As you may know, I decided last week to take a weekend off of social media. In our Week in Review post, I wrote:
This weekend, I’m going to perform a little experiment. I’m going to take a two-day social media sabbatical—at 5 PM today, I’m going to delete Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Snapchat from my phone for 48 hours. (Just drafting that list tells me I am active on way too many social media platforms.) Like so many of us, I’ve become too dependent on social, not just to bring me news and photos and silly lenses, but to fill the moments of downtime that I should be savoring with my head up instead of bent to the screen. While I realize it’s only a short break, I’m hoping to garner some of the benefits described in this Fast Company article, especially time for “deep thinking” about nascent ideas that usually get pushed away by the latest cute photos of my nephew on Facebook. Wish me luck, and I’ll be back on the blog next week with a Quick Hit describing my success (or, let’s be honest, utter failure). Happy weekend!
After 48 hours without tweeting, posting, liking or sharing, I eased back into social media on Sunday evening and have a few thoughts to share:
- I didn’t delete all my social media apps, as I planned to do. I was honestly worried that I wouldn’t remember all of the log-in details, so instead I took them all from their usual spots on my very first home screen on my phone, put them all in a folder called NOT TILL MONDAY and moved them to the very last home screen.
- Muscle memory is hard to overcome. I am proud to say that I did not cheat on my social media sabbatical, but I will admit that Friday night was particularly challenging. As I sat on the sofa watching TV, I reached for the phone a number of times, just out of habit. It was a bit worrisome how quickly I turn to social media when whatever was on the TV screen lost my interest.
- I felt much calmer this weekend without social media. Instead of thinking something, deciding it was tweet-worthy, posting it, and then checking over and over again to see if others thought it was tweet-worthy, too, I just had thoughts and then let them go. It was similar to what you’re encouraged to do in a mindfulness exercise. And it felt good. I felt more mindful and more relaxed all weekend long.
- Things still happen even if they don’t happen on the internet. This weekend, I went for a run with a friend, sat on the roof deck and chatted with a neighbor, read two books, made some awesome pork carnitas, got my nails done, and took a long walk. All of these things were wonderful, even though none of them happened as far as the internet is concerned. I just did them, and enjoyed them, and didn’t once think of any of my activities as potential content. (Though I did take a picture of the carnitas to send to my mom because damn, they were good!)
- I already miss my social media sabbatical. I need to be active on Twitter for professional reasons, but I’m already thinking about how to make changes to the rest of my social media profile. I may ditch Snapchat, though the filters delight my nephew. I am also committed to breaking the habit of having Facebook open in a browser tab all day, every day. And I’m already looking forward to my next weekend off social media.