I was too in to social media, so I decided I’d do a self-intervention by going cold-turkey–no Twitter and no Facebook at all for ten days. I deleted the apps from my iPhone, and wouldn’t check them online. Was I apprehensive? Sure. But I knew that I needed to do this because I was simply too connected to the online world. I felt drawn to check and to post something almost everyday. It felt like an unhealthy attachment, so I decided to do something about it.
The first few days, I noticed that I simply funneled my online energies to reading news. I wanted passive stimulation. Something in front of the eyes to distract, excite, or interest me. So I began reading quite a bit of news. This, of course, was not the point in my whole little experiment, so I decided to even limit my use of the computer over all.
Here’s what I learned from it.
1. I can survive without social media. Life went on. I was ok. My world did not collapse. When I logged back on everyone was still tweeting and sharing the same kind of stuff as before. In every sense of the world, I had not missed anything. This was important for me to realize because my issue was about being outside of the “information loop.” I wanted to know what was happening and be in the “know.”
2. Anything that becomes a passive habit can become dangerous. Social media had become a passive habit. I was doing it without thinking. During breaks or free time I’d pull out my phone to see what was going on. And,yes, (embarrassed) even during some red lights I’d occasionally open the Facebook or Twitter app. I’m convinced that it’s not about the kind of medium (tv, computer, books), but how we interact with the medium. I think that anything that we passively ingest can become dangerous.
Here’s what I changed as a result.
1. I deleted the Facebook app. After the 10 day fast I reinstalled the Twitter app, but kept the Facebook app off my phone. Now, if I want to check Facebook, I have to manually go to my computer and see what’s going on.
2. I found that I’m also less interested in social media overall. It’s true, I opened a Google+ account to check it out, but overall I’m much less interested in social media than I was before. I don’t have to log on everyday. I might not log on to Facebook for two or three days at a time, actually, and I’m ok with that.
So, overall, I’m really happy with my #techmastercleanse. It was just what I needed to help me make some changes.
[image by respontour]