A Social (Media) Experiment

Question

What happens if I delete social media from my phone and set myself a time limit (20 minutes a day) to catch up on my Twitter/Instagram/Facebook feeds?

Research

On my lunch breaks at work, I tend to waste most of my hour on social media. Since I’m not exactly popular, it's not like I have seven billion notifications, but I can’t seem to take my eyes off of any of my social media feeds. Which means I don’t get anything else done because I’m “busy” scrolling through Twitter. 

Similarly, when I’m on my computer, the second I lose steam or hit a mental block, I automatically open Twitter in a new tab and waste more time than I care to admit. And then I feel anxious over the amount of stuff I’m not getting done. And to combat the anxiety, I open Twitter again, which, surprisingly, doesn't help.

Hypothesis

If I forcibly reduce my time on social media, will I get more work done and therefore feel less stressed out?

Experiment

  • I deleted the Facebook app from my phone (which was actually not that hard because I hate Facebook). 
  • I then logged out of my two Twitter accounts (three, if you include the Mind the Gap account), and my Instagram account. I have, however, kept the two apps on my phone, as they are both logged into the Geek Girl Riot accounts (though so far, I’ve only posted a couple of times on each).
  • I’ve also made use of the Chrome extension “StayFocusd”, (which I’ve actually been using for several years as a way to limit my time on sites that manage to reel me in with clickbait-y headlines and then make me feel stupid when I spiral down a rabbit hole that leads me to taking a quiz called “Which Emo Anthem Are You” after forty-five minutes...I’m looking at you, Buzzfeed). I’ve set a daily limit of twenty minutes for all three major social media sites (twenty minutes total), after which the sites are blocked and won’t be available to me again until the next day.

Procedure

  • During my break, instead of scrolling through my phone, I’ve been reading (ARCs that I requested from NetGalley and then forgot about) or writing (either posts for Mind the Gap or a variety of reviews for idobi). 
  • On my laptop, I tend to use my twenty allotted minutes up in one shot because apparently I have no self-control and don’t understand the concept of spacing it out over the course of a day. But then that means I don't have any distractions later!

Analysis

Since putting this experiment in place on February 5th, I have:

  • read two ebooks
  • written a review for one of those books
  • started an album review (while listening to the album)
  • edited both the book review and the album review
  • edited a post about 8123 Fest
  • wrote a very rough first draft of this post
  • plotted out a post on iZombie
  • and saved numerous Doctor Who gifs, but that's not really productive so much as entertaining

ALL ON MY PHONE WHILE SITTING IN THE LUNCH ROOM!

Conclusion

While I do feel like I “miss out” on every day events (I’ve come to rely on my sister for music news), I get A LOT of stuff done. It’s often hard to make myself focus, especially when surrounded by other people who are using their phones for “fun”, but it means that I have less to do during my “free” time and therefore I can actually read before bed instead of hunching over my laptop!

Oh, and I’ve saved SO MUCH data on my phone, it’s not even funny.