21 January 2015

5 Tips for Intentional Social Media Use

As I have started 2015, one thing I have spent a lot of time reflecting upon are the many ways I waste time in life,especially through constant and mindless social media usage. Now I am not gonna jump on the soap box that spews social media is evil, bad, and from the Devil. Because actually it isn't. On the contrary, it is a great good and powerful tool that can bring people together. But sometimes there can be to much of a good thing...

When whatever that good thing is becomes all-consuming or begins to take priority to other things, that's usually an indication that something needs to change. For me that has slowly become my relationship with social media. Sure I love Instagram or a good blog post like the next person, but I am seeing that is has too much power in my life. I waste a lot of time by seeing what's new on Facebook or how many likes an Instagram picture has.

I go on many times throughout the day, and sometimes I'm embarrassed to say it has been the first and last thing I do in my day. I realize it has a hold on me that is too intense and strong. So part of my moving from mindless to purposeful living, is really evaluating and being intentional with how and when I use social media. I know things need to change and having tangible goals on how to better use social media will help me live a more purposeful life.

Picture taken by Annie

1. Build into life media-free days/weekends
Think of this like a silent retreat, but only its from your favoritest social media apps. Choose one day a week or one weekend a month to fast entirely from social media. Nothing will show you much you rely on something until you fast from it for a period of time. For me, I am going to start with one weekend a month that I fast from social media. Now if you're anything like me, that's a nice idea in theory but it doesn't become real until I commit to follow through. For me writing it in my planner with loads of colorful highlighter marks helps me to make the commitment. January 30-February 1 commences my first weekend media fast...let the games begin!

2. Don't have your social media apps right up front on your phone
Such a simple, but very powerful tool! I can take the credit for this but was really inspired when I read it in Lara Casey's book. If you want your social media usage to be more intentional, you need to set yourself up for success! Lara encourages her readers to create a folder on the last page on phone apps. Make a catchy title like "Be Intentional" or "Use with Purpose" to remind yourself every time you enrage on social media to do so with purpose and intentionality.
I've already started doing this, and it certainly is making me take a second glance before I jump onto Facebook or Instagram for some "mindless browsing."

3. Write out a clear mission statement for social media usage
If you want to be intentional with social media, a clearly defined mission statement can help you see what is your purpose for using and engaging with a particular media. Another great tip from Lara is what she sums up so well here: "When I find myself wanting to quit the Internet or slipping back into using it as an escape, I go right back to that mission statement (to encourage other people to know God) to check my motive and get right back to giving. I'm certainly not perfect at this, but my social media usage has been more purposeful since I put this in place." When we clearly define and understand why we do something, it actually help us be more present and focused to the task at hand.


4. Don't constantly check it throughout the day
This one can be hard for me. But one definite way for me to be more intentional is have set times to go on. For me, what this looks like is two sweeps a day on all my favorites (Facebook, Instagram, and Bloglovin): one in the morning and once again late afternoon/early evening. This one has been a little tougher for me, but even trying it shows me how time I have wasted or not used to focus on what really matters.
Give it try, you might find yourself surprised!

5. Don't use past a certain time
I am sure you have heard of that healthy living tip? The one that encourages you to not eat late at night or eating past a certain time? Well implement the same idea with how often you use social media! Let's be honest here. Why really do we go on Facebook or scroll through Instagram at 11:15p on a work night? Are we afraid of missing something? Why is it so hard to give it a rest and put the phone down? That answer would probably be different for all of us, but I think its an important one to ask. Think on that one for awhile....good food for thought.



Do you have any tips or suggestions to add? How can you be more intentional in how you use social media? 


6 comments:

  1. This is great Patty!!!! at one point I was convinced that Facebook is from the devil!!! I wasted so much time on it and lost so much precious time that I could have had to be productive and get things done that REALLY needed to get done. So I have been fasting from Facebook for the past 2 lents..and I also have a few fasts throughout the year. For example, right now, I'm fasting from fb Monday-Friday (since those are days that I need to work, study, and be productive at home as well), and I let myself go on it on the weekend, particularly Sunday. But I find that after not constantly checking FB monday-friday, when sunday comes around I'm not even all that interested in checking it. For example, this Sunday I went on Facebook but only to post 1 pro-life post about the March for Life in Chicago and 1 Pope Francis post about the 7mln mass in the Philippines - so I used it to spread the good news, and not just let it consume me.

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    1. Thanks Agnes! Wow girl, your several steps ahead of me in terms of fasting from it! Good for you:)
      Hope school is going well!

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  2. Great tips!! I agree with you... I think social media is amoral (not good or bad), but it's our individual use of it that becomes good or bad (or, may point towards areas of sin in our life). I deleted my Facebook a few months ago, because it was the exact same stuff on my Instagram... I feel so much healthier because of it! These are all super great tips, Patty!

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  3. This is awesome and something I needed to read! Can you tell I'm catching up on your blog this morning? haha.

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