There were less than 50 days in 2,190 days (six years) that I didn’t check a social media website. Just typing that is a bit shocking.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve lived, eaten, and breathed social media since October 2008. Social media websites have been instrumental in my businesses and in helping define my identity.
There’s no denying I wouldn’t have been able to do the things I’ve done in my short entrepreneurial career without Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
But I also know the downside of the current state of social media. These platforms are a breeding ground for negativity and distraction from real life. Even with doing some heavy curating of my Twitter account and swinging the Hide From News Feed Hammer on Facebook, I couldn’t escape the random political rant, the addiction to vanity metrics (likes, RTs, favorites, follower counts, etc), or the dab of social media makeup to pretend life is perfect. And I’m certainly guilty of the last two items.
(when was the last time you had a moment like this without social media? yeah, me too…)
For the first time since 2008, I cut myself off from social media* for a month.
How did I do this without cheating? Luckily, there was an app for that.
- I used the SelfControl app. In essence, you type in websites you want to block and the time for which you want to block them, and you cannot access them. It’s a genius-ly cruel app that I was excited to put to the test.
- I turned off all notifications from Twitter and Facebook (phone and email).
- I deleted the Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Google+, and Timehop apps from my phone.
*I’m not counting email as social media, I still used email.
You may be wondering why? Why do I want to detox myself from social media?
One reason is that I used social media as a crutch. When I was afraid to work on something hard or challenging, I’d escape to checking tweets and my FB feed. Even while writing this article I felt the urge to check the little red notifications on my social media sites. I knew I was addicted to social media and I wasn’t afraid to admit it. I just choose to do something about it.
The second reason is that I’ve become very cynical of other people. I’ll see a fellow Internet Marketer pop up in my feed promoting a product or service and feel jealousy or anger towards them. I try to preach putting more positivity out into the world, but every time I check a feed of updates, I felt negativity creeping in.
I was hopeful a 30-day detox from social media would help me get more focused on a few bigger projects.
What took the place of social media for 30-days?
You can read my daily journal social detox journal here.