Why You Should Fast from Social Media Once a Week
I’ve done this for a couple of years now and I think you should too.
It’s not because you should put your phone down and talk to people. (Although you should)
It’s not because scrolling endlessly through other people’s highlight reels is depressing. (Although it is)
It’s not for religious reasons. (But that’s not a bad idea either for people of faith)
It’s because you deserve at least one day off from the Circle of Validation.
What’s the Circle of Validation?
I’m glad you asked. You have no doubt experienced it, you’ve just never put a name to it. The Circle of Validation is when you waste an entire evening by feeding your own ego.
You’re watching Project Runway and observe on Twitter, “This designer is so one-note.” or you’re watching a football game and Tweet, “My grandmother would have made that catch.”
Then you head over to Instagram. You posted a picture of your dog that is so darn cute you just had to look at it one more time. You couldn’t help but notice that your little doggie had earned just seven likes from your 250 followers. Hmm. Last picture you posted of little Fido got at least thirty likes. Maybe it was the light. Maybe you posted it when there were too many other cute doggies. Maybe more hashtags.
Pop on over to Facebook. Look at that news story. You’ve got insights so amazing it seems selfish to keep them to yourself. You type your pithy remark and sit back. You are immediately rewarded with two likes.
Let’s wander back over Twitter. You’ve gotten 10 likes and a couple retweets. You tap View Tweet Activity. Only 684 impressions. You should have used a hashtag. When will you learn?
Back to Instagram. You’re up to 15 likes. Still not many. Maybe you need more followers.
Back to Facebook. You’ve got a couple more likes and a laugh. What’s the laugh supposed to mean. You weren’t joking. Does that mean they agree or that what you said was stupid and laughable. There’s a comment. Wow. That seems unnecessary. Who is this dude? You click on his thumbnail and look at his page. He doesn’t seem like a jerk. Why would he call you all those names.
You head back over to Twitter.
But first you look at the clock.
It’s been three hours.
You work full time. You’ve got hobbies, a family and like to stay in shape.
You’ve just devoted three hours of your precious time to seeing if strangers like you, think you’re smart or talented.
The Circle of Validation.
Step out of it once a week.
Make your own rules. Find out what works for you. For me, it’s once a week. Sunday is the day I choose, but any day that works for you is fine. Maybe a couple of hours a day would work better.
I make exceptions for myself if I want to live tweet an event that falls on a Sunday or if I need to visit a few Facebook pages to plan my week. (In my case, I follow Copywriting, Playwriting and Bullet Journaling pages, for example) Experiment to see what works best for you, but it’s a slippery slope. You’re only fooling yourself when you backslide.
Now, if you are an influencer, marketer, or entrepreneur, you may need to take a different approach, but constantly refreshing your analytics pages isn’t healthy for you either. Schedule when you assess your results, just as you schedule your posts or you’ll never get anything done.
So do yourself a favor once a week and step out of the circle. See if you’re not calmer, more productive and maybe a little less stressed.
Let me know in the comments how it goes if you try it.