Wednesday, February 01, 2017

I’ve been on this quest to lead a more mindful, minimal life. It’s a massive challenge because we are all so naturally geared toward excess. Having less feels like an effort. Not only that, it feels like, well, less… Does that make sense? It’s like everyone around has so much – and I mean so much of everything really – that choosing to have less almost feels like a weird sort of failure? It’s not though. And I am really starting to fully grasp how all of the excess I have allowed into my life has affected me.

I started off making small changes to my wardrobe. I have imposed a no shopping rule (which can only be broken if the item I would like to purchase is to replace something that is broken/doesn’t fit or will at least go with 6 other things I already own).

To be perfectly frank, my offline dive into minimalism is going smashingly well. My online life though… well, it was starting to make me quite miserable. I have wanted to do a social media detox for ages. The truth is, I have been feeling incredibly unhappy and out of synch lately. I couldn’t put my finger on the cause. I was snippy and irritable and felt like making snide comments all the time. I realised, quite out of the blue one day, that these terrible moods were almost always tied to something I had seen online that left me feeling infuriated, irritated, exasperated or shocked. I had had enough and I needed to make some changes.

I did the social media detox worksheet (because as you know I’m completely obsessed with into-mind) and the following observations are a result of the worksheet.

If you log into Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and leave feeling any negative sort of feels, then this worksheet is absolutely for you.

Yes I have culled my friends list on Facebook and drastically decreased the number of people I follow on Twitter. While there has been no Facebook backlash, I have noticed my Twitter followers drop since the big cull – which doesn’t bother me strangely enough. Ok, let’s get stuck into what I learned about my social media habits:

How does your current usage make you feel?

After taking the time to truthfully examine the reactions I was having to my social feeds, I realised that I almost always left the various platforms feeling jealous, envious, unhappy, guilty (for not posting enough), uninteresting and completely overwhelmed. I hardly left feeling positive and inspired and excited, the negative was so much stronger than the positive.

One of the biggest learning’s for me was that I did not feel like I was following like-minded people. I didn’t feel like the people I followed were on the same journey as me. I also realised that I followed far too many brands. Being marketed to constantly through numerous social media platforms is overwhelming. I have since unfollowed almost every single brand on twitter (bar the few I am truly in love with).

Defining a clear purpose for each platform:

I love social media. I know that this post has, thus far, been a bit negative, but I really do love being connected to my world. I just need to flesh out what purpose each platform serves and tailor my usage to this purpose:

Facebook profile: My facebook profile is really the best opportunity I have to engage with friends and family I don’t see very often or who don’t live in Cape Town. It is a space reserved for those I adore and love and really want to keep up with.

Facebook page: So I just finished telling you about how my Facebook profile will work, did you notice that I did not mention my blog? That’s because as much as I have chosen to stay in touch with my loved ones, they have chosen to stay in touch with me too. Should they wish to keep up to date with my blog, they always have the option of liking my blogs page where I will be sharing my posts from now on. My Facebook audience is so tiny it’s almost non-existent, I have toyed with the idea of just deleting this page, but to be honest, I quite like that I get to reach people I may never have interacted with otherwise.

Twitter: I adore Twitter. It is a place where ideas can be researched, presented and discussed. It’s an opportunity to connect, on a very visceral level with people just like me; I need to find more of these people though. My main goal for Twitter is to find more like-minded people to follow.

Instagram & Pinterest: Both of these platforms are very inspirational for me. I would like to make more of an effort to post more and follow more locals (on Instagram specifically).

I hope you’ve read this and felt (even a tiny bit) inspired to go and clean up your social media platforms. The truth is, clutter in our online lives is just as destructive and damaging to our well being as clutter in our offline lives.


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