This is a guest post by Matt Jennings from mattjennings.uk.
As a digital minimalist, is it possible to ‘do social media’ without the constant connectivity that apps like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and others enable? In this post, Matt is going to put forward the case that you can.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with social media. I love it for the fact that it provides a great platform for communicating, keeping in touch, and social marketing. I hate it for the fact it always invariably becomes a time sink.
No matter how hard I’ve tried in the past to manage my usage, I’d always end up getting sucked into continuous feeds, pretty pictures, and oh so addictive ‘likes’.
So, one day, I just stopped.
I stopped using social media because I was sick and tired of the constant battle with the attention economy. A fight that seemed increasingly impossible to win.
Now, I hardly give social media a second thought, it has no place on my Nokia 225 “dumb” phone, and so far, life couldn’t be better.
But what if, as a digital minimalist, it was possible to ‘do social media’ without the constant connectivity that apps like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and others enable?
What if you could approach social media with an intentionality that was cohesive with the digital minimalist movement?
If I were to reintroduce social media into my life as a digital minimalist, how would I do that?
Let’s find out.
A Social Media Solution for the Digital Minimalist
Using some clever tools and techniques, it is truly possible to be present on social media, without the need to have pings and notifications vibrating in your pocket 24/7.
Yes, you can own a dumb phone and be on social media.
As a digital minimalist wishing to partake in the world of social media, one of the first hurdles that needs to be overcome is capturing content.
For those digital minimalists that would never own a smartphone, what are the options?
The Return of the Digital Camera.
“A digital camera!? Are you mad!?” I can hear you all saying.
Maybe I am, but it seems like we have all forgotten that there is technology out there, that doesn’t have to be embedded into a smartphone.
Yes, the smartphone might produce better photos than some of the high tech pocket cameras out there, but for the sake of intentionality, I feel it’s a worthy trade-off.
As Cal Newport mentions in his book Digital Minimalism, to truly live a life of intentionality we need to get back to using our technology as single function devices, not many trick ponies.
They (digital minimalists) don’t accept the idea that offering some small benefit is justification for allowing an attention-gobbling service into their lives, and are instead interested in applying new technology in highly selective and intentional ways that yield big wins. Just as important: they’re comfortable missing out on everything else.”— Cal Newport
Let’s face it, whilst anyone can take a good photo with a smartphone, it takes skill to take a great photo on a digital camera.
The Sony VZ-1 has recently surpassed the Canon G7 X Mark III as the best vlogging camera around. For a pocket camera, it provides everything you need in a camera in a profile (almost) as small as a smart phone.
Next time you go out with friends, take a Nokia 225 and a Sony VZ-1 and you’ll be fully equipped for your content needs, without the distraction.
Nothing is Hipper than Toy Cameras
You know all those fancy instagram filters we all love? Well the Diana F+ camera by the Great Wall Plastic Factory was producing that kind of hipness in the sixties.
Shot on 120 film, the Diana produces dreamy, low-fi photos with light bleed and vignettes unique to each camera. As much as the digital revolution has tried, nothing can quiet replicate it.
Films can be digitized and upload to your favourite social media platform , without so much as even touching a digital camera. It’s a digital minimalist’s dream.
Next we will look at how to upload and post content intentionally, without the need for those pesky social apps that act like slot machines in our pockets.
The biggest annoyance for me when it comes to using social media, is that you need to be constantly connected to your phone for it to function intended.
It turns every social interaction into a popularity contest on who can take the most exciting photo or get the most likes at the time.
I hate it. Conversation is less engaging – because we’re not really listening.
Loomly Social Scheduling to the Rescue.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a solution where we could spend as little as an hour once a week uploading and scheduling content from the week for the week ahead?
We could regain control of our social media usage, share what’s been going on in our lives and once again bring a presence back to our real social interactions.
Thankfully, Loomly can help us achieve that.
Loomly allows you to automatically schedule and publish content for popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
With Loomly, you no longer need to post via a smartphone. Rather, once per week (or whatever scheduling intervals you choose) you could spend an hour uploading content for the week ahead, and then forget about it.
By scheduling content, you no longer have to be tied to your phone and you can finally enjoy experiences, rather than being constantly distracted by social media. You can still capture amazing content utilising one of the ideas mentioned above, and bring yourself back to the moment in an instant, without needing to worry about distracting captions, hashtags and filters.
There are many options available on the world wide web for automated scheduling, but so far I’ve liked the interface and post inspiration Loomly provides.
Finally, I’d like to recommend a couple of applications I use for ‘interfacing’ (for lack of a better word) with social platforms on a Mac, rather than a smartphone.
Flume allows you to once again be intentional with your Instagram use, rather than facing disruption that a smartphone app encourages. You can post content, manage DMs and explore content all from the Flume app, all conveniently accessed from the MacOS menu bar.
[Note: The Flume app has not been updated in over a year as per their website.]
For Twitter, I can recommend Tweetbot – an award winning Twitter client for Mac. This app provides a clean experience for engaging with content.
Unfortunately, you can’t post from Tweetbot, but if you manage your content with Loomly, there is no need.
For other social media platforms there are plenty of other clients available, and a quick Google search can provide you with some of the best options.
Hopefully this post has provided you some insight as to how to manage social media content as a digital minimalist.
As I have mentioned before, digital minimalism is about intentionality. Use technology so it serves you, and not the other way around.
By making a couple of tweaks as described above, social media can become something you control. By committing as little as an hour a week on posting content, you can still have a presence, without it taking over your life.
Matt is a Sales professional and Musician. He enjoys writing about nutrition, digital minimalism, productivity and sales. You can find Matt at mattjennings.uk.