How to Improve Your Experience on Social Media: Digital Minimalism 05

A while back, I created a series on digital minimalism. The whole idea was to share the things that I do to maintain a healthy relationship with the Internet, technology, and my life online. I got an amazing response to those videos and a lot of requests to keep going, so I thought I’d pick it back up. Today I want to talk about some of the things that I did to improve my experience on social media, and I did that by both reducing my time on there, and also making a few changes to make it more positive, So that I don’t get that sinking feeling of failure. The tips start here, if you want to just cut to the chase. But before I get to that, I think I want to talk a little bit about why this is important to me, and why this is relevant, I think, to many of us nowadays. Social media completely altered the way pretty much all of us interact and see the world. I’ve struggled with social media in the past. at times it has messed with my self-esteem, and distorted my perception of reality, and the lives that people lead. It can be addicting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Social media can be a series of tools. Tools, by the way, that have allowed me to lead a life that I really enjoy, that I’m super lucky to have, and honestly It’s an opportunity to practice intentional living. So, let’s dive in. Remove the fluff. The first thing to think about here is that your time and attention are really valuable. In fact, it’s the most valuable resource that you have. Why else would advertisers spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year to try and get in front of you? Whether you like it or not, we all have limits. Limits with regards to energy, and time, and focus. This is really important to keep in mind, especially with respect to social media, and I want to give a little bit of context here. For at least hundreds of thousands of years, humans were hunter-gatherers that lived in small groups. Estimates vary on the size of these groups, but on average, it’s about 150. There are a number of reasons why the number caps out there, and one of the main ones is the fact that we’re just unable to create quality relationships with trust and depth beyond that number. I mean it makes sense. It takes a long time to get to know someone. In fact, I’m not even close to having 150 really deep relationships, and I’m perfectly okay with that. However, I really like that number and I think it’s not a bad idea at all to cap the number of people that you follow on any given social media platform at a 150. The thing is, we go throughout our lives accumulating. Let me ask you, why is it that your email inbox fills up with spam? It’s because we sign up the different events, offers, deals, depending on our interests at different stages of life. And honestly, the same exact thing happens with people. They come in and out of our lives. And you know what? At best most of these people are just background characters in your life. I noticed that on Instagram stories I would be watching updates from people that I hadn’t spoken to in years. That’s mental bandwidth that’s going into something that adds nothing to your life. If you unfollow them I bet you won’t miss it at all. And that might sound a little bit harsh, but that’s honestly how I think this works. Let me just say that it’s okay to let them go. If they’re meant to play a role in your life, they will find a way back into your life. I promise you. What I recommend doing is going through the list of people and accounts that you follow, and removing anything that doesn’t clearly add value to your life. In fact, I recommend doing this three times, because what will happen is it’ll get easier as you go through. I found that I got more and more comfortable of this idea of letting people go. Now, this is very simple actually, but we make it complicated due to social pressure. Just be mindful. If you feel obligated to follow somebody, or if you’re afraid to unfollow someone for fear of their reaction if they found out. These are not the right reasons to follow somebody, first of all. And it’s important to remember, whose life is this? Right, yours or theirs? The things that we think we should care about are not always the same as the things that we actually care about. That’s okay. I can honestly say that I don’t care what the people that I went to high school think about me and that’s not going to change. So guess what? I don’t follow any of them on social media. By the way, I just want to mention that when I did this, I was shocked to find that I was following all kinds of people, and brands, and accounts, that had absolutely no importance to me. That’s because I’ve evolved, and changed over time, right? As we all do. I also want to challenge you to think critically if something motivates or inspires you. These are words that are thrown out a lot, but I think that there’s a lot of psychology at play in social media, right? If you’re following an account, that in reality actually gives you kind of a sinking feeling, that makes you feel you know like a failure, or that you’re not doing enough in life, you know, then maybe it’s not a good idea to follow that account. There are a lot of accounts out there that are perfectly curated and don’t reflect or seem connected in any way to reality. Nobody is perpetually happy, for the record. Okay? So if somebody seems like that on social media, then maybe they’re not telling the full truth. I even unfollowed GaryVee, not because I don’t like his message, because I think what he is all about is amazing, and I just love what he talks about on social media and how he talks about it. But the truth is that after a while, it just became a series of reminders and you know, I got it. I no longer needed these reminders. I’m sure he would approve of this decision. He’s even said on social media that he’s perfectly okay with you unfollowing him to go and pursue meaning in life. I really do believe there’s a lot of quality out there you just have to kind of dig a little bit and get through the BS to get there. Help the algorithms help you. When on YouTube or Instagram, it’s really easy to tell these platforms to stop showing you stuff that you don’t want to see, stuff that maybe distracts you or that, you know, that you don’t care about. I started by blocking sensationalized news, drama, that kind of thing. I just didn’t need it in my life. Even before doing this, it might be a good idea to clear your history, especially on platforms like YouTube, as a way to kind of attack things at the source and break the cycle. Limit the appeal of social media. I absolutely hate the feeling of having spent far too much time scrolling, right? And I think I’m not the only person that has gone through this. I’ve successfully curbed my social media usage in two ways: First of all, turn off or limit notifications, and I totally get the irony in that. I know I’ve promoted turning on notifications on this channel at the end of some of my videos, so if you’ve done that and decided to turn them back off, I do not blame you whatsoever. At the end of the day I do not want to have a detrimental impact on your life. I’ve talked about this before, but think about how frustrating that feeling of not getting anything done is. Oftentimes, this is just a result of constantly disrupting your focus, because of notifications which is very unnatural. Second, this mainly applies to Instagram but I went ahead and kind of diluted my feed. I went ahead and followed about 20 accounts or hashtags that are run by complete strangers to me. These are all accounts that post, like eye candy, but without any context. I find that these photos, although they’re very pretty, often kind of blend together and they make scrolling through Instagram a lot more repetitive and far less addictive. I’m kind of like, why am I looking at this right now? I have better things to do, and I get off. The only way that any of this is gonna work for you is if you have some level of accountability and desire to change. Which I’m guessing you already do, since you’re watching this video. The cool thing about this is that it snowballs. So at first the changes might feel difficult and clunky but it gets easier. Just starting the process can really lead you to cleaning things up, and being a little bit healthier on social media. I hope that you enjoyed this video. Like I said, this is actually part of an entire series that I’m doing on digital minimalism, where I share kind of all the different ways that I’ve thought about getting my digital life under control. I’ve created an entire playlist and it’s definitely worth checking out if you found this interesting. I also have a bonus episode that I created a while back. It’s only available on my Patreon page on the topic of how I organize my music. Finally you can sign up to my newsletter for occasional updates and additional resources to go along with some of these videos. And you can follow my progress on Instagram. I do live streams on there every Sunday. But again, if you feel like following me would not add positively to your social media experience. I totally get it. Alright. Thank you so much for watching. I’ll see you soon.

16 thoughts on “How to Improve Your Experience on Social Media: Digital Minimalism 05

  1. Whew… What an evening… Unfollowing on FB and IG has been an emotional journey but also a liberating one. I've watched your video on repeat as I did this to validate what I was and remind myself that this is okay. I also enjoy the point you said: "if these people are meant to be close to you, they'll find a way back into your life". I like that. Now I'm on the strategy of setting up my iPhone screens to better play on the parts of my day. Thanks so much for this video… If you want to know for 100% if it's made an impact… It has with me and I needed to hear this.

  2. I love your content. Very helpful and well presented. I discovered one of your videos yesterday and have been binge watching ever since, starting from your oldest ones. In regards to this topic…I think that, for me, removing all social media apps from my phone helped reduce the time I spend on them. It now forces me to go to my computer to see what's on them, and forces me to actually talk to the people around me when I'm out and about, instead of whipping out my phone and wasting time looking at Facebook and such.

  3. i think i feel and understand the cap of 150 pweople but when you were saying you watching someones story who you dont talk to because they dont add value . i think its a little nmore complex then that becayuse sometimes we get value in different ways . sometimes i look inot others lives to learn ways i can betteer my own life
    and yes theres alot of people who i dont get val;ue from

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