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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?