I saved one great image from The Bullet Journal Method that illustrates using tools intentionally:
It suggests without space between a stimulus and an action, we’re going to react with snap judgement based on instincts like fear or anxiety.
Inserting a pause allows the chance to come up with a more constructive action.
Responding rather than reacting. Choosing to kick rather than twitching your leg when the doctor’s hammer strikes.
I wrestle with the easy reactions allowed by social media; the buttons where one click signals you’ve seen something or want others to see it.
Or the mental math about a Quote Tweet where you decide if you have anything constructive to add, whether your framing is necessary, or if the thing that you’re sharing deserves more eyeballs (because sometimes you’re reacting negatively to something).
These features ask you “How should I react?” instead of “What should I do?” or “What do I have to say?”
Social media content gets called a feed, as if it were just another blog or a rapidly updating news site, but the tools provided to interact with it treat it like an inbox.
Reply. Reply All (with tagging). Forward (share). Flag.
The design and prompts are there to make it feel like it’s your responsibility to wade through it all.
But there’s too much, because it’s not actually intended just for you.
That’s a thing about social media that’s hard to deal with right now while many of us crave social contact: It’s not all about you.
Your feed isn’t just for you. It’s a bunch of people screaming into the void, and you’ve chosen to stand nearby.
That’s why your email inbox lets you clear things out and social media doesn’t. Email is (supposedly) intended for you. You can’t delete or sort other people’s social media posts because they’re not your job.
It’s never too late for resolutions, and right now seems like a good time to reevaluate how (and if) to use social media.
I don’t intend to chuck it all, but I do want to make sure I remember what is and isn’t my job, and what tools are best for the work I must do.
Hopefully I can spend more time kicking at things that need to be kicked instead of twitching into space.