Nowadays, social media is part of our life. We post what we ate, where we went, what we thought. But why? Why do we boast our life into online chatting pages? I was having the same problem. I was nervous when I can't do social media, and try to boast myself on Facebook with good photos and stories. I personally like twitter a lot and have 5 accounts including this blog account.
Why We like Social Media
Let's first talk about the reason why we love social network so much. From the survey by Global Web Index, the top 10 reasons for using social media is
- To stay in touch with what friends are doing (42%)
- To stay up-to-date with news and current events (41%)
- To fill up spare time (39%)
- To find funny or entertaining content (37%)
- General networking with other people (34%)
- Because friends are already on them (33%)
- To share photos or videos with others (32%)
- To share my opinion (30%)
- To research new products to buy (29%)
- To meet new people (27%)
Let's sum up this result. The reason why we use social network is to consume the contents. Top 1 to 6 reasons are all based on the mind to consume new contents, and 6 to 10 reasons are based on not being isolated from 'social'. What are the negative effects that these expectations for social network make?
Since most of the users are using social network to consume contents(this is called passive networking), it is the time-killer applications for you. Sometimes it can be good to consume time by watching how the world moving, but frequent notifications and endless contents will distract you from the work/job, and hinder productivity.
Also, the mindset that I shouldn't be isolated from social makes us a negative comparison, feedback, and attention. We inevitably compare ourselves with others while using social network. And comparison makes people unhappy (see detail explanation in 'What is Happiness?').
I didn't want to be dragged by social media anymore. So I decided to minimize my contact, SNS followers, and even the time that I use social network. And in doing so, I decided to make my overall digital life better.
Road to My Digital Minimalism
Email & Webpage
For me, the most annoying things that filling my notifications are spam emails. So I decided to clean my inbox with unsubscribing spam emails that I don't want to receive. Unsubscribing spam email is quite easy. When the mail has come, go into it and press the unsubscribe button at the bottom end. For cleaning inbox, I can do some make some tags or classification, but I don't want to and don't have many emails that are worth it. So I just delete spam emails and archive the emails that I want to keep.
Also, I want to delete my account from some pages that I don't use. It is not secure to join the page that I won't use after, and also I want to manage my accounts and leave it for the pages that I want to. However, since I can't figure out all web pages that I join in, I focus on the security part more than deleting my accounts. I was using the same password for all accounts that I have, and I know this is bad because if one page is hacked, other web pages can be hacked too. So I decide to use a password manager for using a different password for pages and also managing the pages that I visit often. I am using 1Password for this purpose, and change every password not memorizable. It is also good to check the pages that I visited often and delete unnecessary accounts.
I was having Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. The first thing that I do is deleting my Facebook and Instagram account. I use Twitter most of the time and feel like Facebook and Instagram isn't really help to make the connection with people than Twitter. So I delete it. It is quite nervous that I'll miss some information from some pages by deleting it, but since I already not using them, I think it'll be fine.
So Twitter has left. I love tweeting, and I didn't want to delete a Twitter account. So I think about my pattern of using Twitter and try to reduce the bad effects on me. I turn off the notification and change the setting to only watching mentions, not likes or retweets. I use a third-party app called Tweetbot to delete the advertisements in my timeline.
Youtube is one of the time-killing social network for me, too. However, there are some contents that I like on Youtube, so I decided to just clean up my subscriptions and left contents that are valuable for me. Also, I clean up the contacts that I don't need to know or didn't contact for a while. It has about 430 contacts, but only 65 contacts were necessary for me.
This part is quite obvious. I just delete the apps that I don't use and classify the apps by purpose. This helps me to find the apps more easily, and by the first line which is for frequently used apps, it is more accessible too.
I manage all my files with Dropbox. This makes the assurance that all my files are in the dropbox and can find anywhere I go. It reduces the distraction of thinking where the file goes.
The ultimate purpose of these processes was to make me the center of my life. Deleting weak relationships and leave the relationships that are important to me was the challenge. I can't stop thinking 'maybe those weak relationships can be important in the future'. But it wasn't important for past years, and I believe that having the contact info or following each other is not even a 'weak relation'. It is just useless data for me, and if that person really matters for me in the future, I would be able to find the contact info by searching or ask others.
Also, the secondary purpose was to make my digital life not to distract myself. Cleaning applications, notifications, files, and pages are all related to this purpose. These processes make me not to worry about losing files, distracted by notifications, or hard to find applications that I need.
If you are getting annoyed by the notifications or don't want to care about unnecessary data, I recommend you to implement these ideas to your life.