Today is Day One of my month without social media. I woke up and read some non-fiction, listened to part of a podcast, and thought about what I wanted to do today. Maybe I’ll go for a hike. I’d love to organize my books, there are quite a few on my to-be-read pile, and I’m hoping this break will give me time to catch up.
Today is sunny, so I feel motivated and happy. When I got up, I had a feeling of spaciousness to my day. It felt good to know that I had these new hours available to me. It felt refreshing.
What I’m hoping to accomplish by taking an uninterrupted break from social media is to regain some creativity. I already feel more focused and less rushed.
One of the reasons that social media is so addictive is because humans long for connection. There is nothing wrong with this desire for connection; in fact, it’s where the most fantastic human achievements have been born. But social media exploits this desire by rewarding us with validation and punishing us by losing followers and receiving negative comments.
For the duration of this experiment, I want to actively explore other ways to connect. Connect to other humans, to nature, to myself, and the divine. Here are some ways I’m doing that:
- I have a small group of friends that I’d like to spend time with, and I’m going to make more time to do that. Whether it’s having people over for dinner, talking to friends on the phone, or going to my neighborhood yoga studio. Today I took the time to call two friends that have recently moved away. Having an actual conversation with them was so nourishing. I tend to shy away from talking on the phone, but I noticed that without that social media connection, a phone call suddenly seemed like a pleasant thing to do.
- My in-person classes. I teach meditation two or three times a week. Rather than view this as a job and sometimes even a chore, I’m going to use this time to remind myself that these classes are an opportunity to connect deeply with other people. Sometimes I wonder how careless we’ve become about meeting people knowing we can easily find them again on social media. If we thought this might be our last chance to see them, we might be more engaged.
- I’ve joined an online sobriety group that has weekly zoom meetings. It’s an opportunity to meet others on a similar path and find support and community. Pretty rad that we can do this across space and time.
- I am getting into nature. While not a human connection, this is still a very real-life connection. When I’m in the woods, I feel like I’m a part of something bigger. I feel plugged into a matrix, less a separate individual, and more part of a whole. I feel less lonely, even when I’m alone.
Alternative online platforms with manipulation-free connection
- Insight Timer. This is a free meditation app that has the charming feature of telling you how many people are meditating with you around the globe. You can even send someone a little message, “Thanks for meditating with me.” I record and upload meditations to the app and have had thousands of people listen. It’s a distance connection, but it’s still real and meaningful.
- The chat room for my online class. I’m teaching an online course, and have created a small group in Slack to facilitate discussion. Although this is technically work, there’s something beautiful about some of the things that people are posting. It feels more intimate than a Facebook group because it’s away from all the noise. When I get a notification from the group, I know exactly what it is. If I got a notification from Facebook or Instagram, it could be anything, and most of the time it’s meaningless, and just meant to pull me in.
- Medium. This is a big one! When I write on Medium, I know that the people that follow me are following me because they like my WORDS and my writing! And every single day I get great information and advice from other Medium writers. I love the community of this platform.
- Reading (books). I know it doesn’t seem like an obvious way to connect, but you are connecting with the author when you read. There is a human to human connection. It’s a magical and multidimensional connection.
- Pulling cards. I love to draw tarot and oracle cards. They bring me a connection with myself and with divine energy. For me, this is a fundamental way to feel less lonely and more connected. When I pull cards, I feel reassured and supported.
- Meditation. One of the very best ways to feel connected! It brings a pure connection to self and connection to Source, which are the same.
I view connectivity as anything that makes us feel less alone, and I’d love to hear some of your ways of connecting that are alternatives to social media!