5 Lessons Learned During 5 Days Without Social Media

“Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”

That’s what the articles say, anyway (at least this one does). And I’m a believer.

iphone2

For the last five days I did not tweet, post, insta-, snapchat, or spyfu and I didn’t read those who do. In fact, I did not log into any social networks for five days, and I limited my use of the internet to checking email and reviewing resume submissions (both for work purposes). Why? Mostly to see if I could, and partially to ensure I’m not addicted to social media. Here’s what I learned:

  1. I’m way more attached to social media (particularly Twitter and LinkedIn) then I probably would have admitted.
    • This should’ve been expected, but it took me a full day to stop unconsciously reaching into my pocket during moments of spare downtime.
    • Additionally, I opened my various apps (out of habit) multiple times only to have to quickly close them down prior to content appearing.
  2. Personally, there are some strong benefits to putting down the iPhone.
    • I spent more time having verbal conversations with friends and family.
    • Instead of reading about the different hobbies I enjoy (Crossfit, sports, writing, etc.); I took the time to improve my performance in each of those areas.
    • I was able to spend an increased time in meditation and prayer. The Bible app became a frequent replacement for my favorite social networks.
  3. Professionally, there were a few benefits to abstaining from Social Media:
    • Travel time was utilized for brainstorming ideas and thinking of solutions to client issues.
    • This week left me with more time to read industry-materials (some of them regarding social media), then what is typically possible.
  4. News is much harder to obtain when not using Social Media.
    • I found myself craving to know what was going on, but not necessarily knowing the fastest way to procure news without access to Twitter. Also, my favorite industry experts and writers are folks I follow on LinkedIn and Twitter. Finding short-term replacements proved difficult.
    • I felt slightly out of the loop in conversation because of my lack of news access. In fact, one customer referenced the Ferguson story (which I’m now aware of);only to be dumbfounded at my ignorance of the situation.
  5. Genuine collaborative opportunities were lost (or at least paused) due to my absence.
    • I had a potential client reach out to me via Twitter, but had no knowledge of it until today (we’ll see what happens).
    • A friend asked me to promote a conference he is holding, and I had to tell him there would be a delay on any content (tweets coming soon).
    • A startup reached out to me to request an opinion on their social network. Unfortunately, I could not participate (until today and I am responding after I post this).

All in all, the experiment was a success in the sense that I completed it in it’s entirety, and that I’ve learned more about the way I communicate with others as result. My hope is that I’ll learn to facilitate communication in various ways that depend less on one medium, and that I’ll become a better listener to my friends, family, and business associates because of this challenge.

Who else has taken a fast from social media? What did you learn?

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