Why Throttle Social Media?
By throttle we mean limit the use of!
Why? To save time, enhance productivity, limit distraction and attention fragmentation, remove social media related anxiety, preserve health, be more active and have a life!
We limit ourselves to the use of LinkedIn to connect with professionals and potential projects, and an RSS feed on our webpage. We invest some time in networking with bloggers in specifically relevant fields and we contribute posts to our own small blog, which has just started. But that’s it, that’s where we draw the line!
But hey, that’s not to say that we think all social media is a waste of time, no! We do see its value in networking, dissemination of information and of course marketing. In fact in some of our project work it is an important component of developing a presence and positioning for a venue and/or product.
Social media was considered to be an important component in SEO for search rankings, but as Google recently explained, it is difficult to accurately determine identity with social media content, so does not currently factor into search algorithms for ranking. Social media does remain relevant though as a vehicle for driving qualified traffic to your site, building and positioning a brand and being an additional point of contact with potential customers.
Check out the guys over at Stone Temple Consulting Group discussing SEO and social media.
Our issue is with overuse of social media as with any other addicitive behaviour, it has it’s detrimental effects, chronic and acute.
Do we have a life? You bet we do! Do we have a lot of social media friends….no! Do we have friends, you know, the kind of friends you can count on to come to your rescue when the chips are really down? You bet, in different parts of the world too! Are there loads of them? No, the number is quite small (compared to your list of Facebook friends!), but we know them all, have spent time with them, lived with them, laughed and cried with them, fought with them, loved them…but we know them, well, and will be there for each other when the going gets tough. They are real friends.
Do we travel? Do we meet people? Do we experience new things?
Do we have adventures? Are we open minded? Do we enjoy our lives?
Do we lead rewarding lives? Are we informed?
The answer in all cases is a resounding YES!
All achieved without a social media profile or social media networking.
We used social media platforms, in the ‘early days’! We didn’t like it, we found the amount of time required to be invested interfered with our lives. We did not like the addictive characteristics we observed in its design. We didn’t like the background oscillation of anxiety that came with it’s use. We didn’t enjoy the repetitive distraction. We felt the effects of being mentally overstimulated and distracted away from the world outdoors, nature, fresh air, natural environments.
We saw it as a form of entertainment that we didn’t like. We tired quickly of watching rooms of friends communicate with each other through their devices, we tired of conversations being interupted by people’s need of a fix of their social media, we quickly tired of the modern posture, head down, eyes transfixed as they finger scrolled through their online life.
What did we notice when we deleted our social media profiles, way back then?
We saved time, yep time, quite alot of it!
We found that we don’t have time to maintain social media accounts explaining what we’re doing, when we’re doing it and posting photograpahs of it, because well, we’re too busy living it.
And we found that maintaining such profiles diligently, wouldn’t leave us enough time to do the things we wanted to do and what we commited to do for others.
We found, after the initial period of discontinued use which came with some passing feelings of anxiety and ‘what am I missing out on?’, that our background anxiety levels dropped away. This left space to reconnect with oneself and develop that inner relationship more, without the need of any external validation of our activities, choices, preferences, opinions and lifestyle.
There is a growing body of research demonstrating how social media use may be a major contributing factor in the rise of anxiety and depression in children, adolescents and adults alike.
There is also the physical impacts associated with the sedentary lifestyle associated with extensive use of screen interfaced technologies. The human body did not evolve to sit for prolonged periods, it evolved to move, and move alot!
Technology use sees many of us sitting for periods of time that are literally killing us! It is estimated that 90% of premature deaths worldwide are attributable to this modern habit of sitting too much. An overly sedentary lifestyle is shown to be connected to many chronic health conditions.
A sedentary lifestyle diminishes concentration also by reducing blood and thus oxygen circulation to the brain. Concentration is actually aided by movement which enhances circulation. Too much sitting is a major factor in modern body posture related health issues such as spinal problems, circulation both blood and lymph, nervous system function and fat metabolising.
There are plenty of sources out there discussing the implications of sitting too much, here’s just a couple worth a look;
We also notice a bunch of effects when we have to engage in prolonged use of screen interface technologies, such as;
tiredness, sore eyes, anti social tendency and moodiness, over stimulation, anxiety, compelled to repeat/prolong the experience of social media engagement, reluctance to engage in outdoor activities, less restful sleep and decreased positivity.
We feel it is also important to point out that social media is not a fundamental technology in and of itself, it uses technology to deliver a product that is essentially entertainment. It is also a means of data mining private information of individuals and populations for selling on to marketers and promoters.
Social media companies employ attention engineers whose function is to make social media as addictive and compulsive as possible to maximise user engagement and optimise data aquisition and product/service promotion.
As with all things in life, social media use is ok in moderation, but give it some thought, do you really know why you spend the time and energy you do using it? Give it some real deep thought, go inside your choices and behaviours, do you really know what motivates them? Can this be extended to other aspects of our lives? You bet ya!
What could you be doing with your time if you didn’t spend as much time online?
Check out the work by Dr Cal Newport on this subject and others. Cal is a professor at Geogretwon University. In his latest book Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age.