This is how my love-hate relationship with social media goes: I enjoy peering into the lives of my international friends and family members because it makes me feel more connected to them. But I despise seeing videos and advertisements from people and organizations I didn’t choose to follow, and I despise even more how well social networking applications entice me to watch videos of strangers.
After staring at a photo of an old friend in Hawaii and her pineapple trees for thirty minutes, I discovered that I had seen 50 movies of middle-aged women bobbing their heads to the same sampled and remixed cut of “Another One Bites the Dust.” Where had the last half-hour of my life gone, and why had I never seen my cousin’s most recent photo in all that time?
I knew I needed a change, but I didn’t want to completely abandon Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform.
I stumbled upon a technique that works wonders for limiting my social media activity while yet allowing me to receive a good fill. While there are other techniques to reduce social media usage, this is the most straightforward.
Delete the app and go to the mobile site instead.
It began a few years back when I realized I was spending more time on Twitter than I intended. As a result, I deleted the Twitter app from my phone to save money. It wasn’t so much about quitting Twitter as it was about quitting using it on the phone.
I found myself going in to the mobile website rather than reinstalling the app within a few days, which may sound like cheating, but you know what? There were considerably less distractions and features on the mobile site. I had a much better time with the simplified version. I’ve included some side-by-side screenshots below to demonstrate how different the experiences are.
I did the same thing on Instagram recently. Instead of using the app, I went to the mobile website and logged in. Again, the browser version is considerably more limited than the app, and I was only able to see what I had come to see and none of the other stuff.
App vs. Mobile Site
Many social networking sites, like Twitter and Instagram, offer limited mobile versions. On the one hand, this means you won’t be bothered with potential distractions like video and music auto-play. On the other hand, you won’t be able to perform everything in the apps that you’re used to. The photo editing capabilities, for example, are less reliable in the mobile internet versions.
Are you willing to forego a few luxuries in order to avoid distractions?
There are almost no pop-ups and no Twitter spaces
Every time you log in to the mobile website, you’ll receive a pop-up window asking if you’d rather use the app. Thank you, but no! You won’t see this pop-up again if you stay logged in. Pop-ups are far more common in the Twitter app, asking for permission to send notifications, highlighting new features, and so on.
There are no suggested reels, posts, or sponsored content available.
Suggested Reels are videos you didn’t sign up to see in the Instagram app. Suggests You may see postings from individuals you don’t follow by going to Posts. Sponsored Content, on the other hand, is nothing more than advertisements. None of them are available on the mobile internet version as of this writing.
What About Facebook, TikTok, and Other Social Media Platforms?
What about social media sites like TikTok, Facebook, and others? I deleted my Facebook account a few years ago, so I can’t speak to the current experience—though I recall being unable to access Messenger via the Facebook mobile site the last time I used it.
In terms of TikTok, I rarely use it, but a quick look at the mobile version of the site reveals that it’s very identical to the app, with just minor differences in features. I don’t use any other social media apps, but it’s likely that other app developers put more effort into optimizing official mobile apps and less effort into mobile webpages.
Minor But Valuable Restrictions
If you, like me, don’t want to give up social media but need to cut back, I highly recommend removing the applications and accessing your accounts through a browser instead. Both the mobile and desktop browser versions include many of the same limited features, but no (or few) advertisements or sponsored content.
In your Instagram Story creation tools, you won’t find Tips or “on this day” recollections. Image editing in general is also a mixed bag. But if all of this encourages you to put down your phone and spend less time on social media, it’s probably for the best.
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