Social Media, I Just Can't Quit You • "30 Days of Focus" Day 3

Like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love checking in to see how family and friends are doing. I love posting funny things that I find or that happen in my life. I love seeing what’s going in on in the storytelling world and as someone who’s immersed in this industry personally and professionally, Facebook is, without a doubt, the go-to.

For all of the work I do within the storytelling community, I need to use social media to promote the shows, classes and projects I’m doing.

However, I also hate that I spend so much time on it mindlessly scrolling through posts, clicking on links that send me off into the dark reaches of the web and commenting on remarks that I would, otherwise, not care about.

So for this month’s 30-Day Challenge of Focus, I logged off of my social media on my phone (aka Phony) and vowed to only check it on my desktop in the morning and the evening. The only social media account I didn’t log off of is Instagram because you can’t post from the desktop.

It was surprising how often I instinctively go to those apps when I have some downtime (on an elevator, on the subway, walking to the subway, etc.) It’s built into my muscle memory at this point and now I need to (flip it and) reverse it.

Here’s how it went.

  • 8:10 a.m. - Logged into Facebook and Twitter to share my latest blog post and look at and respond to any messages. When you check them in the evening, there are fewer in the morning (obviously), which saves you time.

  • 1:15 p.m. - Shared the exciting news on Facebook in two places and on Twitter in two places that my friend Mark Pagàn and his team were nominated for a Webby award for his fantastic podcast, “Other Men Need Help.” Vote here, if you’d like. :) I didn’t check anything else.

  • 2:45 p.m. - Posted that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was shooting in my neighborhood on Instagram. Didn’t thumb through any posts.

  • 8:47 p.m. - Checked Facebook and responded to messages

I’ll admit that I already broke my rule by logging in in the afternoon, but I thought it would be quick to share the good news about my friend, Mark. However, I didn’t think about how long it took me to write the post and edit it for my various channels cuz you know, Twitter.

With the Marvelous Mrs. Maisels post, I thought it would be fast, too, but I forget how it can take some time to go through those damn filters and think of hashtags. Plus, the time it took me in the morning to take those pics in the first place. It was a matter of seconds, but still everything adds up.

I wished that I checked to see how long each task took, but I finally did so at the end of the day when I went to check Facebook.

I went in hyper-focused knowing that I wasn’t going to scroll through posts and I was only going to look at and respond to notifications.

Here are the results.

I had 43 notifications, 1 friend request and no messages (I don’t have Messenger, so that helps cut those down.)

Facebook when I logged in

Facebook when I logged in

Facebook when I was done. Proof!

Facebook when I was done. Proof!

I spent 14 minutes on there responding. I didn’t mindlessly scroll through posts because of this incredible plug-in I’ve been using for months called Kill the News Feed. As you can see, it shows me nothing, but what’s on the perimeter of my page. Yes, I can search for things, but it’s designed to minimize distractions and it’s free!

What my desktop looks like when I log in to Facebook using Kill the News Feed. Ahhhh.

What my desktop looks like when I log in to Facebook using Kill the News Feed. Ahhhh.

I think those are pretty good results, but the thing that stands out to me most is that if I spent 14 minutes doing that when I was laser-focused, then how long did everything else take? Did this ultimately eat up an hour of my day? More? I’m going to track my morning and evening usage today to see how long it takes and I’ll report back. Nancy Drew is on the case!

How often do you check social media? How much time do you spend on there? One idea that I had that I never did was to put a bunch of paper clips in one pocket and move one over to the other pocket each time I checked in. Then, at the end of the day I would have a sense of how many times I logged in. Let me know if you decide to try it and if you like what you’ve read, please share it and subscribe below. Thanks!