Writers, photographers, artists, and site owners recently shared their goals for the year: some challenged themselves to write more. To write honestly. And also, to allow themselves to fail. Others hoped to find a clearer focus for their blog or to deepen connections. The start of a new year is also a time to step back and reevaluate our online routines: to trim the fat from a bloated media diet or to focus more on the people and things that matter to you. So, we asked a handful of writers: what’s your digital diet in 2017?
Last year when I wanted to get physically healthier, I tracked the number of calories I was eating (using MyFitnessPal). It’s amazing how much less I ate when eating became intentional rather than a habit.
The same is true for cutting down on social media.
Snacking constantly throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook, bingeing especially in the evenings, was a habit. It was interfering with time in my day that should have been real downtime or rest (see Rest or Present over Perfect).
In 2017, I’m going to be more intentional in my work and rest: logging on to Twitter and Facebook only at set times, using lists and searching hashtags to intentionally catch up on the main people I want to follow, and subscribing to blogs I love (such as The Thesis Whisperer and View from a Hovel) so I’ll never miss a relevant post.
My digital diet in 2017? Lean and clean.
My digital menu seems to shrink with age. I’m only 25, but I can’t remember the last time a news site was among my bookmarks — big news always gets to you somehow, so no need to look for it.
The alarming thing about the digital menu in 2017 isn’t only its monstrous size, but also how it’s served. I’d rather serve words on paper or E Ink. Screens are getting a bit too bright, a bit too full of other things. Like ads.
I enjoy discovering new bloggers through WordPress Discover, but with a certain moderation. I’d rather read one post and think 10 minutes about a suitable comment, only to discover I have nothing to add, than to hurry to the next post.
I almost never use Facebook and Twitter and am proud of not being chained to them. But what I’m really proud of is my digital abstinence — I only go online in the afternoon and evening. Mornings are for writing, evenings for reading books.
And as for my smartphone, it’s hidden somewhere in the wardrobe, on mute. People still call sometimes. At the door.
Big news always gets to you somehow, so no need to look for it.
My social media diet for 2017 will probably go like any diet. I’ll start off with good intentions. I’ll set a schedule. I’ll sip my coffee while I read the news, scroll my feeds and check in with my writer friends and various groups, then log off when my cup is empty.
But then . . . I’ll get involved in an interesting conversation in a writer’s group. I’ll fall down the rabbit hole of a news story or political scandal. Time will evaporate and I’ll come up for air, feeling a little guilty and trying not to think about my lack of productivity.
Eventually, I’ll tire of the charade. The reality is that my time on social media ebbs and flows. Some weeks I’m unplugged completely. Weekends I’m typically offline. It all balances out in the end. I will try to strike a balance and find a happy middle. I won’t starve myself of the interactions and the enlightenment of never-ending information online.
I never did like diets.
Eventually, I’ll tire of the charade. The reality is that my time on social media ebbs and flows.
Like any good diet, my 2017 digital regimen will be a healthy balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Carbs often get a bad name, but they are necessary to fuel a curious mind. My digital carbs will consist of dense idea-laden texts, time-released through a steady drip of audiobooks and podcasts.
With all that mental-muscle flexing, protein will also be necessary for recovery. My digital protein will consist of meditation accompanied by the entrancing tones of binaural beats, and of course, a satisfying blend of personal-development audiobooks.
Lastly, we can’t forget the fat! My healthy digital fats will provide the nourishment necessary for a complete diet. This will consist of regularly checking the top trending YouTube videos to stay in touch with the latest memes, current events, and political blunders.
With this balanced diet, I look forward to making 2017 a great digital year!
Carbs often get a bad name, but they are necessary to fuel a curious mind.
This year will be one of digital change for me. I want to start living less on my phone and more in the real world — a little tough when you think about the fact I have a blog and also recently started a YouTube channel.
I also want to create more instead of consume. I regularly dive down internet rabbit holes and it’s hard to get out of them. Not just on WordPress — I’m really bad with forums as well. Sometimes I’ll read for hours and won’t even realize how much time went by.
This year will be a year of balance for me. Balance between my online life and my real life, but also a balance between my work life and my personal life. It’ll be tough, but it’ll be a year full of development and I’m really excited about it.
I also want to create more instead of consume.
I like online articles that examine social or artistic culture. Sometimes I crave highbrow essays from respected journals; often I can only handle random, funny lists. When I finally grow tired of words, I collect images of fine art or illustration and organize them onto boards. It’s one of the few things I do for pure enjoyment, without a greater agenda.
I used to put a lot of effort into Facebook status updates, which was my clue, about four years ago, that I needed a blog. Now I mostly use Facebook to see what people are talking about politically.
But I prefer to read printed books above all else. If a novel is contained inside an electronic device with access to the internet, it’s more difficult to keep the outside world at bay. And books seem to lose their soul a bit when they are put into digital form.
I prefer to read printed books above all else.
A few months ago, I realized that Facebook is the place where friends become strangers, while WordPress is the place where strangers become friends. As such, I’ve been spending more time creating content for my blog, in addition to reading and interacting with as many blogs as I can.
WordPress is where I get my daily dose of inspiration and insight into the lives of others around the world. I can’t get that anywhere else.
As far as other social media platforms are concerned — I rely on Twitter for news, witty one liners, and hot takes filled with exaggerated panic. It’s fun. Meanwhile, Instagram is where I view pictures that tell as many as 1000 words, or sometimes just one — “pizza.”
Between WordPress, Twitter, and Instagram, I have three meals a day; YouTube is my midnight snack.
That is my digital diet for 2017.
I realized that Facebook is the place where friends become strangers, while WordPress is the place where strangers become friends.
What’s your online routine in 2017?