So I did a social media fast

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I’ve only done a social media fast once before, about 3 years ago.

I can’t remember exactly what my restrictions were then, but I do remember not blogging or reading blogs was one of the big things.

This time I just had a sense that I needed to stop the noise for a bit and use that time to pray.

And then our church just finished a celebration week called #nationscalledtoprayer which inspired me to get going.

I chatted to a friend who agreed to do it with me but I would have gone the distance alone too (I’m an Upholder, remember?).

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Some of my self-imposed rules:

  • only allowed to post to Instagram and reply to my own posts’ comments
  • no random Facebook scrolling
  • I don’t do twitter or snapchat or any of those other things
  • no blogging – both posting and reading – I had two posts scheduled
  • no non-Christian podcasts
  • no fiction; only allowed to read the Bible and non-fiction Christian (more on this later)
  • email was allowed

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Here are some of the things I learned over the week:

  1. When I posted on Monday morning, I asked for prayer requests. As these came in, I wrote them down in my bullet journal and prayed over them faithfully every day. I’m still taking prayer requests and I won’t stop praying for your situations. I honestly felt privileged to pray and while prayer is not really my thing, I love praying for others. I prayed a lot for rain (it rained twice!).
  2. I’m a more engaged mother, wife, friend, colleague when I’m not seeing my phone blinking at me. No surprise.
  3. I read some hard bits in the Bible that spoke to some things I’m going through. I learned that I need to be unplugged to hear some things clearly.
  4. I have to leave my phone to charge outside my bedroom every single night (I’d got lazy over the months). It’s amazing how focussed you are with reading when there isn’t a blinking phone to distract you.
  5. By the same token, life is better when I leave my phone in my bag when at work. One day I worked from home, my computer was having trouble connecting to my work emails but my phone was working, so I was answering work emails on my phone. And if you saw comments or “accidental” likes on your posts, it probably happened that day 😮
  6. I loved checking in with my friend to encourage and be encouraged by her. We spoke twice last week, and whatsapped daily, and emailed a couple of times. All of this was great to keep us both on track and remind us both to stay focussed.
  7. It was hard for me to see my podcasts piling up……. but awesome to get up to date with my photos.
  8. There’s so much time without social media. Seriously, hours and hours in the evening. I practised my Spanish, cooked, ate, and then there were still 3 – 4 hours left before sleep.
  9. I felt like while I connected less on social media, I connected more fully when I did engage with people whether in person, on the telephone or even via whatsapp.
  10. I really need to be reading fiction. My usual routine is to start a book on a Thursday night, just enough to whet my appetite for my weekend reading. On Friday I could no longer resist and I started a book which felt all the sweeter because I hadn’t read any fiction for 4 whole days 🙂 To make up for my lapse, I made sure to finish my non-fiction book on the weekend.

That’s it.

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Will I do it again?

Undoubtedly. It was one of the most fun weeks I’ve had this year, a wonderful time of sharing with my friend and a great time of praying for other people.

In fact, I think I want to do something like this for a couple of days a month but

How might I change things?

Next time I will allow myself some fiction reading daily so I don’t binge when I start (I read that book in about 6 hours flat).

Have you ever done a social media fast? What were some of your restrictions?

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Comments

  1. Goodness did I need to see this post now. Thanks lady. I have just uninstalled twitter off my phone again – I reinstalled it to stay on top of news on campus about the fees stuff.

    I’d be very interested to see how you refashion the fast to do it more often. And come November there’ll be less blog posting happening from me because I will then have completed my post every day for a year challenge.

    • Good for you if twitter is a time suck.

      I want to experiment with perhaps doing a day a week, or a weekend a month, something like that. But I really like the idea of an extended period about once a quarter, even if just during the workweek, which is when I tend to indulge more. Somehow on the weekends I’m too busy living my real life 🙂

  2. Marleen says:

    A social media fast is refreshing indeed. It is such an eye opener how addictive it can become and yes, switching off from social media and TV, you hear God more clearly. I’m glad you did it.

  3. Jessica Maulid says:

    Hi Marcia

    Thank you for this review 🙂 Loved reading it and I loved how selfless you are to extend prayer to other people. This is something I am going to do once things have settled down on my side. Thank you for the inspiration. XX

    • Marcia Francois says:

      TWO days to the big day, Jessica!

      It’s not selfless, I think we are called to pray 🙂 And I enjoy it.

  4. Ooo… I love the idea of a fast… I am off social media a lot… it started as a discipline thing but has become much more a “I just can’t be too concerned about the big bad world,” and I am having too much fun with my kids to actually stop and pose everything, really. I started by taking a day off each week… and now it is two or three… I just love having evenings without screens, I get so much done and I feel my work online is better for it. Certainly I am much better for it… I have had the odd week or two off, but much as I love them, I always battle to get back into the swing of it afterwards… I do love blogging, but to my surprise extended breaks always make me wonder, “do I actually need to be doing this?” I don’t really want to think too hard about that, I am not ready to quit, but I don’t know that I will actually blog forever.

    • Marcia Francois says:

      I often think why am I blogging and it’s probably because of the feedback, but also I love having a place that I can refer people? Nail polish – I wrote a post. Organising your kitchen – yes, I wrote a post. Konmari – I wrote 20 posts. Fitbit/ Kindle, everything – it’s like marciapedia 🙂

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    idea regarding from this paragraph.

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