Stepping Away From Social Media; The Risks, The Rewards…

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


I was chillin’

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 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. 😉

21 thoughts on “Stepping Away From Social Media; The Risks, The Rewards…”

  1. Call it what you want Mitch. You are an addict. What you need is a twelve step program to wean you away from this stressful addiction.

    1. Naw, I’m not an addict. If I’d planned to never come back and did then I’d be an addict. But I only planned for a week; that just makes me idealistic. lol

  2. Hey Mitch, welcome back 😉

    I did’t notice but then I’m not one to follow people much in the social media circles. Heck, I’m not even one for sharing stuff unless it’s my own. Probably why I don’t have all that many followers.

    Strange that you didn’t use that free time to be more productive. Then again you must be more like me than I originally thought. 😀

    1. Let’s not get insulting Sire. lol 😀 You know, I think I was just really tired after kind of a whirlwind at home but it’s strange that I didn’t sleep more even though I went to bed earlier. I guess one can’t change 4 decades of behavior in a week.

  3. Ah, a fellow sudoku lover! Can’t get enough of it!

    I do what you just did pretty much every week. I kind of have to remind myself to share and interact, otherwise I’ll be all up in my head trying to work out whatever fine mess I’ve managed to get myself into this time.

    Either way, welcome back, and I hope your new strategy works out for you.

    PS – you watch wrestling? I never would have thought that LOL. Guess I can’t really say anything since I watched “Gossip Girl” 😛

    1. John, you share lots of content on Twitter; I think only Adrienne shares more stuff than you, and that’s saying something. Still, we all can get into those patterns where we start spending too much time by ourselves; I’m in one of those patterns right now, but being out of town & only knowing one person doesn’t really give me many opportunities. lol I need to change that in some fashion when I’m back home for good. In the meantime I’m slowly working my way back into things; not overly doing any of it.

  4. I think, its more of a reward than a risk when you step away from social media. Just few years back, it is how we used to live. Isn’t it?

    1. It is Sonal, but I was an only child so I spent lots of time by myself. Social media gives me the opportunity to not be alone… when I decide I want it that way.

  5. I do something similar every so often. It’s a weird feeling not checking who is doing what and sharing interesting content; sometimes it’s become a mindless habit that is good to break.
    I also find it a good time to reassess why I blog and what I hope to share in the posts – to think more carefully about what’s really important to me.

  6. Mitch, I have a feeling that a lot of people are overwhelmed by the demands of blogging and other social media, and so they also have to periodically take a break. If no one noticed that you were gone, it may be because at least some of them were gone, too!

    Glad you’re back.

    1. That’s an interesting way of looking at things Charles. However, I tend to believe it’s more that there’s so much other stuff fighting for attention that it’s hard to miss someone you’re not very close to in many ways. I mean, we notice if our favorite TV show suddenly isn’t on but we might not be paying attention of the show before it or after it changes. Hmmm, might have to think about that one a bit more. lol

  7. Welcome Back,

    I hope you enjoyed your break. I have been on a sabbatical as well due to a move. It is really strange being away from the computer. Not posting reading article, or checking to see if my site was still in the cyber world was a bit unnerving. I am happy to be back and reading your wonderful blog. I hope you are having an incredible day.

    1. Thanks Cynthia. I needed that break but it seems there’s always something else going on so get in the way of the best made plans. I’m glad to feel rejuvenated enough to start writing again as well; lots more coming. 🙂

  8. Social media has already become Fashion of youth generation along with corporate world. So it is very hard to maintain reputation on those social media by posting updates or sharing own thoughts.

  9. That was nice adventure Mitch staying away from Social Media for many days when we feel uncomfortable even if we have stayed away from these just for an hour so..

    1. Thanks Prateek. You’re right about the hours comment, which is why I started just before going to bed and knowing that I’d be forced away from it while flying. It was a helpful boost.

  10. Please please delete your Facebook accout! I and several of my friends have committed facebook suicide and our lives have got much more exciting. Facebook forces people to think about trivial and banal things all the time and is only useful as a way of contacting people.

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