Adventure Bits and Bytes: Some notes on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Social Media

Several of my friends have dumped their Facebook accounts (including one of my favorite writers), some are snoozing on social media, at least until after the election, others are moving over to Instagram. (You couldn’t pay me enough to use Twitter or TikTok, but that’s another story.)

You may be wondering, “What does social media have to do with adventure?” Fair question. The short answer is several of the adventurers that inform and inspire me are on social media. Plus, there have been many destinations and events that I’ve found because of Facebook posts.

Let me emphasize that every minute spent on social media is time out of your day you’re never getting back. This is why I’m spending less time on Facebook and Instagram, but due to a variety of reasons, I’m not pulling the plug, at least not yet. There are, however, a few things I do to make my experience better and thought I might share them with you.

First, most of my social media consumption is done at my desk, not on my phone. This creates a space for viewing and developing content with the added benefit of letting me put boundaries on usage. (If you’re wondering how to upload Instagram photos from your laptop, here’s an article you might find useful.

As to Facebook. If you haven’t figured this out yet, Facebook isn’t your friend. As one person so aptly put it, “If you’re using a service and not paying for it, you are the product.” This doesn’t mean Facebook can’t be useful; it just needs to be modified. My favorite tool for making Facebook something I still want to use is Social Fixer. (

Think of Social Fixer as a spam filter for Facebook. It can hide sponsored posts (i.e., ads, though not always perfectly), auto-switches to the ‘Most Recent’ news feed (as opposed to ‘Top Stories’ where Facebook algorithms decide what to show you), has settings to hide political posts(!), lets you create custom filters for your news feed, and even has a Friend Manager that notifies you when someone no longer appears on your friend list. And it’s free. (Social Fixer has proven so useful that I happily sent the developers a donation.)

Social Fixer, used in conjunction with snoozing or unfollowing people who mostly share other user’s stuff without creating their own content, as well as reevaluating which people, groups, and organizations I want to follow, has allowed me to create a news feed I look forward to perusing.

Finally, YouTube. YouTube is a great resource. I’ve lost track of the number of times I wondered how to do something and found an instructional YouTube video that walked me through it. And there are a plethora of outdoor adventure videos on YouTube (and Vimeo) that will keep you entertained and inspired for the duration of a pandemic. Want to improve your outdoor skills? Go to YouTube. And if you’re interested in watching a Monty Python skit, there’s an official Monty Python YouTube Channel for that also.

The thing that annoys me most about YouTube (besides ads) is another video starts up immediately after the one I’m watching is over. Yes, I can turn off autoplay, but there is still a bunch of related videos on the left to tempt me to go down a digital rabbit hole and eat up an indeterminate amount of time. The fault here is admittedly mine. (I lack willpower.) But there is an easy solution: The DF YouTube (Distraction Free) extension. DF YouTube eliminates the temptation, and it has saved me untold hours.

There are plenty more hacks out there; these are the ones I’ve found most useful. The key takeaway is this: if you don’t make a conscious choice of what you want from social media, and take steps to tailor it to your needs, others will make the decision for you. Social media is there for your entertainment, education, and edification; however, it is not a substitute for getting outside and living life adventurously.

2 thoughts on “Adventure Bits and Bytes: Some notes on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Social Media

  1. Thank you for sharing , Wayne. I originally got on FB to keep in touch with my grown children and a few people I wanted to keep in touch with, who lived at a distance….you for one!


  2. Stacy Bradshaw

    Hi Wayne:

    We’ve been checking periodically to see how your health is progressing (by seeing if you are writing about any of your favorite adventures). Good to see your July post today. Makes my day.

    Camp Bradshaw is filled with one sabbatical counselor (who is gardening, reading books like some people consume bread, walking our adopted dog, and binge watching history docs, West Wing, nature pieces). One reluctant online Adjunct Faculty, teaching on 3 campuses for now instead of 4, teaching summer school, taking 120 hours of online certification classes to boost my skill sets in online pedagogy, recovering diabetic (fighting back), piece by piece feng shei to re-imagine the law office as a teaching studio.

    We took in a pandemic roommate, the 25 year old daughter of one of Vince’s friend who died. And her dog Mya, who has the same name as our Intercultural dog Maya who passed away last January. Go figure. Crystal got her Master’s degree last summer and is working (online) at her alma mater (Azusa Pacific University). She was itching to move out from her step mother’s supervision but who knows what the Pandemic portends for jobs and the economy. So I suggested she come here. We can love on her and her dog. She is chatty like Vince so they have lots of long talks while I sneak away to Zoom with my students studying Interpersonal Communication or the scariest subject for many Public Speaking.

    I have a few pictures from our recent anniversary trip to Twin Peaks – just a few days away by ourselves to celebrate 19 years of marriage.

    Give our love to Ruth. I hope you are on the mend. 🙂

    Stacy and Vince Bradshaw


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