My 2019 JOMO Social Media Challenge

There are many ways to reduce time on social media, from plans to the newly available time spent on your device (which maybe limited to only certain apps you can customize). I have come up with what I think is a rather simple, effective, and easily “measurable” method I know can work for me, while still be challenging since this is a challenge. Pending your “need” for social media, it may work for you as well, though you may need to do some “setting up” to help make it work.

For 2019, I’ll go at least one day per week, and at least one weekend per month, not checking into social media accounts, and not making up for it upon my return.

Short statement, but full of potential ambiguities if only for not having to present it as an essay. Before I unpack, it though, let me tell you why it would be beneficial to do this without much harm, though if you were a celebrity whose livelihood depends on quick response time to your social media presence, then this may be too much and would be a different story. I’m one of the regular human beings whose life doesn’t depend on my social media presence.

Why is this good

Why this is good is becoming increasingly obvious that I won’t spend too much talking about it. Many people are “addicted” to social media for all those micro-dopamine shots when they get a favourable response, or even just a response, to things they post. Many are also less happy seeing others’ curated lives as if it were one or several and seems better than their lives. Many spend a lot of time they should not on social media and getting very little positive return, if any, for it. They spend that time scouring due to what’s known as fear of missing out (FOMO).

Why this won’t hurt

I will miss out on some things while I’m not on social media, but how important are they? Inevitably, some things will be important, whereby set up direct means like text, calls, emails, etc. where people can reach you directly when you’re off social media, if you don’t have that already. I do. The other thing is if something were really that important, they’ll last over time so I’ll see posts about it again, like births, deaths, new jobs, etc. in some other follow-up capacity like more baby pictures, funeral plans, job start dates and excitement in statuses, etc. I won’t truly be missing out on anything really important. I won’t be that late for unsuspecting birthdays. Besides, you can look forward on Facebook calendars. As for last minute birthday plans, people can’t realistically expect you to drop their world for that, or they should at least message you if you were that important to them rather than just do a general broadcast on Facebook or Twitter.

Why this method is effective

I can plan the days and weekends when I do this, for starters, so I don’t plan for New Year’s or Christmas when lots of greetings are exchanged.

I can just forget about social media, or do so as much as possible, for an entire day or weekend, rather than trying to track or guess time spent on my phone to lower it and constantly worry about it.

It’s as easy as heck to track cause unless I get into a deficit, covered below, I can forget about my past performance. I won’t allow myself to bank days off social media for the future as I am trying to make this a habit, which requires consistent practice, rather than just a mathematical target.

Unpacking the commitment

Now, let’s look at the specifics of the portions of the commitment I made

For 2019, I’ll go at least one day per week, and at least one weekend per month, not checking into social media accounts, and not making up for it upon my return.

  •  At least one day per week – meaning that as literally as possible. “Day” here means what some call a “waking day”, which is a calendar day for me living a life with regular office hours for work. So not like 24 hours where maybe I stop at 9 pm tonight and check again at 9:01 tomorrow night. No. I go an entire calendar day without, and then some, so likely about a day and a half for each “day” since I won’t likely check past 10 or 11 PM, and not again till 8 AM or later past the day without. “At least one day per week” means to keep that as literally as possible, and not two months without doing this and then a full week offline cause I’m somewhere I can’t get Internet access, or won’t generally be allowed. The occasional exception, with make-up, can be allowed, as long as I account for at least 52-53 days without, via this commitment. I won’t let failure hang on a few slip-ups if the overall results can still be generally achieved close to the vision. I also won’t let myself “bank” dates for future weeks as explained above.
  • At least one weekend per month – meaning pretty much literally. I’ll count weekends as two day weekends, but if I do long weekends, I could count the extra weekend day as my weekly day off social media with this. I’ll allow for one slip-up, and make-up, on this. There are only 12 months in the year, after all, and if I were challenged to miss more than one, I won’t likely complete this. This portion of the commitment means at least 24 days off social media, making for a total of at least 76 total days off social media during the year. The weekend bit may be too much for some so you might try a version without the weekend commitment and just do the one day per week.
  • Check into social media accounts – the key words here are checking into. As long as I don’t have to check into a social media account to do what I do, it won’t count. Here are some examples of what counts, and what doesn’t, with the overarching theme being I’m trying to improve my life, not inconvenience it:
    • Reference usage not requiring sign in don’t count – I use YouTube for reference, like for learning how to do something, far more than for “social” reasons like to check or give comments or ratings, or to be entertained, for that matter. Same goes for specific links in articles, for YouTube, Instagram, etc. so as to “complete” the story I’m reading. I’ll be spending far more time reading the articles than on social media for access like that, which I am fine with as I’ll be spending far more time reading the stories than scouring social media.
    • Scheduled blog posts don’t count – I want to post a slew of poetry I have written in the past on my poetry blog (or posts like this when I have time to write them). So long as I batch that to work on it in dedicate time, scheduling postings daily, I won’t count that because I won’t have to sign into my WordPress to activate scheduled posts.
    • Direct messaging like emails, texts, Messenger don’t count – that is usually private one to one communications. It’s how people can get in touch with me with really important news or things needing an urgent response. I won’t read Facebook Stories with Messenger, though. You may need to clarify this to friends if you were going to try it, if they generally contact you directly on your Facebook Wall, Twitter, for things they might want to do in more private channels.
  • Not making up for it (time off social media) – this means when I do return to social media after the periods off mentioned above, I won’t scroll through stories and such until I see the last things I saw before leaving, making sure I didn’t miss out on anything. Part of the impact of this is to enjoy all the insignificant stuff you missed, to bask in the JOMO (joy of missing out).

Finally, for tracking this, I really only have to track any week where I don’t fulfill the regular commitments, to make up what I didn’t fulfill. Any periods where I have fulfilled the requirements can then be forgotten. Easy enough. It’s just the doing it that’ll be challenging.

If you succeed at doing this, there’s no reason you can try to keep it for future years. In fact, the number repetitions should be enough that should you complete this for 2019, it should be almost second nature to do so in 2020 and beyond!

Give it a try! Let me know how it goes if you do, and good luck if you try it!

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