Digital Purge

The urge to simplify comes in many different forms.  As we attempt to purge physical things we have in our life, maybe things that are getting in the way, we can do the same with our digital life.  Face it, most of us have a digital life.  A life that consists of pictures (lots of food pics for me!), social media posts, games, and other apps often take up our time and clutter our lives.  We think about things we have posted and wonder if any one ‘liked’ them.  We obsess about the social media threads we are involved in.  We react to any notifications that pop up on our phones or computers. We feel the need to post pictures and take videos of  events or concerts and I wonder if this takes away from the actual experience.  Whether we realize or not, the constant need to connect is robbing us of time that we have right now.

It would be nice to say ‘heck with this’ and get rid of all social media.  At least sometimes I feel that way.  The fact is it can be difficult these days to be without any form of social media or digital presence.  We keep in touch through Facebook, we find new restaurants and cool places to go through Instagram and we follow news feeds through Twitter.  Our lives are documented and shared with our groups of followers, friends and families.  I am not saying this is all bad, but it be all encompassing and a little overwhelming to keep up with.

Yesterday, I decided to do a digital purge.  For me, that meant losing a few things when it came to my social media presence, which may seem counter intuitive considering we are trying to spread our blog out there and without a social media platform to do it, how do we get new readers.  I was beginning to feel that I was overusing.  I am on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (2 accounts), along with this blog and the blogs I follow too.  I was in the mood to do it, just like you have to be in the mood to purge physical items, you really have to be in the mood to get purge digitally as well.

I seized the opportunity of my mood (end of summer blahs) and sat down in front of the computer and trimmed off some fat from my social media.  The first thing I did was take the Instagram app off my phone.  I know, seems again counter intuitive as you can’t post from anything but a phone, but I found that I was checking Instagram way too regularly and I just need to do this to give myself a little break.  I was posting daily, if not a few times a day.  I was checking the feed way too often for my own good.

The next thing to be slashed were all those apps from Facebook.  You know every time you do one of those ‘Which Harry Potter character are you?” quizzes the app gets put onto your Facebook account. I opened all of the apps that had been added and there were dozens.  I deleted all of them.  I also went into my security and privacy settings in order to ensure that just my ‘friends’ are able to post and see my posts.  I like to know who sees my posts and my pictures so I make sure I am locked down pretty tight.

Now, for the big one.  Twitter.  I have come and gone from Twitter a few times.  Once you de-activate your account, you basically have 30 days to reconsider.  So if you log back in before 30 days, your account is all there still.  Twitter will remember who was following you and who you were following and after a couple of hours everything is back to the way it was.  Now, after the 30 days, it is gone.  All of it.  I am giving it a go. I know Twitter is a great way to spread the word with regards to the blog but I get sucked into the news feeds and I just can’t turn away.  For my own good, I de-activated my Twitter account.  Let’s see if I make it to the 30 days of Twitter detox.

Even this blog got a little trimming.  Nothing too noticeable but I deleted a few older posts that didn’t get much as far as readers go and kept the ones that were more relevant.  I deleted a couple of pages too that were redundant.

Unlike physical purging, you can’t really see the difference when you purge digitally, but I can honestly say I feel the difference.  I have caught myself going to my phone to check Instagram, but without it on my phone, I am finding that the urge is waning.  I may put it back eventually but hopefully with a little more control.  As far as Facebook, I don’t have it on my phone anyway as I am rocking an old iPhone 4. Yeh, I know.  Long story that has to do with cracked screens and no warranty.  And my Twitter detox is going well so far, but it is just one step at a time.

The idea here again, just like a physical purge isn’t to get rid of everything for the sake of getting rid of everything.  The point is to leave yourself with the items and things that enhance your life.  Use the social media that brings you enjoyment but doesn’t take over all of your free time.  Use the apps that enhance experiences instead of having you miss what is being experienced.  I chose what I needed to keep and leave the the items I don’t use or found were slowly taking over.

So if you’re not quite ready to delete or deactivate, maybe just try a dry run.  Delete the apps from your phone and see which ones you are missing and which ones you may want to hang onto.  You may surprise yourself.  Experience life in real time and sure, record it, take pictures but  don’t let the act of recording become the experience.

Have you deleted or deactivated any social media you had once?  How did that go?  Let us know!

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