July 24, 2015

Forty Before 40: That Time I Gave up Social Media

When I wrote my Forty before 40 list, I intinatlly decided that I was going to give up both the computer and the phone for six weeks.  And then I thought about it realized that I have, essentially, put my entire life on those two devices.

I don’t have a home phone anymore.

I don’t know ANYONE’S phone numbers even if I DID have a home phone (because I store them all in my mobile phone).

I’d have no way to keep to track of appointments because I load them all into my phone to remind me of them.

I wouldn’t have an alarm clock (I got rid of mine and use my phone).

I wouldn’t have a GPS (I use my phone).

Are you seeing a pattern here?

Now, obviously, I make the rules for this little experiment and could have given myself permission to carry my phone for GPS and phone calls, but that’s a slippery slope for me.  One night, in a fit of something, I grabbed my phone and decided to delete my social networking apps.  No Facebook, twitter, instragram, tappatalk, Good Reads or anything else I determined to be a social network.  I couldn’t give up my phone, really, but I could go on a social media diet and that’s what I did.

It was enlightening.

For the first few days, I’d get ahead as something facebook worthy would happen and I couldn’t share it.

I agreed that I could have two “hits” a day from Facebook, but I couldn’t use it for more than that.  Only twice was I disappointed to not be able to comment on something (once to make a suggestion and once to congratulate a friend whose daughter had finished chemotherapy). As the days passed, I found less and less that I needed to comment on and found I had less and less to say.

The Friday we left for vacation, my self imposed 5 weeks of social media diet ended, but I still find myself keeping some of those changes today.  I never downloaded twitter back onto my phone.  I never really use it.  I downloaded Facebook and Instragram and Good Reads, again, but I feel I use them differently now.

First off, I’ve stopped liking stuff.  Before, I justified this as letting someone know that I saw what they posted and that’s nice, but if it was something that was thought provoking in any way or elicited a feeling or emotion from me, I stopped liking and now I comment.  I don’t know if people I’m friends with notice a difference, but I feel like I’m doing more than being a voyeur into their lives, but am actually participating.

Second, I’ve stopped posting as much drivel.  Oh, sure, I still post a few things and I share pictures, but in thinking about the things I wanted to hear/see from people it’s enticed me to try and share more of those sorts of things.  I want to know what’s going with people’s kids and families.  I want to know if they’re on vacation or what fun things they’re doing over the summer (or in general).  I liked pictures.  But, I found that I don’t care about the rest and I assume that others feel that way about me, too.  It’s not a lack of caring on anyone’s part, but simply an understanding about how I want to connect to people and how I want people to connect to me.

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