Digital Minimalism: How We’re Redefining Social Media

Do you ever read a blog post that resonates so much you feel like the author took the thoughts out of your head and put them onto paper for you?

That’s what I thought after reading Alice’s post at The Cosy Shelf called Digital Minimalism. I started a post of my own about how I removed all social media apps from my phone and my plan for deleting Facebook.


MINIMALISM IS THE ART OF KNOWING HOW MUCH IS JUST ENOUGH. DIGITAL MINIMALISM APPLIES THIS IDEA TO OUR PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY. IT’S THE KEY TO LIVING A FOCUSED LIFE IN AN INCREASINGLY NOISY WORLD.

Cal Newport

I’ve been on a quest to make my phone distraction free since I had my son last year. I didn’t realize how much of my time and attention it was taking up until it started interfering with the quality time I spent with my baby. Now he’s almost one and gets into everything, which means I have to keep an eye on him more than ever.

A few months ago, I took the plunge and uninstalled the Facebook app from my phone. At first, the muscle memory in my thumb kept going back to the spot where Facebook lived. After a couple days the urge to check it faded. I was one step closer to a distraction-free phone. Then, I read this piece about a man who has gone six years with a distraction-free phone. That was the final push I needed to delete Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest too.

I thought I would miss Instagram the most. I love sharing photos of my dog and making Instagram stories. In truth, I don’t miss the apps at all.
No one is crying out to me, “Lily, where did you go??” and I’m OK with that. Unfortunately, I’m still suckered into YouTube rabbit holes and checking Facebook on my laptop even though I know nothing new is there.

Mom, get off your phone and come play with me!

Both Alice and I discovered Cal Newport’s new book, Digitial Minimalism. Alice read it (it’s on my list). I listened to Newport’s interview on Art of Manliness. So, how exactly are we redefining the way we use social media? We take back the control. It’s about making social media work for us, not falling into the addictive traps that make us keep coming back to it.

How to redefine your social media use

Delete the apps from your phone.

The experts agree, taking social media off your phone is the first step to taking back control. Change your passwords so you aren’t tempted to check it on your phone’s browser.

You may have heard the statistic that the average American checks their phone 47 times per day (it goes up to 86 for 18-24 year olds). Apps have built in behaviors that make us keep coming back to them such as the “like” button and notification icons. Removing the apps will help us to feel like we can leave our phones behind to live in the moment.

Take a 30-day break from social media (or a week or a day)

Taking a break from social media will help you to determine which sites you can live without and which ones you’d like to still participate in. Scientists say it takes about 21 days to break a habit. However, I read in Adam Alter’s Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, that removing yourself from the situation can also help you to break the habit (this is where deleting social media from your phone comes in).

Stick to your principles

Is there a social media company that goes against your principles but your friends make you feel like you can’t leave? Give a heads up that you’ll be leaving the platform and give your friends alternate ways to stay in touch. I created a newsletter.

Newport recommends creating a blog or website, your own little space on the internet that no one else can dictate or control. Make it your own, be creative. You can make private websites or public. Many platforms like WordPress and Squarespace and drag and drop functionality so you don’t need to know how to code to make your own site.

More on Digital Minimalism

The Cosy Bookshelf: Digital Minimalism (+ my Facebook story)

Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Adam Alter’s Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked


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Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash