A few days ago, I stumbled upon someone on Reddit (ironically) suggesting a Digital Detox December. Since I’ve been spending an increasing amount of time on social media recently, I was intrigued to try this. I also don’t think I ever tried a whole month of something like this.
Of course, such a challenge is very specific to the individual, and I’m not going 100% on all the things. In this post, I will outline the rules I’m setting for myself.
No Instagram for the whole month.1
No watching YouTube for the whole month, except for videos that my friends made and sent to me, or when I want to learn a specific thing and find a video for that.
No browsing Reddit for the whole month. However, I am adding an exception for episode discussion threads of anime that I’m currently watching.2
No Twitter, except for posting about new blog posts via the website.
I’m only adding Facebook because people will think “What about Facebook?” While I still have an account3, I don’t use it at all, so no change necessary.
Other Blogs/News (e.g. RSS)
Over the last few months, I started to slowly integrate RSS feeds into my life, especially for some technology blogs. While I will also not look at these, I’m planning to use RSS feeds in the future to get away from using some services directly so that I don’t fall into a rabbit hole (like on YouTube).
I talked about this with a friend yesterday. I have a small number of podcasts that I absolutely love, and I will continue to listen to those shows. I can literally count them on one hand: Connected, ATP, F**kface, Cortex, Hello Internet. The last two are on a very irregular schedule, so it’s three and a bit episodes per week.
Anime and Other Media
You may have read my post about watching too much anime. Well, I have realized that it is a little bit too much, but since we are approaching the end of the season, I will finish the anime that I’m currently watching. I will also start watching Attack on Titan since I am very excited about it (I think the first episode is coming out on Sunday). Also, I am watching some shows with my roommate which I will continue to do. Basically no change here.
I kept the hardest part for last. While I don’t strictly consider messaging as social media, I often catch myself obsessively opening my messaging apps when I’m on my phone. So I will implement two measures to deal with this:
- I will keep my two most used messengers, Signal and Telegram, on my phone, but I will disable all notifications and restrict usage of these to a certain time in the day. I enjoy our group chats and still want to participate in them, but I want to make sure not to check too often and to restrict the time I spend in those apps. Right now I’m thinking about 15 minutes in the late afternoon.
- I will move all other messengers (I have too many) to my old phone and check it only once a week.
I am hoping that this will be enough to not be out of touch, but at the same time keep me more focused in the moment. It’s hard for me to estimate how much time I spend in messaging apps since I used them on three different platforms, but restricting it to one platform (my phone) and to a certain time of day will definitely reduce that amount of time.
For me, this challenge is about unintentional use of my devices. If I plan to check my messages at a certain time, that’s completely fine. But since it feels like a lot of my phone usage is unintentional, I will completely cut off certain apps and heavily restrict others.
Anyone wants to join? ;)
Since I use Instagram as a messaging app as well, I will probably install the app “Threads” which is kind of like “Instagram Messenger.” ↩
It is possible to create RSS feeds for search queries on Reddit, so I will set up a system so that I get to the threads directly without having to browse r/anime for them. ↩
I was planning to delete the account in November, but I’m postponing this to early 2021 because I’ll need to go through my friend list and message a few people that I only have on Facebook. ↩