Restrict yourself and see what you think.
Think about it; before social media, what did you do to pass a few spare minutes?
God forbid you spoke to someone? Or maybe you got more work done? Or you just had a good old-fashioned daydream.
Most likely, you did some social networking. Must mean you like it right? Not necessarily.
I know I’m not alone when saying this, but more and more over the last few years, I find myself addicted to it even in the smallest of time frames.
With a 30 second wait for a train, I’ll be on Facebook, but most of the time I’m not actually engaging with anything.
The same goes for Twitter. Every time I have a spare minute I’ll fill it scrolling through endless amounts of posts.
Occasionally, I’ll see a post, and think to myself, I don’t have time to read this. I’ll do it later. Knowing full well, I’ll most likely never go back and find it.
So realistically, if I’m just doing a quick check, what depth can I take in during that time? I might get a few headlines and maybe some breaking news, but usually, I’ll see those updates on Sky or BBC News.
It’s when we actually go searching for stories that I think makes the most interesting observations. But by that time, I’m busy again.
You need time to digest it. To understand and actually relate to it; and unless you have that time, there really isn’t much point flooding your brain.
So while standing at a platform waiting for my late train, I questioned if I actually liked this. Or was I just bored looking for a way to pass the time?
Do The Test
With this is mind. I did a little self-test and these were my rules:
- You can only check social media three times a day
- Once at Breakfast, Lunch and Evening
- 15 minutes at a time
For me, that was a pretty big ask. My daily ritual always includes a morning social media scan – and that’s before I even get out of bed.
So what did I find?
Well, 15 minutes is actually a long time. Whilst enjoying my morning cup of coffee, I took in an enormous amount of information. So much so, that by the time I read the papers at work, I knew most of it already.
When my 15 minute lunch session rolled around. I was straight in. I found a great article on Buzzfeed and one on The Huffington Post. Before I knew it, my time was up, but I actually engaged and most importantly, I actually enjoyed.
Home from work and my final 15 minutes for the evening was spent without the TV on in the background like normal.
I sat in a quiet room and again, actually engaged with a number of articles, videos and comments. This time the 15 minutes went a lot quicker, there was a large build up of daily activity to catch up on, and I was totally engrossed.
I’m not bored now
We’re so intrinsically programmed into daily routines now, that even the smallest change makes a big difference.
Being away for just that short amount of time meant I was no longer skim reading the information as it dripped through. I was presented with a chunk I could pick and chose from.
Amazingly, I actually took in more than normal. I sieved through the mundane and picked what I wanted. Granted, I probably missed some interesting stuff in my time away, but as a whole, I actually took in more.
Most of the time I think we’re simply just bored. Looking for a minute or two to fill while we wait awkwardly next to someone at the lift whom, without our phones in our hands, we might actually feel inclined to talk to.
But if you’re feeling the social media plateau. Then just try this test. I’m still doing it, and although I do check it occasionally out of turn, I actually look forward to my 15 minutes online.