Today would have been the first day of a 30-day social media break for me.
I’m more than two weeks into the break, though.
I did it sooner than planned because I was dared.
The Power of a Dare
I like a good dare. In my early 20s, I went vegetarian for years on a dare. One stormy night, I gave a homeless guy who was convinced he was Jesus and could cure sick people with his own brand of nanotechnology a ride to his destiny on a dare. I drank a tank of sea monkeys on a dare.
I’ve always found there to be a certain satisfaction, or at the very least a good story, on the other side of a dare.
So when friends dared me to take a social media break right away when I mentioned that I was just thinking about taking a break (it went up to a triple-dog dare in no time), I had to not only do it, but go bigger than just 30 days. Right now, the plan is to go 50 days.
Seeing that I’m writing even more than usual since starting the break, I’m toying with going 100 days.
Easier than I Expected
While I’m not addicted to my iPhone (I rarely send text messages and don’t talk on the phone much), I like having the Internet and all it offers in my pocket at all times. I like that I can discover a book on a morning break, buy the ebook, and start reading it right away. And yep–I like being able to see what friends are up to by checking Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
So I thought taking a break would be difficult. Once I removed all the apps from my phone and set the sites to not notify me as updates came through, though, it became easy.
The reflex to check social media sites has been replaced by the reflex to keep working. Just like it used to be.
I Triple-Dog Dare You
Since mentioning the 50-day social media break, some people have expressed interest in taking a break themselves…but they find it hard.
In a weird way, a dare is permission.
So I dare you…right now, turn off all your social media notifications. Post to all the social media accounts that take time away from writing that you’re taking September off. Remove the apps from your phone if your phone is your weakness like it was for me.
Then…log out of all the accounts.
I triple-dog dare you to take the leap! And bet that within a week into however long you decide to step away that you’ll see yourself being a more productive writer than when you’re checking Twitter several times an hour.
Cynthia Griffith says
I’m finally getting a little more sewing done during the break, but then again I have also been having health issues. I definitely need to ramp it up, but when I’ll really be needing to focus I’ll already be back to social media (I won’t go beyond Oct. 3rd…. I just don’t see skipping it completely for too long to be a good thing for me, personally although I definitely will be changing many things when I am back).
it’s been an interesting break, and I definitely see some big changes coming with how I use it. I highly recommend a break for anyone who is either confused about what they want from social media, or dissatisfied with it.
OK. Starting at noon today, no social media for me for 30 days. Meaning no G+ (my only social media) for 30 days.
I n‑tuple-dog dare you to make yours a 100-day social media break. 🙂
Christopher Gronlund says
Cynthia: Yep! When I eventually do back, I will totally change my social media habits. The break has really put into perspective what I miss and don’t miss. It will take some cutting, but when I go back I’ll definitely focus on just the things I like. (Although I still think, “I wonder if I can make it until after the 2012 elections?” I’m already so tired of hearing about politics…even the stuff I side with is so overwhelming. And social media sites puts it in front of me whether I want to see it or not.)
CMS: G+ is the only thing I miss.
An “N-tuple-dog” dare? I do believe I have to take that! That puts me coming back the week of Thanksgiving I think…
That puts me well into my favorite time of the year for writing 🙂
Cynthia Griffith says
Yeah, I wish you could filter things to ignore them like politics. If I use the desktop TweetDeck I can ignore things, but the minute I use the phone version (I haven’t updated to the newest TD yet) I am bombarded again by things I don’t want to read. I definitely wish I could ignore certain discussions on all social media that I want to avoid having to wade through.
As far as going longer, I won’t be doing it, so I’ll try my best to not mention one word of what’s going on. While the parts of social media I dislike are enough to make me want to never go back, the parts I do enjoy and even need are driving me a little crazy to miss out on. I desperately miss the information and conversation from historians and costumers that I finally found (having a self-hosted blog instead of joining the already existing communities like Blogger put me out of the way, so I was very alone for a while). While I don’t always have big conversations using social media like Twitter or FB (blogging is a better source of conversation for me), there are bits of information I am missing out on that are only available on those sites.
Cynthia Griffith says
(I meant, I won’t mention one word of social media stuff to you, Christopher… left that part out of my original reply. I don’t want to tempt or bother you with anything that I do see)
I really do hope I can find a way to enjoy it more, and I do think thinning out friend lists will be one step as well as using it differently, and less often.