At some point last autumn I did something, that was for me, quite radical. I deleted Twitter from my phone. I dislike Facebook and have never allowed it on my phone, I briefly had Instagram but quickly tired of people posing. Twitter though was, for me, different. It’s been my favoured social media network for years. It was a source of news, interesting images, facts, articles, comedy and conversation.
I’ve evaluated my use of social media before but if I’m being honest I didn’t follow through and make any substantial changes. But this time around I was growing increasingly unhappy with my habits.
I realised that when I wrote about a generation that needed to be rescued from smartphones, that I needed rescuing. When I wrote four reasons not to be a slave to technology, that I was a slave. When I read Andy Crouch’s The Tech-Wise Family that I was not being wise.
Tony Reinke offers a twelve step program to help you do a digital detox and number one on his list is ‘get real with social media’ and the second was ‘delete your buttons’. So in order to change how I used my phone, Twitter had to go (I’ve still got my account but I check it far less often on my computer).
What difference have I noted? Initially I found myself pulling my phone out to look at something because I was bored only to realise that I didn’t have anything to look at. No new email, no new articles to read, nothing. So I put my phone away. Now it comes out less.
I’m reading more articles. I’m writing more articles (despite the declining fortunes of the blog). I’m also watching a lot more film and TV and the next step is to transfer some of that time into reading more books. Which is a personal goal of mine.
I’ve done a few key things with my phone after deleting social media apps. I’ve started listening to more podcasts but mainly audiobooks. I’ve installed the SmarterTime app which allows me to see where I’m using my time and how I’m using my phone. I’ve returned the phone to mostly being a phone/organiser. I use it for messaging and for on the go contact and information. It’s still a great tool but as I’ve said countless times it’s a better servant than master.
I still think (and I’m fairly sure my wife would agree with me here) that it’s still a work in progress. I can get a bit chained to a screen but we all have to start somewhere.