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I Got Rid of My Social Media

Posted on October 2, 2018. Filed under: Facebook, personal, Social Media, Social Networking |

This is my story about my positive experience getting rid of social media and taking a big step back from technology in general.

It all started after I was part of a local summer festival. I was doing a lot of the behind the scenes tech work; the social media accounts, emails, scheduling etc. I was on my phone A LOT. I had even downloaded an app called Moment a week before, because I wanted to know just how much I was using it. Here are my stats for that week:

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Yep, you got it. The LEAST amount of time I was on my phone was 4 hours 31 minutes. Isn’t that gross? Yes, I was doing “work,” but I didn’t love what I saw. I decided that I needed a technology break. I was going to get off my social media accounts, try to use my phone much less, and have a breather.

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Time to Quit- Photo credit: Marco Verch via Flickr

So what happened? Well first off, I realized I had fallen into some BAD habits. I wouldn’t call it a full fledged addiction, but it could have been pretty close! For the first week, I clicked on my “social” category at least 5-6 times a day, only to realize that I had deleted the social media apps. I kept the Twitter app, as I am a teacher and I have a class account that I tweet from, but I deleted my personal account from the app so I wouldn’t be tempted to check it. Gone was my Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I decided to keep my Timehop app as it basically just brought up baby pictures of my daughter from the last two years which I love. I kept my Messenger app as I am part of some communities (like our small group from church) that only uses Messenger to communicate. I also kept my Pinterest app which I don’t use for social networking… More for the rare lesson plan idea. I am on Pinterest so minimally, I wasn’t worried about needing to delete it. But the goal was to not just be off those apps, but to be off my phone more period.

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This week marks one month since I’ve been off social media, and honestly, I am feeling great! I do not miss Facebook as much as I thought I would, even though I was spending quite a bit of time on there a day. I would mostly read articles that interested me, and then scroll scroll scroll through the newsfeed. I have quite a varied group of people on my Facebook, due to my desire to not surround myself with an echo chamber. See my post on that here. But I’m sorry to say friends, you guys just aren’t THAT interesting. Not enough to be spending the time I was on there, at least.

twitterThe craziest part is that I thought I would get off tech for a month and then go back on, but I’m not ready! I am going to slowly re-introduce my social media accounts back into my life. Yesterday I did re-add my personal Twitter account again. It’s funny to me that I missed Twitter the most. I don’t even know if “missed” is the right word. Maybe I felt like it was the most useful? My Twitter account is mostly for professional use, and I follow a lot of awesome teachers who share neat, encouraging ideas. Either way, it’s what I’m starting with.  Maybe next month, I will add something else back in, although I am getting used to being off of it…  Hmm, my life might just be changed forever!

Have you ever gone off grid? How did you like it? Anything you missed too much? Anything that changed the way you interact with your digital world? Leave a comment!

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Unfollowing Idiots

Posted on January 26, 2017. Filed under: Anti Oppressive Ed, digital citizenship, Eci834, educational, Facebook, Masters, online safety, Social Media, Social Networking, teaching and learning |

Ok, I apologize for using the term idiots. I guess I just need a catchy title that will grab attention and then we can start dealing with the issue at hand- what to do with those people on Facebook who annoy the crap out of you because of what they post!

 

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(No he doesn’t have an earring, it’s the lights behind him haha)

Meet Jon. Jon is my husband. Jon does not struggle with being a people pleaser, and he rarely cares about other’s approval. In fact, he frequently unfriends/unfollows people on his Facebook because he doesn’t like what they share/post. He doesn’t worry about his friend count, and if he hasn’t spoken to you for a while and you aren’t really friends, he will probably delete you.  It’s just the harsh reality of being a “Jon acquaintance” I guess.

While Jon is a little extreme in his Facebook decisions, I do remember having a conversation with some anti-oppressive educators about this very thing.  The advice we had been given in this anti-oppressive education class was that maybe it was time to ally with the oppressed by cutting out “friends” who would speak racist, sexist, classist things… online or face to face. This seemed like a good idea at the time as it was a small way to step out in activism. It was a way we could take a stand, put our foot down and say enough is enough!

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“Stop” photo credit: Brett Davis via Flickr

Well, I never did end up deleting anyone off of my Facebook, but there are a few people who have gotten close. The interesting thing about my life is that I am proud to say I have a VERY varied friend pool. I have anyone and everyone from the extreme left, to the extreme right, and many in between.  This was evident during Trump’s election. Even despite the algorithms Facebook sets up for you to show you what it thinks you want to see, I was blasted with both sides of the Trump debate.

Fast forward to last night where I saw an article shared that was blatant fear mongering.  Thank God someone called this person out for it as I was so close to just deleting the person. I went to bed and thought about if I should delete this person or not. I want to. I’ve wanted to for a few months now, but I couldn’t help but think of the echo chamber idea.

What’s an echo chamber you ask? Well Wired says an echo chamber is destroying democracy. Independent UK says social media echo chambers gifted Trump the presidency and the NY Times say that through echo chambers, most people are more likely to trust their social group than the news media. An echo chamber is basically surrounding yourself with people who amplify and reinforce your own ideas and beliefs.

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“Freed” photo credit: new alluminati via Flickr

I thought about what deleting this person off of Facebook would mean.  Sure, it would mean that I wouldn’t have to see some of their ridiculous posts anymore, but it would also mean that they wouldn’t be able to see any of mine. It would be limiting this person’s access to articles and ideas that are different than theirs.  I am lucky in that I have people from church, work, University, camp, friends, family members, among others who I dialogue with on Facebook. From what I know about this person, they are fairly isolated in their sphere of influence. Maybe I am one of the only people that will share something that challenges their thinking.

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“Critical thinking: Why our students need it” photo credit: open source.com via Flickr

Well, I could take a page out of Jon’s book and just unfollow them.  But all day I have been thinking about how that limits my own critical thinking. I clicked on the article this person posted yesterday.  I read through it and noticed there weren’t any references or any real facts. I was taking a critical look at this piece of writing and coming to my own conclusions. And truly, I am thankful for this opportunity. I am thankful that I have been taught critical thinking skills so that I can question something being put out there as truth. I believe this is an extremely valuable skill, especially for students, and we as teachers need to take this into consideration as we grant our students full access to the web.

So do you want to know what I did? I have decided to keep following this person. Endurance Marketing suggests 5 ways to eliminate your echo chamber and one of them is by continuing to follow people you’re not exactly friends with.  Another take away I got from their article is to get offline. How true is that! What are the chances people are going to get upset and storm out mid conversation when someone else says something they don’t agree with? The chances are slim.  People are much more likely to engage and hear another point of view when you are conversing face to face. They also suggest that being aware is the first step.

Are you aware of your bias? Am I aware of mine? Are you conscious of your social media echo chamber? Will you think twice before unfollowing the “idiot,” and will you think twice before only clicking on things you agree with.

Comment below with your thoughts! Are you guilty of living in an echo chamber?

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