On August 7, 2019 I decided to take 30 days off of social media. I am about halfway through this experiment and I have learned a lot from it and a lot about myself. I will be reporting throughout this experiment as I decide where social media fits or doesn’t fit into my life and into my business as a whole. After September 7th I will have made decisions on this and will keep you posted here on the blog.
I decided to do this 30 day experiment for many reasons, but the main one was to do a kind of “mental de-cluttering” I was feeling overwhelmed every time I was on social media. I felt the need to respond to all of the information and images coming at me, and it left me drained rather than energized. It left me always feeling behind, like I couldn’t catch up with everything there. I found that if I started my day on social media I would feel much more scatterbrained and unable to focus as much as I would like. I felt that I needed to make a major change by challenging myself to 30 days off of Facebook and Instagram.
I also know that I was addicted to checking social media too often. It gave me the illusion that I was connected to others in a real way. However, I notice that I feel much more connected to people that I know by direct messages with them, or best of all, in person meetings. I have remained in touch with my close friends and family in this way and I know in my heart that we are there for each other.
The first few days off social media were a bit disorienting. I felt a little bit lonely not checking in with what others I knew were doing through posts and pictures. However, I love what a dear friend of mine said that Facebook, Instagram, You Tube and all of the rest aren’t “real.” You can’t touch anything there or have a real connection with anyone like you can through direct communication, it’s especially not the same as meeting in person with someone to have coffee or lunch. Those are my most treasured times, when you can really communicate with someone. This quote by a colleague of Susan Dunbar (currently head of the Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford), Sue Fudge said it best:
"Although social media may seem like the perfect way to make and maintain friendships, this research shows that face-to-face interaction is essential for truly authentic relationships and that shares, selfies and 'likes' are no replacement for the bonding that takes place whilst sharing food, experiences and anecdotes.” —Sue Fudge
This is why I have ultimately felt much better off of social media and I am looking forward to the times that I meet my friends in person. We will have much more to chat about and really catch up on each other’s lives because I haven’t followed them on social media for such a long while. It’s kind of an experiment in making social time more special, more of a celebration rather than something that you just scroll through endlessly.
I have communicated through some direct messages and some emails with friends and I have found it refreshing to only communicate with one person at a time (unless there is a thread about a get-together or party). It really makes you focus on what matters rather than how many people commented on or liked something you posted out to a very large group on social media.
I actually have found myself taking fewer pictures, but fun pictures to remember events nonetheless because I know I will share some of them with friends in person, or make a photo album of them to remember fun times by.
The other benefit of being off social media is the freedom to explore other things in life. I have learned to make more delicious foods from recipes in actual books, I have daydreamed about and started to plan some trips and I actually bought paper maps to plot points to visit on our travels. I have spent much more time outside, and fun times with my son this summer. I also have learned how to make cappuccinos with our little espresso machine! Of course I have also really enjoyed de-cluttering different areas of our home even more.
So much fun and magic has come my way in these days! My plan right now is to just blog about my experiences here on my website which I can post to social media and to medium.com for a larger audience. That way I don’t need to be on social media to reach people and help them. This feels right to me so far and it is like I have started a new life over again. It is thrilling and I invite you to try it for yourself!
With lots of love,