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Aug 3, 2022·edited Aug 3, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

Instagram is my social media app of choice. I've never had notifications turned on but definitely resort to "checking" it whenever I'm bored. A few months ago, when my feed made me re-live the overturn of Roe v. Wade and absorb everyone's emotions about it every time I opened the app, I deleted the app from my phone so it wasn't an option for mindlessly scrolling.

I don't do well with 100% cold turkey approaches so I let myself check it on my laptop once or twice a day, but the desktop version feels much less frenetic without ads. I have since downloaded the app to share a Story here and there, but I always delete the app a day later, and more often than not I don't have it on my phone at any given time.

I don't know this is a sustainable way to live with Instagram in the long run, but this approach has helped me pay attention to how I use it and to consciously disconnect from it on a regular basis. If Instagram does go the way of TikTok then I'll definitely be deleting it.

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Yup when horrible shit happens, I find myself wanting to throw my phone into the toilet!

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Aug 3, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

I remove notifications and I use a different, text-based laucher (I have to type the name of the app to open it) instead of having the icon there calling me.

I also BLOCK A LOT OF PEOPLE. Annoying? Block. Rude? Block. Whiff of something not right? Block. Block. Block.

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Oooh this text-based launcher sounds intriguing!

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Yes the blocking and removing notifications!

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I actually wrote a post about this! https://kralex.substack.com/p/a-birthday-list

I forgot to include one of the worst things about both Meta platforms, which is seeing reels from ALL THESE RANDOM PEOPLE THAT I DID NOT ASK TO SEE. It's pretty annoying.

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Aug 4, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

Luckily I don’t need social media for work, so I was able to get rid of it completely, and I honestly feel so much better mentally for it. At a certain point, I realized that I was spending hours per day watching other people’s lives (many of them I didn’t even know personally, and why is that a thing?) and neglecting being present in my own life, which made me really sad. Combined with the fact that social media’s goal is to keep you addicted and profit off of your attention, it all began to feel so performative and icky. And all of my worst fears, that I would lose touch with people and be out of the loop, have not come true at all. I still keep in touch with my actual friends, and I’ve found various other, more fulfilling ways to stay informed (Substack!, etc.). Our brains are just not designed to absorb all that information from so many people at once the way we do on social media. I know the cold turkey approach does not work for everyone, but it’s really not as scary as it sounds! In fact, it’s wonderful!!

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I have been off of IG for the past couple of years, save for the occasional check in which I have set up on a weekly basis via my computer (Friday's seem to be the day of choice) at which point I update myself on the going-ons of a few people dear to my heart. I will make a post maybe once a month to update anyone who may be interested in big changes in my world (recently this has been a post about our family moving across the country). Other than those once a week, very brief check-ins.. I am off. And I have noticed a tremendous amount of meaningful changes in my life because of this decision. There are a few books that I found super interesting to read during my first few months off and some (not all) of their messages have helped me stay connected to what is actually meaningful and necessary in my life...

10 Reasons to Delete Your Social Media by Jason Lanier

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Selfie (How The West Became Self Obsessed) by Will Storr

This is such an interesting and totally necessary conversation to be having xo

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Ooooh these all sound so great! I also love the idea of taking a day off to connect with the people in your life!

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Aug 4, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

I got rid of Twitter and Facebook in 2020 because I was doomscrolling too much and hardly posted on those apps anymore. I almost never regret it, except I occasionally wonder if I should return to twitter for networking purposes. Instagram is my main platform, and I do post there and have a modest following associated with my hobby. I feel like I have a few nice relationships there and won't leave anytime soon, but gosh Instagram is boring lately. The reels I see are so formulaic and shallow, and the social justice outrage cycles feel flat and not productively action-oriented

But also, I'm genuinely loving TikTok right now?? I know I should be concerned about security and how it's using my data, etc. but my algorithm appears to be incredibly dialed in. I'm seeing a ton of super interesting, sincere, day-in-in-the life type content from people all over the world (some recent examples: an indigenous family in northern Canada, a woman navigating the shelter system in NYC, a Black American couple raising their toddler in Greece) and it feels like this delightful little portal into people's lives that I would never find otherwise, as well as a great way to learn about social movements from first-person sources.

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I'm an outreach librarian so social media is my job. For work, I just make it all about work. That is a hard boundary that is easy to follow. For my personal accounts, I always ask "does this make me happy right now?" if the answer is no, the account gets the boot. I also make it a point to block/pause/mute/whatever anything that is recommended to me that I do not directly follow. Essentially, I try to kill the algorithm. I don't do this every time I log on, but often enough that it really cleans up my feeds.

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Like many, I've turned off all notifications except texting apps. Twitter is the worst for me. I've curated my IG so mostly I only see good friends and cute animals (highly recommend!) and I mute ALL the time with no excuses. But twitter is what fills me with existential dread and also jealousy watching writers announce exciting things while I'm trying to break in to publishing. So I've taken it off my phone and have locked myself out of it for a 3 month break. I'm also trying to have one day a week where I turn my phone completely off or at least put it on do not disturb except for a select few people to call/text. But it's hard! I can't run my vaccuum without the app on my phone. Still, I'm finding the more separation I can have, the more I try to scroll with intention, the happier I am. It's an ongoing battle.

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I love love love this - and YES Twitter jealousy is so real. BEEN THERE.

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Aug 3, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

Twitter is the one that can really affect my mental health. I have to use it for work (I work in advocacy/politics) and it will cause me lots of anxiety if I am on it too much. I go long periods with taking the app off my phone and only using it during the workday. I turned off all notifications except texts and I really want to work on having better boundaries about leaving my phone somewhere at night or going for long stretches in the evening without it. It's been a hectic summer with work and when you work from home, it's hard to not to just continue checking things when I come downstairs to be with my kids. I love Instagram but do feel affected by the consumerism, I am here for tips about that!

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Ugh YES Twitter is my drug of choice for doom spiraling, and often, especially when various horrible things are happening, it can really fill me with an unproductive sense of hopelessness, you know?

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Aug 3, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

yes exactly! Or it makes me feel so existential - climate doom etc. Things I cannot do much about in my "real life" but end up taking up too much brain space for me.

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YES! There are also so many "democracy is dead and will be dead for the rest of our lifetime" absolutist statements that really knock the wind out of me.

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Aug 3, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

IG is my siren song but because looking at it during this dumpster fire of a year has really taken a toll on my mental health (my OBGYN has commented on it multiple times, so I guess it was worse than I thought), I put boundaries around it. I turn off access to it during the week and only allow access for one hour a day on weekends. I've found lately there will be weekends where I completely forget to look at it and when I do, I almost never reach the limit, so progress! I also started leaving my phone in the kitchen when I go to bed, and that has helped the late night/early morning phone checks.

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I'm so curious about the context in which your OBGYN brings it up! As general "wellbeing" advice or? I loooooove leaving my phone in the kitchen after 5ish or whatever. I still need to break myself of my "checking IG first thing on my computer habit" . . . .

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Aug 3, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

She always asks me how I'm doing, and every time she has asked this year, it's been directly following some terrible event and my answer is always, "not great" and I unload on her. She's great because she listens and cares about my mental health as much as my physical health. I like to think of her as an OBGYN/therapist combo. She relates to my struggles, gives good advice about protecting my mental health, and then prescribes Prozac.

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She sounds like THE DREAM.

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I work in social media for a living so I have to know what’s going on, but I limited my usage a lot. I have Twitter although I haven’t been active this year really, and have an Instagram and TikTok which I don’t post on, I just lurk. I think my favorite platform now is TikTok because it’s a completely anonymous platform for me.

Similar to others in the thread, I don’t have notifications on any of my social networks. I also limited my screen time for just 1.5 hours a day which has been helpful.

I want to try the OffScreen app though! I just heard someone mention it on a podcast and it seems super interesting.

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Aug 3, 2022Liked by Sara Petersen

It's the TinyBit Launcher but there are others too. It helps :) (but I like fiddling with settings and general nerdiness...)

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I 100% rely on social media (instagram) for current events and to keep up with friends/acquaintances. My following base is mostly friends and less celebrities/influencers. HOWEVER, I have fell victim of the suggested reels where they put influencers in your face but I tend to snap out of it pretty quickly! Also, my notifications are disabled and I don't have my instagram app on my home page so there's an extra step to click on the app -by the time I get there I ask myself what am I doing here in the first place?

I also am in several group chats with friends and that where most of my phone use comes from vs. social. I need to work on letting text messages sit/not feel the need to immediately respond as it's hard to keep up with what's going on presently (cooking dinner, working, playing with the kids etc).

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Toooootally. I love my text threads and would be lost without them but I can get pretty disconnected from the here and now because of them sometimes.

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My husband and I have set time limits on whatever apps are our kryptonite (IG for both, Reddit and twitter for him) and we hold the password for those limits - ie I have the password for his phone and he for mine. If we want extra time we have to ask each other, or go on desktop. I also mute liberally on IG and reject any content on my explore page that I feel weird about

I also have no notifications except for text and phone calls.

Love some of the suggestions in this thread will bring them into my routine for sure!

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This is SMART! External accountability!

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Oh my gosh I didn't even realize some of these hacks were possible! Like the making the screen black and white?!?! Revolutionary! All of the work you've put in (and thought) just emphasizes how fucking hard we have to fight against just being sucked into the never-ending scroll. I have totally done the "only social media on my computer" move, which I really enjoy. Somehow Twitter and Insta have found their way back onto my phone which I should prob change....

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