The Social Dilemma: How are you making conscious decisions about your consumption?

Elsa Lee
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I'm sure by now we've all watched or at least heard about the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. We all have mixed opinions on our own personal use of social media and how we let it affect our lives. From what I've seen some think the points made in the documentary aren't new information - we've always known that social media is a money-making tool. On the other hand, numerous people are freaked out by the specific revelations in the film and have decided to reduce their screen time or delete apps entirely. In the past couple of weeks after watching it, I've sat down and re-analyzed exactly what impact social media sites have on my daily life. How much time do I spend on sites/apps? Which ones do I spend the most time on? Which hours out of my total consumption are actually necessary? I thought about taking a "cleanse" and whether or not I could do without social media for an extended period of time. This extreme approach didn't feel like a viable option to me, seeing as how I use these apps for work and to stay connected to friends and family. Social media is a great tool, but I did realize as a consumer I needed to make smarter decisions about the way I use them. When I started paying attention to my daily habits I noticed I wasn't very proud of some of them. I'd have several tabs open on my computer open that would distract me when I should be working. Notifications on my phone and computer would steal my focus constantly and I'd lose out on actual time to be productive trying to get my head back on track. I'd take my phone to the bathroom under the guise of "work" and find myself endlessly scrolling. I think social media in itself is an awesome invention and our world has changed immeasurably over the years because of it. But as individuals, we have a responsibility to ourselves to make conscious decisions about how we use the tools given to us. We don't have to completely get rid of our distractions but we can choose how we let them affect us. I've started setting screen time limits on my phone or even throwing it in a drawer until I finish a task, closing irrelevant tabs, and even using this app I discovered called Centered to block notifications and distractions on my computer while I work. I both loved and hated myself in the beginning when I started making these changes, but it's made a world of difference for me in terms of productivity and peace of mind (especially this year transitioning to working from home). It's up to us to hold ourselves accountable. How do you use social media and what impact does it have on your life?
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