Since I first logged on to Myspace way back in the early 2000s, I have had a love/hate relationship with Social Media. I have quit and rejoined Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter multiple times. I was able to break free from Myspace and never look back, mostly because that’s what everyone else did. This blog has numerous entries discussing my horrible online habits, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t quit entirely, mostly because some of the groups I belong to in real and online life only post updates on Facebook. For example, the gym I belong to alerts people to class changes that way, and a large, online writing group where I have found numerous gigs exists only in that space as well. But, I have discovered is that I’m much healthier and happier when I limit my social media to 30 minutes or less per day.
Social media isn’t all bad. That’s what I have decided anyway. What’s bad is my (and I have heard from a lot of people with this problem) inability to stop scrolling, and the habit of reaching for my phone to log in anytime I have a few spare minutes. Over the past few months, I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the subject of social media addiction and habit breaking in general and a theme that comes up again and again, is that you have to retrain your brain. Every time you reach for the phone to log on, notice it and do something else. That made sense, but what could I fill the time with? I thought about it for a few weeks, during which time I broke a major knitting dry spell (like writers block, but knitting) and completed 3 hats, a pair of fingerless gloves, and cast on a sweater in less than 3 weeks. And, here’s what I noticed, when I’m knitting, I’m not online, because frankly, I can’t be — my hands are occupied and unavailable for scrolling. I had an AHA! moment, and Log Off Cast On was born.
The plan is this: whenever I (or you if you want to join in) find myself reaching for my phone to log on to social media, I will instead grab my knitting and knit a round or two, maybe more, maybe less, but the point is, knit instead of scroll. I will post progress on…you guessed it…Instagram with the hashtag #logoffcast on. Because my goal is not to completely stop using social media, it’s to use it more consciously and limit my usage. I have also set up a 30 minute per day limit on all my accounts. For me this is about moderation, not abstinence.
A few quick questions/answers:
Why knitting and not writing?
Because I can knit anywhere. A small project bag can fit in my purse and I can whip it out and knit a few rounds while waiting in the car, at swimming lessons, the doctor’s office (I do a lot of waiting). I can’t write in those places. Also, the sheer amount of knitting I was able to complete while not on social media over the last 3 weeks is astonishing, inspiring, and a bit horrifying. It’s powerful to see the knitwear projects pile up in a real, tangible way.
Do you have any suggestions for knitting patterns?
You bet! First, I would suggest signing up for Ravelry. It’s the biggest online community/database for knitters. You can find projects in all ability levels, sizes, etc. etc. I created a notebook with some projects I would like to complete in 2020, and you can check them out here. I’d say I’m an intermediate knitter.
I like this idea but I’m not a knitter. Can I still play?
Of course! Maybe you’d like to write, draw, sew, whatever! Do your thing! If you want to post it on social with the #logoffcaston tag, go ahead, I’m happy to reshare everyone’s projects.