I’m a big extrovert. I probably post on Facebook at least once a day. The average is about ten I think. As a blogger and social media freak when I told my friends I was taking a one month break I got deer-in-the-headlight looks. For some reason, I felt it was time to take a break and see what I could learn.
From July 1st through July 31st, I removed all social media in my life. G+ (including hangouts), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Foursquare, and even my own blogs. I setup a plug-in on my work and home laptop banning these sites and removed the apps from my phone. I still checked the news, used email, and the internet.
Here’s what I learned:
- I need to put away the phone before I go to bed. Besides the afternoon sleepies around 2-3pm (which are usually filled with scrolling through tumblr or taking buzzfeed quizzes) at night I found that without the stimulation of social media and I went to bed way early for the night and fell asleep quicker than normal.
- I don’t need to take my phone into the bathroom. Admit it. We all bring our phone into the bathroom and whip it out while on the pot. I’m sure this makes for disgusting black light pics of “what’s on your phone” but since I had no need to look at anything, I did my business and got the hell outta there.
- Social media apps take up a shit-ton of space. I removed all the apps on my phone which created a huge amount of space and the battery ran the whole day with no charging. So there’s that.
- I need distractions. Not having the distractions is… distracting. I’m usually a productive in the morning kinda person but mind starts to wander around 1/2pm and I didn’t have anything to distract me. For the first few days it was tough to get used to.
- I need to see peoples faces. The beauty of social media is being able to see pictures of friends, family, etc. Pictures of people is comforting. I saved pics of my FitBloggin friends in my phone and would periodically look at them just to see smiling faces.
- I am a collaborator. Sometimes social media can be like an informal poll among friends. “What should I wear tonight?” “How does everyone feel about the recent law change?” etc. I couldn’t know others opinion, or what the general consensus was. Kind of annoying.
- It makes social life easier. It sucked trying to have get-to-gethers or plans with friends without being able to mass invite/group invite people to an event. I couldn’t broadcast or promote something that I was attending. At one point I had to use archaic e-mail to coordinate things. Ugh.
- People suck at relaying information. Social media does make communication easier. I had to rely on others to keep me updated on birthdays, events, what was going on in the (pop culture) news. It takes away the blame of “No one ever told me!” and I really hate relying on others to deliver information.
- I can be a better listener. I hate this one because it’s so typical in these types of lists, but I couldn't deny how it felt. People really don’t realize how little they look at another person and how little they listen while they have phone-face. Maybe we’re a world of multi-taskers, but people pull out their phones and end up focusing on something else (and even sometimes interrupting the conversation completely). Sometimes I did notice that everyone looks at their phone while conversing. I would ask myself “Is it rude?”...”Am I offended?” Or just the new norm? I realized that the phone can be a distraction from listening fully. I found those who had phone-face didn’t hear what I just said, and I would have to repeat it. I think I’ve done that many times to others, and that needs to stop.
- There’s never enough time in the day. You would think I had more time… but you’d be wrong. Somehow my day was still filled with work, activities, social stuff, etc. I never had extra time. It makes me wonder how I do fit social media time into my day.
- I need a place to vent. During the break there was no outlet when I was upset. Many times my frustration didn’t warrant sending out a group text or group email, which meant that I internalized it and didn’t have a method to share my anger.
- People missed me. I got plenty of texts, emails, etc. from friends and family who would “check in on me.” People don’t forget about you. And those that really want to see/talk to you, do. I’m very grateful to those who reached out to “check in” on me. You know who you are.
- I need to take more pictures. On facebook, twitter, instragram, etc. I’m a selfie, picture-taking queen… but when I took my hiatus I barely used my camera. Was it because I couldn’t share it with others? Did I have less meaningful experiences? Or do I only take pictures so that I can post them? Regardless, it’s made me realize that I need to take more pictures to capture the moment.
- I have issues dealing with loneliness. Maybe it’s selfish… or maybe, being self-aware. But most of the time I want to be around other people and I hate being alone. I get lonely very often. Without social media that feeling happened frequently.
- I need social media, but I don’t need social media. In many of my texts/emails from friends everyone kept asking me if I’m having withdrawals. The whole experience wasn’t this eye-opening, jaw-dropping, life-changing event. I’m totally “meh” about it. It was interesting to learn some things, but it wasn’t monumental. In fact I completely forgot when it was over ...until later that morning.
Life will go on. It only took me an hour to get caught up with my messages, tweets, etc. So there wasn’t much that I missed. Every once and a while I’ll catch a post in my feed and find out that friend is pregnant or missed a birthday. In all, not much was missed.
Maybe you were hoping for this huge realization and a post stating how evil social media is and how addicted we are. How cliche. And maybe the last part is true. But, social media makes things easier. Weighing the pros and cons of it, I’m a fan. Social media’s part of our culture, America. I feel like it’s a great way to connect, communicate, and interact. Are there some things that could be better? Sure, and I’ll work on those… just as soon as I’m done posting this hilarious gif of a cat riding a roomba while wearing a shark costume...