Resetting my relationship with Facebook and Twitter

I took the Facebook and Twitter apps off my phone because some dorks told me to.

And no, I am not being insulting. The dorks in question are Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky , who call themselves Time Dorks, and run a blog called Make Time. They’ve also written a book, which is inspiring my latest foray into finding better systems to live by.

There’s a lot in the book, but the basic theme is well-summarised here:

Make Time is not about crushing your to-do list, optimizing every hour, or maximizing personal productivity. It’s about rethinking the defaults of constant busyness and distraction so you can focus on what matters every day.

I recommend reading just this one article to get a sense of what the dorks recommend. I read it, took a deep breath and deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone.

It’s been three or four weeks now, and this is what I have learned (and am in the process of thinking about):

1. I really, really don’t miss the dead time I used to spend, helplessly scrolling through endless posts from people I don’t know very well and groups where I disagree with almost everything anyone is saying. This much is clear: I never want to be in those infinity pools again (infinity pools are what Jake and John define as “always-on, effectively infinite sources of information and entertainment”.)

2. I do miss hearing about the lives and doings of a core group of people, people who are good friends and family (that’s on Facebook). And there are some groups that I do miss, because they gave me insights and information I couldn’t get anywhere else.

3. I miss my Twitter lists – the quickest way to do a traffic check or news hunt that I know. And I miss Twitter more than I miss Facebook in general – that platform really was built for journalists!

Jake and John don’t advocate complete abstinence. They note: “we can still use Twitter and check email and read the news, but we can do it on our terms”. I can’t disconnect completely – I need those social networks to promote my business, and I use them in my work with various clients. So looking at them on my desktop is still a thing.

The jury is out though, on how that works. On my PC, I am able to look at the two platforms without diving into the infinity pools, and that’s a good thing. But trying to fill the other needs (essentially, connections with people and quick access to information) is not working, because the time I can spend on this is limited by the slot allocated to it in my working day.

I need a way to look at these, and other social media platforms, that doesn’t involve my handy little pocket computer (aka my phone) but that does mean I can spend a bit of leisure time on things that matter to me.

I haven’t found that yet, and the experiment continues. If you have found a way to conquer this, let me know!

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Main photo: Maulik Sutariya on Unsplash

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