My Minimalist Social Media Approach; How to Use Social Media Purposefully

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Social media is all the rage these days. Whether you’re on social media all of the time or have a minimalist social media approach, odds are you’re on at least one platform.

It is a great way to connect with loved ones who live in another state or country and share what is going well in our everyday lives. Social media can provide great value in these terms, but what happens when we allow it to overcome our entire lives?

I believe there are many pros and cons to social media. It isn’t all bad or all good. Social media is the very definition of a grey area.

This post was originally the creation of how minimalism ruins social media, but I think the better point and what I hope you gain from this post is to be more mindful of your use with social media.

What purpose are you giving social media in your life?

Before I help you answer that question, let’s discuss a few things, including:

  1. The problem with social media
  2. The benefits of social media
  3. My personal relationship with social media, what I’ve learned since adopting a minimalist social media approach, and how I define its purpose

Once we discuss these things, then I will share with you how you give social media purpose and how to reduce any overwhelm that may present itself.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a simpler approach to social media that supports your best life versus it controlling your life.

The problem with social media

I am the type of person that likes to get the bad news out of the way before getting to the good news. It helps me see things more clearly, and I hope this approach does the same for you.

1 // It is designed to be addicting

Experts have discovered that social media is more addicting than gambling. Developers do this so that you will stay on the platforms as long as possible.

They believe our best life is spent looking at what everyone else is doing with their lives and if we put it down for a minute, we are missing out on something.

2 // The consumption opportunities never end

Whether you’re scrolling through endless feeds or exploring new things, you’ll never reach the end of seeing a post or new suggestion.

While trying to connect with other like-minded people is great, there is a fine line with finding those connections and a never-ending list of connections. It makes me feel like I’ll never get to where I want to be because there are so many options.

3 // FOMO didn’t exist until highlight reels became a thing

The fear of missing out is something that has been blown out of proportion thanks to social media. If we don’t know what is happening in someone else’s life then we are missing out.

The truth is that the perception of FOMO is completely off. You are truly missing out on life if you spend all of your time on social media versus checking into social media to see what everyone else is doing.

The benefits of social media

Now that I’ve laid out what I believe are problems with social media, let’s go over the benefits social media provides.

1 // Connecting with like-minded people

It can be difficult to find people who truly get you that are local to you. Social media has done a great job of connecting us with other like-minded people all over the world.

We have the chance to see what other cultures are like without traveling because of this, which is pretty cool!

2 // Easier to stay connected with friends and family who aren’t local to you

I joined social media primarily to stay connected to my cousins who live in another state. It is a great way to share news one time for everyone to see it versus the old days of calling up people one by one to share the details.

The beauty of also sharing photos and videos is a great advancement with social media and technology in general.

3 // Opportunities to see different ways of living or creation ideas

I touched on this above, but to bring the point home, getting to see different cultures without traveling is really cool!

While I love the idea of traveling, I haven’t made much progress in taking action by visiting different countries. Getting to connect through social media is a way for me to experience these cultures, even if it isn’t a hands-on approach.

Another thing I love about social media is all of the different creative ideas being shared. While I don’t care if something is social media worthy, I do care about the ability to see different types of decorating styles, DIY projects, photo editing styles, etc.

The creativity that people share on social media is amazing!

My relationship with social media

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. For the most part, I’ve shared the basics of my beliefs.

However, I want to dive into how it personally affects me, so that you see how I cultivated my purpose with social media.

1 // I love connecting with like-minded people

I’ve found some of my favorite people on social media, and I’m forever grateful for that connection.

The Tannehill Homestead community is one that I appreciate and enjoy connecting with for many reasons, and we couldn’t do that without social media.

2 // I hate comparing my efforts to others

I’m very much introverted, and when I follow people on social media who are extroverted and love being on it, I compare myself to them.

It isn’t fair that I do this, but it is also human nature, especially when you aren’t purposeful with your time on social media.

3 // ‘Should’ing all over my idea of how I need to show up

Tying in my last point of the constant comparison, I feel like I have to show up so that people don’t forget who I am. Crazy right?

But it is true. As someone with an online business and message to share, I feel like I have to show up, even when there is nothing to say.

I’m literally telling myself how I should do things, even when they don’t feel right, and it is because of how social media has “trained” me to be.

When I give in to the things I should do versus what I want to do, I lose all my power, and I hate that.

4 // Finally, when I stepped back from it, I saw the bigger picture

My most recent social media detox opened my eyes to what social media was doing me.

I shared in an interview about how social media affected me and that I wasn’t okay with it.

Social media was in control of my life. I couldn’t go a few minutes without seeing what I had missed or sharing something I found motivational.

I spent about 1-3 hours per day on social media, which is a bit ridiculous. That is anywhere from 15-46 DAYS A YEAR on social media, which is way too much!

By taking a step back, I found control over social media so that I’m no longer wasting my life doing something that doesn’t help me achieve my goals.

Now when I’m on social media, it is for a specific purpose, whether that is to connect, look up something, or share something of value.

I also don’t access social media from my phone, which has cut down on my social media use almost entirely.

Lessons I learned when I adopted my idea of minimalist social media

  1. I can enjoy connecting with like-minded people
  2. I can unfollow those who make me feel less than
  3. If there isn’t purpose behind logging onto social media, I don’t need to log on
  4. Social media should be used on my own terms
  5. I don’t have to be on every platform all of the time. I can invest my efforts in just one platform.

How I find purpose in social media with my minimalist social media approach

Each platform has an individual purpose

When I realized that each social media platform has a purpose and should be treated as such, things changed. This allowed me to figure out where I wanted and didn’t want to spend my time.

With my purpose for each platform clearly defined, I don’t have to worry about setting strict time limits.

I set Instagram to 30 minutes and was notified each time I reached it. However, after a couple of weeks, it wasn’t necessary, because I wasn’t spending time on Instagram that long anymore.

Decreasing my time on social media was a natural progression because living in the present moment means more to me than being on social media.

Facebook

The primary reason I am on Facebook is for the groups. They are a way for me to connect for business reasons.

I also love sharing blog posts on my Facebook page to help anyone who is looking to live a simpler lifestyle.

Turning off the newsfeed was the best thing I ever did because I used to be the biggest victim of endless scrolling. I actually prefer to visit someone’s profile to see what they are up to.

Instagram

I loved Instagram when it first came out and thought it would be the Facebook replacement. Up until Instagram merged with Facebook, we’ve only seen people moving from one platform to another.

Having more than one platform to connect with others is still pretty new when considering how old the internet is.

Anyways, let’s get back to my purpose for Instagram.

I love sharing meaningful content on Instagram. It is how I discovered my love for photography.

It is the easiest platform to find other like-minded people, at least it is for me.

Even though I decided to quit Instagram for 2020, I think there is value within it.

Any other social media platform

I don’t really understand Twitter. Instagram took the need for Snapchat away with IG Stories, so I quit using it.

Anything outside of those like Vine or TicToc I haven’t really tried, because I honestly don’t want to consume my time with them.

Pinterest and YouTube are search engines, so you won’t find me discussing them here. If you’re curious as to how I use them, let me know in the comments.

What is a minimalist social media?

Minimalist social media is an approach to social media that is mindful and purposeful.

The time you spend on social media isn’t wasteful or unnecessary. It has meaning and purpose to you.

This looks completely different for every individual on the planet, so don’t put yourself into my bubble. How I find purpose in social media may look the complete opposite for you.

How do you define minimalist social media for yourself?

  1. Ask yourself how you currently use each social media platform.
  2. Evaluate each way you use it to determine if that is a good use of your time.
  3. Ask yourself how you would use social media if you had never used it before.
    1. Would it be more or less than the time you currently spend on it?
    2. Could you reduce how many platforms you’re on?
    3. Would you eliminate it altogether?
    4. How much time do you want to spend on social media each year? [This question really opened my eyes to my social media use.]
    5. Why do you enjoy social media?
    6. Why do you not enjoy social media?
  4. Determine which social media platforms you want to continue using and define their purpose.
  5. Set up boundaries to help you execute your version of minimalist social media.

From there, you want to test and observe your minimalist social media approach.

Check-in with yourself frequently to make sure you like the adjustments you’ve made or if something needs to be adjusted again.

This isn’t necessarily a one and done approach, because our values and beliefs continue to evolve over time.

How to reduce the overwhelm with social media

If you’re like me, social media can get overwhelming. It doesn’t matter how mindful or purposeful you are, there is going to come a time when you feel overwhelmed by it.

To reduce this overwhelm, I’ve come up with a few action steps for you.

1 // Declutter companies and brands you follow

The first place to start in reducing your overwhelm is definitely by decluttering which companies and brands you follow.

Most companies consistently push coupons or promotions to make you feel like you need to purchase something because it is “on-sale”.

I guarantee you that 99 out of 100 times you do not need whatever is being promoted, but you feel the urge because it is there in front of you and you do not want to miss out on a sale.

Decluttering the companies that consistently push sales or promotions will give you a big sigh of relief. The constant push of needing to purchase this or that will diminish greatly and your pocketbook will thank you!

2 // Declutter your “friends”

A few years ago, I had an abundance of “friends”. When I realized that I did not really know these people, the abundance of these “friends” overwhelmed me.

Decluttering people I did not really know was easy. It took some time, but I was able to reduce my 2,000 Facebook “friends” significantly.

I currently only have 460 friends less than 200 friends that are all friends and family that I enjoy connecting with on a regular basis.

Besides barely knowing someone, I did declutter people that only complain or post inappropriate things all the time. My goal is to have a friends list that is encouraging, fun, and personal.

Do you have a lot of “friends”?

If so, go through them and declutter those that you don’t really know or enjoy following.

Trust me! You will enjoy your feed much more when you care about who is posting.

3 // Unfollow people, pages, groups who do not align with your values.

Of course, not everyone you follow aligns with your values. However, if you are bothered by their message or the things they share each time they post, then maybe it is time to unfollow.

If you cannot remember the last time someone inspired you or made you feel something positive, it is time to unfollow them.

4 // Follow people who inspire you.

Another problem you may be having is that you are not following enough people that inspire you. I know this sounds counterproductive, but hear me out, please!

When you start your minimalism journey, you are more than likely not being influenced by many minimalists on your social media platforms.

Take some time and find some people who you think will inspire you on your journey.

If you see inspiring and motivational posts more often on your social media platforms, odds are you will enjoy the platform more.

5 // Schedule your time for social media.

Take control of the time you spend on social media. Give yourself specific times that you check social media.

You may be surprised to see how much time you gain back in your day.

6 // Take a break.

If you still feel overwhelmed with social media after taking action to reduce it, a break may be needed. Taking a break allows you to refresh and reset your mindset.

You may decide that you do not need to be on the social media platform at all or you want to declutter who you follow even more. Taking a step back allows you to gain a fresh perspective to determine exactly what you need.

Related Post: Why I’m Quitting Instagram for 2020

7 // Deactivate an account.

If you are decluttering who you follow and keep wondering what the point is on the social media platform, you may not need to be on it at all.

Most platforms give you 30 days to reactivate your account before it completely disappears, but double-check me on that.

Final Thoughts

I love minimalist social media. It helps me stay focused on my true priorities in life and keeps me from wasting time scrolling endless feeds.

Of course, you can just take my word for it and continue on with your day, but if you’re just a little discontent with how you use social media, I encourage you to put my advice into action.

Once you do evaluate what minimalist social media looks like for you, please come back and share it in the comments so that you can inspire others to do the same!

A minimalist social media approach helps you stop wasting your life away, because you aren't wasting your time comparing yourself to a highlight reel.

12 thoughts on “My Minimalist Social Media Approach; How to Use Social Media Purposefully”

  1. Love this post Erin! It honestly makes me sad that people are so consumed with social media nowadays. If it wasn’t for it being part of my job with blogging, I probably wouldn’t even have them because I think it brings a lot of unnecessary stress and can quickly turn into such a time/joy thief. Setting schedules always helps though!

    1. I agree with you, Cara! I’ve decided to put my focus more into my blog, and use social media as a visually creative exercise. So far, it is helping remove the stress and anxiety that bloggers can get consumed with at times.

  2. Love this post! I did this back in November. I deleted Instagram and allow myself to reinstall it on Fridays to check family and friends feeds, then delete is again when I checked. I had over 4,000 friends on Facebook and delete all of them except 100. If they weren’t close family, or friends I haven’t seen or talked to in the last 3 years I deleted them. I honestly don’t even care about checking on high school or college friends on my feed anymore. It feels like my phone rules my life a lot less

    1. Lauren, your comment inspired me to declutter my Facebook friends a bit more! I was able to declutter 100 more people that I no longer connect with that would not miss me. So thank you for the inspiration! 🙂 I also like the idea of uninstalling except for once a week to check up on everything. It definitely gives you freedom from your phone, and a better peace of mind.

  3. Right on Erin! When did we begin the popularity competition with friends following and opinions that no one cares about? I schedule my device time and leave lots of free space for mental health reasons.
    Love your comments and the down to earth copy.

    1. Thank you so much, Karen! That is great to hear! I think the new competition (not that we need any) should be how connected we are with the people we follow or are friends with on social media. Instead of having all of these acquaintances we compete with for nothing, we should put more focus into nurturing relationships that mean something to us.

  4. Thanks for the wonderful post. Erin. I did a declutter of my facebook friends some time ago and managed to reduce the feed to people that usually inspire me. And although I use control of the “scrolling” from time to time I found that leaving aside the device and social media engagement is really beneficial to the state of mind.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it, Borislav! Leaving technology behind can be so powerful. You never realize how much you are on your phone, wasting time, until you make it a priority to leave it inside while you go for a walk or work in the garden.

  5. As a practising minimalist, social media is a double edged sword for me. I review the value it offers on a personal level on a fairly regular basis, but as a set of communication mechanism for our business, the social media platforms I use are critical to getting my message out.

    I don’t really want to the scrolling through tweets and posts, but that is where I get a lot of inspiration to help others.

    I think you addressed it well in your article. Do what you need to do to give you value.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Paul! It can be difficult when social media has a purpose for you and your business. However, it is important to remain mindful of why you are using it and now allowing it to consume more time and energy than you can give.

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