Sounds dramatic, right?
(Or maybe you look at the headline and think, “Two weeks without social media? That's so EASY!” Shush you.)
Since I began blogging 5.5 years ago, social media (and my blog) have taken hold on my life. I've been an early adopter for most major networks and use them extensively. This past year I've been overwhelmed. Something had to give in my life as I balance wedding planning, a new job, and other priorities. Christmas break provided me ample time and opportunity to find out what life was like without social media. No blog. No Twitter. No Facebook. No statistic sites and no Klout. (The only pleasure I gave myself was Pinterest, as it's the only social media site I consider “personal” still.)
Four things I've learned from my social media “break”…
- The importance of what I post. there were many times during the break when I'd think, “ARGH! Why can't I share this on Facebook?” A few minutes later, I'd think, what does it matter if I share that? No one cares that I just did XYZ. In the two weeks I spent offline, I realized that what all of us share regularly? It's really not.that.important. Just extra “noise” in an already loud world. So think about what you're going to say, the impact it could make, and speak precisely.
- Social media doesn't have a huge impact on my site. As a mid-range site, my own personal tweets and updates don't have a sizable impact on my site's daily traffic. A well-placed tweet from a larger blogger may, but my own? Not so much. Stepping back from social media showed me that the effort I may put into Facebook and Twitter to promote my site may not have the payoff that I hope for. Stepping back and spending less time on them yields the same results. Your traffic may vary, but if you're putting a lot of time into it, with little payoff, maybe you should reconsider how to use your time.
- When to SHUT IT DOWN. I was the kind of girl to keep my email, Facebook, and Twitter open. All day, every day. Constantly running in my background. Since my ban? I don't keep them open and running all day. I pop in once or twice at night, and a few times throughout the work day. And my head feels a lot more free because of it.
- No one will notice you're gone….And the world still goes on. WHOA, whut?! The world… goes on. The ultimate existential crisis, right? If I don't get on Twitter, it keeps going? It does. People will still comment, visit, and move along through their days. Social media moves so quickly that if you stop for just a minute? Very few are going to notice because someone else is going to fill in that void with noise.
It's been only a few days since my ban ended, but I'm already feeling more free having completed this experiment. I feel more confident posting a few thoughtful posts, or engaged conversations out into the world and calling it a day.
How healthy is your relationship to social media? Have you ever put a self-imposed ban on yourself? And what was the impact? (Did you have a similar experience to me?)