In July of 2019, I chose to give myself some space from social media and email as part of the #RebelMediaEclipse. The intention wasn't to drop media, but just to separate myself long enough that I could more accurately judge what a healthy re-introduction would look like. I deleted all social media access and email apps from my phone and only used email on my laptop 1-2 times per day.
In some regards, Social media does contribute to my well-being and can be beneficial; primarily from a business standpoint. It is a great way for me to make announcements about upcoming events, for example. However, having the app on my phone does offer a seemingly harmless tool for passing time... but it isn't harmless.
Immediately I noticed how often I would grab my phone, unlock it and then realize that I had no reason for doing so; the habitual regularity with which this happened the first few days was unsettling. I was going through a bit of email withdrawal. While I did start carrying my Kindle with me, I noticed that this was, in some ways, a substitute distraction, another screen, another escape. The value that I gained during this 30+ days came in many forms, but the compounding benefit of having more small moments where my mind could process, investigate and explore provided a massive gift to my well-being. Creative solutions, clarity and new ideas flourished... as though these thought streams were no longer dammed and were now able to flow freely.
I have been able to add a few new activities and hobbies to my life and routine; things that help to make the re-introduction of the apps to my phone very difficult to justify. But the last month truly reinforced the terrifying reality of how locked into our screens we are as a population. When you sit in a coffee shop with nothing but a cold brew and your thoughts, you quickly notice that almost everyone is looking down, face illuminated by a screen, allowing the tangible reality of this moment to pass them by forever. For what?
Moving forward, I want to maintain the benefits I have personally experienced by eliminating the apps from my phone. Yet, I do want to be able to provide and share information with those that may be interested. So I have decide to make my social media accounts into, what I am calling, #DPDaccount (Download, Post, Delete). Meaning, when I have something that I would like to share, I will download the app, post the content and then delete the application.
1- Not having the app on the phone eliminates any possibility for mindless scrolling of social media and/or habitual checking of email.
2- Needing to download the app and log in adds a layer of evaluation... "is this really worth it?"
3- Immediately deleting the app shuts down the supply of "social dopamine" that can come from monitoring interactions (likes, comments & shares).
There are a number of reasons I can list to argue against this process and approach, and they would carry some validity. However, the value I gain far outweighs the benefits I lose.
This may not sound appealing to you and I completely get it. But I invite you to give it a shot and add #DPDaccount to your profile. You have very little to lose and so much to potentially discover.
Feel free to use the image below: