How to Stop Checking the Feeds (or Not)

But it feels so good... 
But it feels so good… 

As someone who posts a lot on social media, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to get out of the bad habit of checking on the number of likes, favorites, comments, retweets, replies, clicks etc. It’s a waste of time. But part of the obsession isn’t my fault.

Instagram’s heart/comment notification is designed to trigger dopamine. There’s a reason that button can’t be turned off. When you don’t see any interactions, you second guess yourself: Do my photos suck?

Meanwhile, Twitter is a different beast. I receive little engagement there so I check it less. Twitter posts also tend to be a bit more depressing than Instagram. I don’t want to hang out in a negative place when I can live vicariously through a National Geographic Instagram.

“When I have a few minutes to kill, and my phone is in front of me, I almost always reach for Instagram.” – Jason Fried

Logging into Facebook is a desultory experience. I don’t expect anything there other than seeing what my friends are up to. The other networks (Pinterest, VSCO, Tumblr, even Medium), I visit infrequently because they’re not as real-time.

My initial strategy for minimizing my social media obsession was to turn off all push notifications. But perhaps that’s what compels me to go back and check in so often. There are too many dull moments in the day when I want to just see what’s going on. Social media is a drug that’s hard to ignore. Like all things good and bad for you, finding that proper balance of being one and off is the biggest challenge.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.