm with my family in the living area. If there is any calls or messages I can still hear it and attend to it. But we'll see about that.

End goal

Due to the nature of real estate business I can't completely remove myself from social media. But I'm working towards the day where I access and manage my social media account once or twice a day on desktop computer. And my phone doesn't have any of those app.

I think the most important thing for any addiction is self-awareness. Once someone is aware of their own addiction, at least there is a chance to act on it.

Unfortunately many people around me aren't aware of this addiction. Or perhaps they are aware but choose not to act on it. But I hope that will change soon.

We should all spend our time interacting with the person in front of us.