5 Lessons from My Week-Long Social Media Break

It’s my job to be attached to the internet. I get paid to mind other people’s businesses online and be all up into what’s happening in pop culture. Plus, I’m a child of generation social media so I am HYPER-connected. I’m active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ etc. etc. and being on those sites is closer to a reflex than a habit.

Last Sunday around 4pm, I was eLoitering when I suddenly felt the urge to just stop. Every other post/status/tweet I saw made me roll my eyes and it wasn’t like the content being posted was different in tone from any other day. Maybe I was just butthurt that my vacation to Puerto Rico was over or that the Beyoncé frenzy had reached a breaking point (plus that feminism debate was just UGH). Or the underbelly of Twitter had tapdanced on my very last nerves. Most importantly though, I felt drained by news, which is basically tragedy pr0n and I was still suffering from Outrage Fatigue Syndrome. Everything I was reading had me wanting to cuntpunt a plush teddy bear across traffic during rush hour. I just needed a break before I resorted to doing what Skyler White did, just yelling “SHUT UP SHUT UP!” over and over again.

shut up skyler gif

It was the perfect time to moonwalk out too. Scandal is done for the year, my blog is on semi-hiatus and it’s the holidays and I had only ONE work-related commitment (moderating the EDENBodyWorks Twitter chat. I logged into their account for the hour of the chat on Tuesday and that was it).

I immediately deleted the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest icons from my browser’s bookmarks bar. I then deleted all the social media apps from both my phones, including Instagram and Tumblr. And as far as Google+, well I hadn’t installed the app so… that wasn’t hard to ignore. I also stayed off YouTube. None of this was on some well-thought out “I WILL TAKE A SABBATICAL” piece nor was an announcement made. No need to talk about it when I could just BE about it. So I hit delete delete delete and logged off everything besides Gmail/Google Chat.

Delete Delete Delete gif

I challenged myself to stay off ALL of social media for one week. Only thing I would give myself access to was email. 7 days. Me, of the addiction to all things social and internet. I took it a step further and deleted BuzzFeed, Mashable and my RSS reader. I didn’t want to read blogs or news sites either. I was essentially shutting myself off from the world that I get 98% of my information from. I needed to crawl under a rock and stay there. I figured if something EXTRA important happened, like the zombie apocalypse, I’d find out somehow.

For once, I wanted to be completely out of the loop. I had to recharge and get everyone and everything’s foolishness out my headspace. I wanted to be still.

I did just that and it felt damb good. I took many naps, I watched a lot of TV and NetFlix, I woke up super late, I put my phone on silent, I ate a lot, I stayed in bed for entire days… Ok that sounds like heartbreak recovery rehab (and possibly the clinical sadz) but I promise it was awesomesauce.

Naps I Take That gif

Now I’m back, feeling lighter and rested. Last night, I re-installed my social media apps on both my phones, logged into Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter and caught up on my notifications. So I’m here so share with you the lessons I learned from this week long fast. I didn’t have any epiphanies or nothing but certain things were reinforced to a G.

1. It’s alright to miss stuff.

I’m a chronic sufferer of Nosy Neighbor Syndrome and have since I was young. I’d cry at when I was sent to bed because I didn’t wanna go to fall sleep in case I missed something (I was such a brat). Being perpetually logged into social media is the same. Not being on the grid for a week meant I missed EVERYTHING (and nothing). And that was perfectly fine. Because when I logged back in, everything looked the same. And the zombies didn’t take over the world. If they had, Afrobella woulda told me. She was my reporter of random tidbits I needed to know.  It is ok to miss stuff from time-to-time. Life goes on, even without my awesomely snarky tweets.

b. There’s no such thing as too much HGTV.

I watched A LOT of HGTV and I loved it. I’ve been a fan of HGTV for a while but I’ve never tuned in to the channel as much as I did this past week. No one should have this good of a time watching a TV channel about renovations and house-buying. I even saw the marathon of Buying and Selling with those hot twins. HEY BOOS! House Hunters is also awesome. I look forward to the day when I go shopping for a 2nd home with my husband and 2 kids, talmbout “Our budget is $775,000. We’d like 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, to be close to the ocean and near a nice school district.” And when we walk in the house, I’d say “There’s no crown molding. I think it’s a deal breaker. Also, the bathroom is lime green. That is so tacky.” It’ll be awesome. Income Property also goes hard in the paint. Don’t e’em get me started on my love for Love it or List It (the original one. I’m not here for “Love It or List It 2.” (-__-)

HGTV is worth paying for cable. I tells ya.

TV Watch All Day gif

Also, I had NO clue that kitchen renovations were so expensive. GOODNESS!!! Good cabinets are worth a small fortune. The more you know (*shooting star behind T-list celebrity*).

iii. It wasn’t as hard as I expected.

I surely thought by day 3, I’d be in the corner rocking #bagginfoaf saying “752” over and over again. But I was actually well-adjusted to it pretty quickly. Deleting the social media bookmarks from my browsers and the apps from my phone made this easier. I find myself scrolling through my newsfeeds listlessly because of the ease of access. So having the icons out of the way was key. It made all the difference. And I was surprised how quick I got used it.

4a. Silence is golden.

Sometimes, you just wanna tell everyone to STFU but sometimes, you also gotta STFU yourself. I didn’t take a vow of silence or nothing but being quiet is important. I’m comfortable being in my own head so this was a chance for me to really do that. SHOUTOUT TO INTROVERTS EVERYWHERE!!! Oh, yall ain’t know I’m an undercover Intro? Mmhmm!

IV. I want someone to create a pensieve.

When Albus Dumbledore introduced Harry Potter to the pensieve, I got all jealous because I wished one existed in real life so I could extract extra thoughts in my head with a wand for clarity. We all consume so much info ALLATAHM and for me, I was feeling all cluttered up. 7 days of very little external info coming in grounded me in a way that was awesome. Information overload is real and sometimes you just gotta hit the reset button. It’s like clearing your body’s browser cache.

Treat Yo self gif

So yes, the past week has been peaceful. Actually, the past 2 weeks (counting my vacay) has rocked because I’ve spent it being selfishly inaccessible and luxuriating in my own lazy. I feel recharged and refreshed. I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity too, because down time like this won’t be happening for me until AT LEAST April 2014. I’m getting my LIFE from it.

Sidenote but related: Last year, Baratunde took a month-long social media break and he wrote about it for Fast Company. Dope piece. 

What I’m taking away from it is just the reminder that I need to do this more often and more habitually. Unplugging is necessary, and it might not be a whole week, but there’s gotta be 1 day here or there where I do not check any of my social networks. It really does help clear the cobwebs from up top. That is self-care that I’m trying to afford myself more often. Self-care and a work-life balance are my ONLY resolutions for 2014.

There’ll be one more post from me in 2013 (the annual dumbest tweets list). But yes. HEY YALL!

audre lorde

Has anyone ever done a social media fast like this? How long was yours and how did you feel during and after? And ummm… I am afraid to ask what I missed but since I’m nosy, I’ll ask anyway. What did I miss?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nikki December 23, 2013, 7:11 am

    I feel you. I was on maternity leave for 3 months. I was barely on any social media websites. I was all about TV. I loved HGTV and ID channel. A break is definitely needed. Im glad you enjoyed it and got some much needed rest.

  • Tee December 23, 2013, 7:13 am
  • Me December 23, 2013, 7:16 am

    HGTV stays on in my home like it’s the clock on the microwave. I have nothing but pride from that fact. The Twin Sorcerers and the rest of the Canadians have entered my soul and I don’t care. Except for the young, sunny Love It or List It show. Fuck them. Love it or list it is supposed to be cold and dark and eternal winter with weird looking ass David and Hillary.

    Welcome back to you and to awesome giffage.

    • RavenJ December 23, 2013, 3:54 pm

      I’m with you on Love It or List It. I like the snark between Hillary and David. Not sure about those others. I wasn’t too happy when they changed the designer on Designed to Sell. I liked Lisa Laporta (spelling?)…

  • Afropickme December 23, 2013, 7:22 am

    HGTV is amazing. I discovered on Pinterest a House Hunter’s drinking game. Simply hilarious, it combines my two loves a strong drink and move in ready homes. Lol.

    • Afropickme December 23, 2013, 7:32 am

      I also did a Facebook fast while studying for the bar. Although I kept twitter I never post, just a lurker. Staying off of a Facebook last summer saved me from the Paula Dean debacle and Trayvon verdict. Raised in the South and people I went to HS with….getting off for 3 months was the best decision. It’s one thing for strangers to be racist but people you used to call friends. Ain’t nobody got time while trying to pass the bar (which I did!)

      • nichole December 23, 2013, 10:24 am

        Congratulations.

        I agree about seeing how your FB friends think. The 2008 Presidential election was a shining light which led me to hide a few friends and delete many more.

  • KathyMo December 23, 2013, 7:27 am

    I do it every three months during finals time. I’m a nursing student with an addiction to social media (Facebook is my drug of choice). FB is a portal to all sorts of things. I’ll scroll one thing, see something shiny (usually a Huff Post article or something from Cracked) then click on it, and the next thing I know so much time has passed and not one care plan has been started. It got to the point where I couldn’t focus on studying for exams, and those thangs are a BEAST, so I completely deleted my FB account. I hadn’t missed anything.

    I can’t think of anything you’ve missed, but I would like to know what you think about the whole Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty/anti-gay fiasco.

    Welcome back, Luvvie!

  • Vernetta R. Freeney December 23, 2013, 7:41 am

    I usually take one after Christmas for a week or two. I also try to schedule one in the summer. But what helps is not logging on social media on Sundays. I believe in self-care and vacations. Even if they are a staycation. Glad you got some rest.

  • LaShawn December 23, 2013, 7:41 am

    This is one of my resolutions for next year: to take social media breaks. As somone who is hopelessly addicted, I am going to sart with one day. On the weekend. And see how that goes. Then move up. LOL. But I’m going to do a trial starting tomorrow for Christmas. I really like the idea of deleting the social media apps on my phone. That’s what gets me in trouble! Glad you enjoyed your vacation! See you next year!

  • SarahD December 23, 2013, 7:56 am

    I’ve been in 2 living situations since my daughter was born with no internet and no caable and an un-smart hand me-down- phone. I still feel like Tarzan in the New World sometimes so I do unplug at least once a week. I turn the tv off too sometimes. I cook and stretch and take a lavendar epsom salt baff and clean. All in silence. Not every time. Sometimes I put some music on and boogie when I dont need the quiet so much. It’s pretty clutch. I encourage folks to do it often. It is exactly like emptying your cache. Letting your battery cool and restarting with some key operational updates for the bod. Thumbs up to this one.

  • Tiffany December 23, 2013, 8:02 am

    Yes! I love HGTV…and I get my fix of Property Brothers every Sunday. I’ve never thought of taking a social media break because like you, I’m so use to staying connected and being borderline nosy. It’s just lately, my Twitter timeline has been recycling the same debates and Facebook…well, dare I even go over into that territory. I’ll have to try this in the new year. I think I can manage 7 days.

  • shimira December 23, 2013, 8:18 am

    I sort of did this from Saturday afternoon until this morning. I got several major project that kick off at the beginning of the year and I needed to get my life. I had projects I completed still not filed my office looked like a disaster. Plus Thursday night I got notice I won a proposal that would have a large time commitment. I need to work it all out. I went as far as taking my laptop out of the office. I got many task marked off. I’m going to don’t again next weekend.

  • afrosaxon December 23, 2013, 8:19 am

    I left Facebook for two years. It was great.

    I’m only back on it now because of my new gig. In some ways it’s fun, re-reconnecting with old friends and classmates. OTOH, I once again realized how much time it will suck up if one is not careful, and the passive aggression of some folks (plus the extreme holy rolling of some in my TL) made me remember why I left it in the first place.

  • Brian December 23, 2013, 8:23 am

    I really felt this. I unplug sporadically every now and then. It’s a good thing because one needs to refresh. I found myself at the place you were a couple of months back.

    Good to see you back.

  • sure December 23, 2013, 8:28 am

    Anybody who pays attention to you knows you’re a Beyonce hater. More than likely you couldn’t refrain from criticizing her and didn’t want to deal with the backlash. Someone as addicted to the internet as you doesn’t take an unwarranted break.

    Also, these ads are tacky.

    • Chime December 23, 2013, 9:12 am

      BYE FELICIA.

    • nichole December 23, 2013, 10:26 am

      You’ve proven the point on why it’s good to take a break from social media sometimes.

    • Jabari January 4, 2014, 6:04 pm

      Girl/Boy/Person/Thing,

      Please pack your Dereon duffle and sashay away!!!!!!!!

  • DK December 23, 2013, 9:15 am

    I was off Twitter for a month last year. Sparingly looked at Facebook. It wasn’t to detox, I was just going thrOugh the pains of life and needed to figure a way out on my own. However, I almost lost out on a very good gig bc I was unreachable on Twitter (luckily they sent me a message on Facebook and that’s how the gig was won). So since then I’ve had to find a happy medium between not being on Twitter as much and still utilizing it for all the good it CAN do.

  • Merica December 23, 2013, 9:15 am

    I have for the first time smack dab in the middle of the summer. The first few days were like having coffee withdrawals but after a week it was an Isley brothers song nothing but smooth sailing! I effing enjoyed it and always felt that when folks suicided themselves on any social media it was due to some sort of drama or break up, but I definatly needed just a damn break and it felt great! Cutting off the outside world and reading actual books (not ones on my iPad) but the ones that make your purse an extra 5 pounds heavier was the best mind vacation I needed! I vowed to do this every year or twice a year!

  • Carter December 23, 2013, 9:20 am

    YES. So glad that you’re back!

  • Ella December 23, 2013, 9:53 am

    I get the feeling of missing something 🙂 My mom never let us miss school (I was sick for three days and the nurse kept sending me home. My my kept sending me back.). It has totally bled over to work and social media.

    However, the more you read about this one’s baby doing that, and the other one’s whatever, you do realize it is a perpetual loop. I’ve read so many pedophile stories I’m seriously thinking of seeing a shrink because my head is all fugged up.

    I’ve reduced my SM intake in ways by logging out of apps on my phone or stuff like that. Logging out so that if I’m in line at McD’s and trying to check something I at least have to ask myself, “Do you really need this right now?” Of course, I’m part of the #itcanwait, no texting campaign they had at #BWBNYC, too. That helps me not check emails whilst driving (almost no zombie apocolypses LOL).

    Glad you had a great time. Do do it more often!

  • RP14_96 December 23, 2013, 10:03 am

    Good for you!!!

    I have not taken a break yet, but I’m getting there! I’m so sick of these social media “scandals”. I realized that I don’t need to know the opinion of 5 to 10 people, that keep posting the same information in different ways!

  • Nichole December 23, 2013, 10:15 am

    I’m glad you had a social media fast but know you were missed.

    The longest I’ve gone is a day. I was flying from Vancouver to Dallas and didn’t have wi-fi and hadn’t updated my travel plan. It was helpful because I was focused on just traveling. Of course that was the same day it was reported that Katie Holmes filed for divorce.

    What you have explained about shitting out is similar to meditation. At least 10 minutes a day works wonders and can give the same type of clarity. I think it’s about slowing down and just taking a little time to ourselves. Yes for self-care.

  • nichole December 23, 2013, 10:20 am

    That’s supposed to be “shutting” not what auto-correct decided it should be.

  • milaxx December 23, 2013, 10:31 am

    I’ve only taken breaks when forced to because I was too sick. Once when I was in a coma & once when I was just too sick and on pain meds to do anything but lay in the bed. Otherwise I am plugged in.

    Speaking of Scandal, thanks to Shonda I discovered this UK show called Black Mirror & binged watched the entire series. Black Mirror is a suspense/soft sci-fi anthology series in the tradition of The Twilight Zone. The common thread that runs through all the episodes is that the stories revolve around various kinds of screens (the “Black Mirror” of the title) — computer monitors, TVs, smartphones. In the premiere, for instance, the plot is catalyzed by a YouTube clip of a kidnapped Princess Susannah (a Kate Middleton type) relaying her captor’s demand: that the Prime Minister do something extremely indecent, with a very undesirable partner, on live TV.
    It’s creepy, but I was hooked immediately. Like Twilight Zone it wasn’t fantasy sci fi like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. Everything starts out looking normal until the twist, and you don’t always see the twist right off. I you do watch, make sure to stick through the credits since they often add bits to the story in them.

  • Briana December 23, 2013, 11:01 am

    Welcome back! Like you said, nothing life changing happened while you were gone. And HGTV > Social media most of the time anyways. I’ve had a couple social media overdoses and unplugged here and there. There’s some days I don’t log on Twitter. There’s days where I just log on Facebook just to wish someone happy birthday and disappear. I haven’t done it for an extended period of time though. But I am totally with you on the rolling your eyes while scrolling aimlessly. Seems like even when you delete (love that gif by the way), some trash still manages to creep its way on your newsfeed or timeline. Let’s unplug more often!

  • Malcomisha X December 23, 2013, 11:25 am

    I’m so thankful Auntie Luvvie is OK! I admit to refreshing your homepage an unholy amount of times to check if you had posted anything new. Nonetheless I am glad you kicked back and ingested copius amounts of gbegiri because you deserve it!
    *throws patti labelles shoe*

  • Schat December 23, 2013, 12:15 pm

    I took a month off back in April. It felt foreign when I returned. I had to figure out what I did with my time before social media – I read more, and completed task I’d been avoiding… Since then, I’ll take a day off here and there – the urge to “know” isn’t as strong…

  • Sunny December 23, 2013, 12:42 pm

    I’m happy you enjoyed the time away – everyone needs that mental break from time to time. I don’t actually own a cellphone and I keep forgetting I even have a twitter account. I spend maybe an hour on tumblr. Facebook for maybe 2 hours. I am still trying to figure out how google+ works. I kind of live on pinterest.
    I regulate time with a timer. I actually sit and read the papers. Then I wander off and spend time playing with my son or doing crafty crap. Add on studing. It can be done everyday just need to figure out what works.

  • ZionsMama December 23, 2013, 1:03 pm

    i deleted my FB the week before Thanksgiving. That and Twitter. im just tired, Effie, im TIRED. Sometimes social media is too much. and i just felt like i was getting sucked into nothingness. everyone talkes abt the same things. the only thing i have currently is instagram cuz i LUH pictures. my goal is to stay off FB at least until after the new year, but im finding that the silence is awesome. and im not in the bed scrolling timelines until 1 in the morning. tha innanets is gonna eat us all up, yall. *sigh*

  • Bukky December 23, 2013, 1:04 pm

    The break from the interwebs and people can be so necessary! I’m also an introvert who is very social. I was home sick for a week in October and usually left my phone in my bedroom while I camped out in front of the TV. My Sorors visited me took check on me but one day I just told them all to let me have a few days cause i was overloaded by people. Food is my thing so I binge watch Food Network, Cooking Channel, PBS Create and started American Horror Story. Though I was sad I felt so recharged after that break. I’ve also learned to take at least one mental health day a month. I chill at home do laundry, buy groceries, cook and stay unplugged.

    Welcome back!

  • Hattie December 23, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Glad you’re back and I understand. I’m am about to take a much needed, if brief break from social media myself. It can be a time suck. The plan is to get off after this comment and stay off until January 5. Thank you for the message, Ms. Luuvie. Walter Mosley’s ‘When The Thrill is Gone’ is calling. PEACE.

  • Rashida December 23, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Yep! My social media fast was out of necessity. I went on a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas in August & I wasn’t trying to have any roaming fees so the sacrifice had to be made lol.

    Honestly, I didn’t even miss it. It was so nice to be off the grid for once.

  • Jabari December 23, 2013, 8:03 pm

    Hey Luvvie boo! I missed you but I understand that you needed some time to get away from people and their incessant stream of foolery.

    I may have to take your lead and cut myself off from the digital and social world for a while. I’d like to see how much work and relaxation I’m able to get done (hmmmmm….*interesting thought bubble)

    P.S. I feel like I may have seen you one day at that new DHS office up north but I wasn’t sure that was you and I didn’t want to give some strange person serial killer-stalker realness, especially not at my place of employment.

  • Michele December 23, 2013, 8:20 pm

    Sunday is my unplugged day, the computer stays off. Information overload is no joke, so it’s good to step away that there’s a whole world out there with sane non-trollish people.

    I’m all about House Hunters, though a lot of times it’s hate watching for me. OH MY GOD! WHITE APPLIANCES! THE KITCHEN MUST BE GUTTED! Like really, people? And don’t tell them that little Jaden and Ashleigh might have to share a bedroom. The horror. It would probably do my blood pressure a world of good to stop watching but I can’t help myself.

  • Dee December 23, 2013, 10:04 pm

    I also rediscovered hgtv this week and fell in love with love it or list and house hunters renovation. That’s what vacation will do to ya!

  • Tiffany December 24, 2013, 4:31 am

    If you spent a week off watching HGTV then you did what the universe needed you to do because I do it all the time! I am here for the Twins!

  • Effie December 24, 2013, 10:23 am

    You Got Your Life??!!! Well done. Carry on.

  • Donna Foreverserenity December 24, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Love HGTV! I think that is great and good to take a break. I did it recently from my main blog, but then had so many other things going on, I wish it was a total break! It was a bit scary at first because I am trying to build my
    readership and wondered if they would come back! For this holiday season, I am doing it again just until after Christmas. But still continue with my fabulouslycurvy fashion blog, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + and all! Luvvie girl, thevway you have been so busy, you needed that break!

  • rikyrah December 24, 2013, 9:52 pm

    I love HGTV.

    I love it. I love all the shows you mentioned. Also, don’t forget House Hunters International – going around the world on tv.

    I’m glad you got a break, Luvvie.

  • Christie December 25, 2013, 3:14 am

    You asked what you missed: R Kelly getting dragged on Twitter. Look up #AskRKelky and prepare to laugh your ass off.

  • jcanwisegrrl December 27, 2013, 3:18 pm

    YASSSS for HGTV!!! That’s my channel! I find myself missing some of the older stuff though, like Colour Splash with sexy-body David Bromstadt. I NEED him to decorate/renovate my future home and make me paintings for every room. He’s awesome. And Design on a Dime with Sabrina Soto. I remember she had this sexy carpenter named Ali Azhar. I mean he was BEAUTY-FUL! And also anything with John Gidding. *drools* Yeah, the before-and-after-jobs on the houses looked good too 🙂

  • leah222222 December 30, 2013, 7:59 am

    Yes.I unplug often. How often? Well I’m just getting around to reading your post. That’s how often. My brain caught fire when you mentioned HGTV. It is my portal to a world of colorful pillows and hunky carpenters. I’ll even take the not-so-hunky because nothing’s sexier to me than a man engrossed in physical labor. I love the Twins and Income Property Guy’s smile. And what is up with pink tile bathrooms? When was that a trend? Glad you enjoyed the unplug.

  • glamazini January 23, 2014, 12:49 am

    I’ve been doing a 1 day “screen fast” weekly since the beginning of the year. Basically anything with a screen I don’t touch (TV, phone, computers, tablets). I read, make phone calls, sleep and get stuff done around the house. I was inspired to do this since I went home over the holidays and, while in the B.V.I., had no TV or internet service, only my dad’s cell phone with no data plan and a radio. It turned out to be kinda awesome so I kept it up. Not sure how long I’ll go but right now I find myself reading more even on my non-fasting days.

  • kishaann April 3, 2014, 3:00 am

    In the beginning of the new year I did a 30 day social networking fast and a 2 week water fast. Meaning I only consumed water for those 2 weeks. Yea… Ikr!

  • Aponda Rose July 15, 2014, 11:01 am

    I once gave up TV for Lent. After a while, I didn’t even miss it. I ended up not plugging my TV back in for 18 months. It’s surprising how many “must haves” we end up not needing.

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