Stepping Away From Social Media; The Risks, The Rewards…
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 14, 2013
Last week I did another one of my experiments. After what turned into a draining holiday week I decided that I was going to step away from social media for a week just to see what would happen. I pretty much thought I knew what would happen on one front; absolutely nothing. I even made a video about it and popped it up on YouTube that I didn’t promote, figuring almost no one would watch it and thus it wouldn’t matter that I announced it somewhere, as it’s the only place I did announce it; that sucker only got 5 views and it got 2 thumbs up; not a bad ratio. lol
First let me qualify what I considered as social media during this time. It included Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram, Empire Avenue and Twitter. I didn’t respond to anyone from any of those platforms, and I didn’t even go look at those pages, although I admit it was tough initially. After all, I did get email from many of those sources, although I didn’t get a single thing directly to me on any of them; that was somewhat prophetic.
I also didn’t write a single blog post after Sunday, though I did respond to comments if I received any; I’d never disrespect anyone who took the time to comment on a blog post. So, even though I consider blogging to be a big part of social media, that was a courtesy call. But I didn’t read or comment on any other blogs during this time. The only deviation from totally disappearing was having a guest post on my financial blog go live during the week; nothing I could do about that one.
I did respond to email though, and I did go online to play chess against a couple of people on different sites, as well as going to Nationstates to play, since I don’t interact with anyone there. Thus, I didn’t abandon the internet; I even watched some YouTube videos. But I didn’t talk to anyone; overall, I was invisible.
The first thing I noticed was the craving come Sunday night. I stopped participating after midnight on Saturday, but I was on airplanes and in airports until close to 4PM and wasn’t in the hotel until around 4:45. Thus, I didn’t start missing anything until around 8PM, when I decided I was in for the night and wondered what the heck I was going to do with myself. The same for Monday night, except I had WWE wrestling to help me take my mind off that for awhile. lol
Otherwise, once the craving was gone I wasn’t really missing anything except Empire Avenue, which is a game but offers the opportunity to interact with people, thus my reason to stay away from it.
I got really comfortable with things and it took some pressure off… some that is, and I’ll come back to that. However, I still didn’t really know what to do with myself. I had hoped that I would be productive, write a lot of stuff, read a lot of stuff, etc. I didn’t do any of that. Instead, I played this sudoku game on my Nook, went to bed early, slept terribly because I wasn’t used to trying to sleep that early, and didn’t produce anything. What a major waste of time that was; and people say social media wastes time.
The second thing I noticed was that I felt more alone than I expected I would. Without having people online to talk to or interact with, and being out of town, I felt a little bit lonely. I did get to go out with the one friend I know living here Wednesday night but that was it. So, for the week I had to deal with cicadas, working out and hurting myself, and my food pictures on my own because I couldn’t share a thing.
And yet, I also felt a release of a certain type of pressure I hadn’t thought of before. The “need” to share certain things waned a bit. I didn’t share any news stories that intrigued me. I didn’t share pictures or links to anything that I enjoy doing. I was suddenly anonymous; I could do anything I wanted to, not read anything if I didn’t care to because I knew I wasn’t going to read with the intention of finding neat stuff to share with anyone.
I hadn’t thought about it before but participating in social media can be stressful. When it comes to blogging, even though I write fairly easily, the idea that I should be producing so much content to keep people visiting my blogs and websites is crushing when you step away from it. It’s amazing how much the traffic on my blogs and websites has dropped as I’ve slowed down on how much I’d been producing before I left town; amazing. I was always cognizant of having to do it and enjoying doing it, but seeing what I see… mind blowing.
Finally, the third thing I noticed is that no one noticed. I didn’t get any messages asking where I was or if anything was wrong. I didn’t see anything coming through the email stream noticing that anything had changed. Actually, when I finally reappeared, it wasn’t until late Saturday that someone actually said that he noticed I’d been quiet lately; one guy. lol
And yet, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might. So, when I was ready to end the experiment I wasn’t quite ready to end it, though I did. I started slowly, starting with Empire Avenue, doing a quick check on Twitter and Google Plus, and leaving Facebook for the next day. I also popped a couple of images up on Instagram; I love that program! lol
What my time away did was reinforce things I’ve talked about in the past about working on being fascinating, working on being more important and being seen as an expert and putting myself out there in more focused and distinct ways.
In the long run I have some goals and dreams to reach, and I can’t do it by being away. Thus, I’m going to be working on producing more and being more visible in a couple more places. I’m also going to be more circumspect in what I share of myself and from others because I want to maximize my time a bit more towards focusing on how I’m perceived; when I finally write my review on The Charge by Brendon Burchard, it’ll be understood better.
So I’m back, whether you missed me or not. And I’m not going away any time soon; I’m coming back in spades… whatever that really means. 😉