For the season of Lent, I removed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from my phone. I also didn’t use those platforms on other devices or my computer. I did make an exception for a handful of scheduled posts and tweets related to some lecture and readings I gave.
I chose this particular fast with the hope that I would be more present in whatever I was doing, would be more attentive to those around me. Going into this fast I feared missing out on “important things.” As it turned out, however, my fear was unfounded.
As days and weeks passed, I didn’t really miss being on those platforms. Most importantly of all, I felt free from the constant comparison game that these platforms invite. I wasn’t prone to envy, and I didn’t experience large shifts in my self-esteem.
My mental life grew a lot less cluttered. My time on my phone declined substantially. I wrote more. I played piano more. I read more. My spiritual life was more focused.
With Lent over, for the first days that I added Facebook back on my phone (as well as used it on my tablet and my computer), I was overwhelmed by the amount of content. There were so many more ads than I remembered. I left each Facebook session drained and frustrated. I finally removed it.
I added back Instagram for only two or three days before I removed it. I didn’t post any pictures during that brief window; I merely liked a bunch of photos (from the photography accounts I follow).
Twitter was the one exception. I refined my lists, created new ones, and I found I could both use it and enjoy it. A list for literary magazines, a list for NBA-related accounts, a list of favorite publications. And so on.
Going forward, I still plan to use Facebook to promote my writing (via my author page). I’m not sure about Instagram. I’ll probably use Twitter more regularly. But I’ve tasted what life can be like without the steady streams of social media feeds, and I’ve found it to be better than I remembered. I want to live in that which is better for me.