For the month of March 2020 I did a digital declutter challenge. The challenge was a break from social media and other online platforms. At the time I had so much going on with the lead up to our big move, the start of Covid and a few other personal issues. I found when I was going on social media and online that it was adding to my stress load and impacting my mental health so I decided to take a break from it after reading the book Digital Minimalism by Carl Newport. I set the challenge for the entire 31 days of March. 12 months on I thought is a good time to reflect on how I use social media and other online platforms now. Ideally I would have liked to have re-read Carl’s book prior to writing this but unfortunately I lent it to a friend last year and I still haven’t gotten it back yet. I will read it again once I get the book back. I still remember the book pretty clearly as it did have an impact on me.
Online platforms and social media aren’t a bad thing. As we’ve seen during the Covid lockdowns social media and other online platforms can have a positive impact allowing people to connect and feel part of a community particularly when they physically can’t be together. Saying that if you don’t control how much you use them and in what ways they can quickly consume you and for some people impact their mental health. That’s what happened to me prior to March 2020.
This post is in no way disrespectful or judgmental to how anyone else uses social media or online platforms. This is just thoughts and observations of my own personal use of them.
Last year I did write a few blog posts about it.
I’m not going to lie and say that I am completely free of bad habits I had last year. Particularly in recent months I have found myself sitting on my phone mindlessly flicking through Instagram and Facebook. The difference is now I’m actually aware of it. My 2 trigger times are when I get home from work before I start dinner (20 – 40mins) and at night when I’m too tired to craft. More on that later.
In my reflections post last year I broke down the social media and online platforms I use into groups. 12 months on the groups haven’t changed
I still haven’t been back on twitter. I never got around to deleting my account last year. For some reason I was holding on to it without explanation even though I never used it and it clearly didn’t interest me. I was tempted last month to use it when in Australia Facebook banned Australian news sites from posting content but I never did. As I was typing this I decided to bite the bullet and I have now deleted my account.
I still haven’t downloaded either app after getting my new phone in February 2020. I still have accounts with both platforms but haven’t used them. Trello I will use again when I finally get in and sort out my fabric vault as I have some pieces already recorded on that. It was a good way to catalogue what fabrics and patterns I have. I haven’t had the need to look at Pinterest. Most new projects I decide on are inspired what I have seen on Instagram, blogs or Ravelry. At some point I might go in and declutter some of the items I have pinned on different boards. Pinterest will never consume me like it once did.
At the moment I’m mainly using it for educational purposes to learn how to do different craft techniques and increase my Excel skills for work, I’m a visual learner so Youtube is perfect for that. I do still listen to music on it at work at times but for the most part it is just for learning purposes. I have discovered a Youtube channel which does dance moves as a fitness workout but I haven’t yet done any of the workouts.
I don’t go on there as often as I used to. It is still a fantastic database of patterns to search through particularly as you can narrow your searches to specific yarns or pattern types. Ravelry is also good for documenting the tools and techniques you used for different projects you make as I always forget that information.
Reading blogs is one area that in the last 12 months I have started doing more. I have actually found a lot more sewing and yarn blogs than I had before so I’m enjoying reading those. I’m actually commenting on more blogs than I have in the past. I’m limiting my blog reading to only at night during my too tired to craft time. I’m a blogger and I find other people’s blogs interesting too.
I’m not posting on there as much as I was in 2019 early 2020. Before when I was making a project I might post several times during the making of it but now days I only post when something really good or really bad happens during the project and the finished object. Not spending time worrying about photos of the project is allowing me to focus on the project more. Part of the reason I craft so much is that I enjoy the process of it. I still do post a few non craft related posts from time to time. I have culled back a lot of the people and hashtags I follow on Instagram. I used to do this every couple of years but I have been even more ruthless now so that the posts I see are more inline with what I am interested in now.
Last month Mr StitchNSew decided to delete his Facebook account as he was sick of it. I broke into a cold sweat thinking I can’t do that! I admit at times of boredom I look at it more than I should particularly at the times mentioned above. I don’t look at it when I’m not at home anymore. Even at home if I’m busy crafting or doing other things I won’t look at it until I am sitting down in front of the tv. Last month we had a rather long wait in the Emergency Department. In the many many hours sitting there I wasn’t once tempted to pull out my phone and look at Facebook. I used Messenger a couple of times but that was it. I had my crochet so I just did that to kill the time. I don’t post as much on Facebook as what I used to. I just don’t feel the need to now. I have changed my rule of not being Facebook friends with people I work with but that’s because work dynamics have changed a little and I’m closer to some people now considering them friends not just work collogues. I work in large department so I’m not suddenly going to become Facebook friends with everyone as I still need that break from work. I have trouble “switching off” from work at the best of times so it is important for me not to have that constant work reminder in my Facebook feed when I see people’s names pop up. I have unfriended a few people that I don’t have a connection to anymore and I’ve discovered you can also unfollow people without unfriending them so I have done that for a few people. I’m not being mean or sneaky it’s that I want to keep my Facebook feed to things I’m interested in now. I have left several Facebook groups and unliked a heap of pages for the same reason. For me Facebook is still a valuable social media platform but I want to keep it relevant to my current interests.
Now to address my current issues. On weekdays I need to put a self imposed ban on Facebook and Instagram when I get home as I know I’m just killing time and there are other things I could do in that short period of time. I can still use it but not until later at night when I’m too tired to craft. A small amount of online time in front of the tv is ok for me. At the moment I don’t feel like I need another break from social media but if I start to feel overwhelmed again with it like I was last year I will.