Monday, March 16, 2015

Stop the virtual world, I want to get off....sometimes...

How can we NOT feel overwhelmed?

I made a New Year's Resolution this year, and feel I have kept it well enough to give a positive status report.

As odd as it may seem after picking up this blog again, I decided, in 2015, to softly yet significantly disconnect from the virtual world.

A lot is being written about mindful computer use and dealing with computer overload, so plenty of professional lifehackers have plenty to say about the topic. 

As for little old me, I was finding my numerous online "obligations" both stress and guilt-inducing. 

So, how could I continue to reap the benefits of the Web's offerings, without making social media site stops just another checkpoint on my daily to-do list?

I won't bore you with all the details of how I tweaked Facebook and Twitter, but basically this is how I achieved -- for now -- a more tranquilly connected life.

1. I turned off almost all of my smartphone notifications. And suddenly, having a smartphone feels fun again. (Granted, I have a job that allows me to do this.)

2. I unfollowed over 1,000 people/entities on Twitter. I don't actually use Twitter that much, but when I do, I want to at least recognize a few familiar faces on my feed.

3. I forced myself to stop drifting to Facebook as my default distraction zone. It is amazing how much I can accomplish there in 10 to 15 minutes a day -- in other words: enough.

4. I unsubscribed from a ton of email subscriptions and lists. And to tell the truth, I can't name one of them.

5. I gave up on keeping up. I don't set myself impossible goals in other aspects of my life; why should Internet be any different?

Through the above, I have started feeling more of what I used to feel about the Web: a sense of wonder and discovery.

What about you? Have you done anything to tame the Internet overload beast?

Feature Image sourced under Creative Commons Attribution license from Deviant Art.


Jennifer said...

Good for you, Betty. I've stopped using Facebook, it's been about a year and a half now. It was just not enjoyable to me anymore. I've never been on Twitter. I joined Instagram this year and have actually enjoyed it a lot, but I only check in once a day. I'd much rather invest my online time in blogging, which I find much more fulfilling.

Sarah said...

I'm not a great Twitter user either, and only look at FB over breakfast and after work.

My smartphone is currently being repaired so I haven't installed any apps on my temporary phone, and it's amazing how long the battery lasts with data turned off! :)

Perpetua said...

Whereas I only joined FB less than a year ago and do enjoy it. But I've organised my friends into groups, so that I can skim-read the chatterers without missing the occasional posters. I don't have a smartphone and am not on Twitter or Instagram, so notifications aren't a problem. I have to sit down at my desk to check any social media.

I've also pruned my email lists and the blogs I follow, to keep things manageable and now visit only a couple of special-interest online forums, rather than the half-dozen or more I used to belong to. It all feels more comfortable.

Alana said...

I need to prune back the email lists I've subscribed to. I also need to cut back on Facebook. If it wasn't for some blog challenges that require me to participate via Facebook, I doubt I would use it all that much.

Neal DeRidder said...

I recently broke my iPhone. Since we are moving to France in May and will be canceling our service, I decided not to replace it. It's wonderful not to have that little nagging monster in my pocket!

Dorothy Borders said...

Those are wonderful steps toward achieving your goal. Thank you for sharing them. I believe I will adopt and adapt them to my own situation - starting with reducing the amount of email that I get by unsubscribing to a bunch of feeds. Twitter isn't much of a problem for me. Like you, I don't go there much, but I do check in on Facebook usually several times a day. I can definitely cut back on that. I like this plan. I feel better already!

Betty Carlson said...

Thanks for all of your comments. It sounds like something we all think about.

I didn't mention Instagram, but I do enjoy that. It's not very time-consuming. I especially keep up with people I know and "locals" who IG about Aveyron, so it is not too overwhelming.

Jennifer, I found your comment about blogging being more fulfilling interesting...and inspiring! I started blogging before all of the other social media kicked in, and I'm afraid it was those other social media that dragged me away from it in about 2010. I have enjoyed getting back to it, although time spent on blogging also needs to be managed.

Aussie in France said...

I use FB to keep up with my friends across the world. As I work at home, I love the daily contact.
I also use and enjoy Instagram but virtually never use Twitter. My posts are published on it automatically but that's about all.
I also did a lot of unsubscribing recently.
I don't have any alerts on my iPhone but I check it often for work purposes.
I do find myself over-using it though, particulary outside office hours. I've tried to cut down before but the habit keeps coming back. I'll try again!
Our move and my 2-month flu has meant that my blogging schedule is way out, but I've decided that I don't care. I post on my main blog when I have something to say now.
I try to keep up my Loire Daily Photo blog because I find it makes me more aware of my surroundings.
I hope you continue to meet your objectives Betty!

Betty Carlson said...


It has been interesting to read about people's struggles and successes with taming the social media beast.

When I started blogging again in November, I tried to set up a "blogging schedule," but have decided that I would rather blog when I feel like it and comment when I feel like it.

2-month flu? That sounds awful!

I'm not sure I'm following your Loire Daily Photo blog...I will definitely do so. I always enjoy keeping up on the area as I did a study abroad program in Tours, and later lived in Montbazon and worked in Tours for 3 years.

Thank you for your comment.

Katie Zeller said...

It is overwhelming.... I could easily spend all day just keeping up (and getting lost). So I decided to quit trying. Rather than limit sites I limit time - then tell myself to have fun, not look at it like work. I don't try to keep up with anything or anyone, just see what happens during X time, then quit.

Betty Carlson said...

True, Katie, the idea of limiting time does make sense, as sometimes certain sites pop out more interesting things than other times. I am really enjoying spending a less time on Facebook, though -- and I still feel like I am reaping all of its benefits.