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Is Social Media Evil?

There has been a lot of talk lately about giving up social media.  Several people I know have left it all together.  Some of the minimalist world is talking about it.  Is this technology something that will benefit or something that is evil?  Will it add to life or steal it?

Maybe, neither, both

How can Social Media fit into Simple Life?  Minimalism?

I have to confess that I love my social media.  Social media is the way I connect with friends, coordinate church projects, and promote my husbands business as well as my writing.  Social media is also a way to hang out and chat with people after the kids go to bed and I am home bound.  Could I call them?  Yeah, but I hate the phone.  I am a keyboard or in person kind of person. (in person is definitely best).

I agree that Social Media can become an addiction and that it can take over way to much of a persons life.  I believe that many things in technology and other areas (like credit cards) have this same danger.  How many times a day do I/you check e-mail in a day?  Text on the phone?  What about watching TV?  Gossiping?  The list can go on and on with addicting ways to waste time.

I am against wasting time and addiction, but lets tackle the whole package instead of just pointing our finger at social media as being the problem.  It is a personal issue of if one can control their time and spend it intentionally, or if they fall into time traps.  Someone who has trouble with social media, after removal if social media accounts, will probably find another time trap addiction.  The problem is personal time and life management, not with social media itself.

I wanted to write up some tips I have found to de-evil social media:

  1. Figure out what you are wanting social media for.  Is it for networking, promotion, socializing?  If it is for stalking or gossip…. you might need to find a better hobby.
  2. Figure out which social media best works for #1.  No need to be on all of them, or no need to be on all of them all the time.
  3. Use the media of choice for purpose #1.  I don’t want to mention games or surveys (specifically with Facebook) but I probably need too.  I hope that wasn’t what you came up with in #1… if so… find another hobby.
  4. Turn off email notifications.  This keeps your e-mail clean and it keeps you from always getting on to see every update.
    1. Facebook is account settings-notifications, make sure everything is unchecked.
    2. Twitter is settings-notifications, uncheck everything.
    3. Google Plus is account settings – google +, uncheck all notifications (you have to scroll down to see it).
    4. Pinterest is settings – notifications (click on change e-mail settings) and turn off all e-mails
  5. Log on with a goal in mind.  If you are going on to check notifications, do that.  If you are going on to send an e-mail (I love Facebook’s e-mail), do that.  Don’t scroll unless you have the time to kill and have scheduled time to do it.  I never scroll on twitter or Google + and rarely scroll much on Facebook.
  6. Limit the amount of times you get on.  Schedule it. Do you want to check it once a day?  once a week?  If you are consistent with the amount of times you log on people will learn that if they need a reply right away they need to call you (or better yet, don’t leave things till last minute).  Without the e-mail notifications there is no reminder or reasons to get on more often.
  7. Limit the people that you see if you are scrolling through updates.  Un-follow people who aren’t adding to your life or people that you don’t really want to keep in touch with.  You can even do this without anyone getting offended.  With Facebook you can un-subscribe (but still stay friends) and with Google + you choose the circles you want to see.
  8. Enjoy social media for what it is about. Make it about people and your connection with them instead of just a time waster for when you have nothing else to do.

On this note, e-mail should be handled the same way.  Depending on what you do for work you might have to check more often, but schedule and limit it as well.  2 times a day, once a day, 3 times a week, once a week?  All these can work for different people with different responsibilities.

Smart phones don’t have to be on your person all the time.  Can they be turned off completely during off hours in the week?  Can the be left home or left in the car sometimes?  Left in one room of the house?  I turn my notifications volume for texts way down so I rarely hear them if anything else is going on.  It limits interruptions, but I can still have my phone near by to answer business calls for our construction and photography companies.

Technology needs to be a tool, not a master.

Did you enjoy this post, have something to add?  I would love to talk to you about it in the comments section.  If you got benefit out of this post or are enjoying our Simple Living blog family, please share on the above mentioned social media sites 😉

10 Comments

  1. I like what you said about figuring out what you want social media for. I did last last year and weeded out some of the social media sites that just weren’t working for me and it’s so much better now. The ones I’m still on are the ones I really enjoy and get something out of.

    • Yeah, some work better than others for somethings. I haven’t done much with google+, but photography is huge on there and my husband uses it most of the time. They all have their uses 🙂

  2. Wow, I love how you put this all together. It”s true. I re-activated my old account in Facebook recently and decided to keep it so I can get in touch with my friends, especially those who are living abroad. I realized all it takes is a well managed time. Social Media has positive things to offer, indeed(eg promoting business). Thanks for pointing it out 🙂

    • yeah, I know several people who are cancelling too and that is why I wrote this article. Definitely it can be bad, but there are so many people that I only keep up with on it.

  3. Good advice here–especially the tip to disable notifications. The best time management goals go out the window when you’ve got alerts going off every few minutes. Before you know it, you’ve squandered your day in a haze of quasi-attentiveness.

    You mention obsessive email-checking. I think it’d be wise to apply your tips to email, too. Process email once (twice, maybe) a day, all in one fell swoop. Then turn off any “new email” alert sounds that could tempt you back to the inbox at other times.

    • Yes, I held off getting a smart phone until last November. Getting one has been good, but it is so hard not to live on it. It can beep or buzz for an e-mail that makes me stop what I am doing and completely changes my focus… only to have it be spam that got past my filter (or something else that doesn’t need my attention). Thanks for your comment!

  4. Thank you so much for the helpful advice on how to turn off notifications. They can be such a huge distraction. Better to check once or twice a day on your schedule. I turned the sound notification on my email off for the same reason.

    Having said all of that, I adore social media. I try to keep it focused on the sites that work well for me, however. I love the community aspect of Facebook, keep up with my tech-y friends on Twitter, and love the visual appeal of Pinterest.

    • Thanks for your comment. I had turned off some notifications a long time ago, doing this post made me actually get around to turning off the rest of them. The last 3 days has been quieter. I don’t know why I didn’t do it before. Lots of it is just taking the time to figure out how. I love social media too!

  5. XO XO

    The particular evil has to do with work ethic and the economy. Many of the folks I come across lack genuine work ethic. This nation is on the tail end of prosperous times. Every prosperous nation in history inevitably deals with this. Most people in the workplace these days surf YT, FB, Twitter and BLOGS all day long while their jobs are outsourced to countries where people have to work 18 hour days to put food on the table. Employers are lucky to get 3 hours of work out of a typical American. Most have run themselves aground financially, wanting now and taking the American dream out on credit. Getting things before you buy them causes you to lose compelling incentive to finish paying for it. This destroys the very impetus to work in the 1st place. Americans have become socially irresponsible citizens. Many of us are quite tired taxes being wasted on stimulus packages and bailout plans.

  6. […] or anything else I got notified.  I figured out how to stop that quick and it helped me get all my notifications turn off.  Even after turning all those off and turning down all the volumes except the phone ring I still […]

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