Yesterday marked 30 days off social media for me, and the verdict is in: I didn’t miss it. I opened up Facebook and Twitter on my laptop yesterday and it took all of 30 seconds of browsing to realize that I could easily go another 30 days, 30 months, 30 years without it.
This is not to say that I don’t miss the people I interact with on Facebook or Twitter. I just don’t like the medium anymore, and I’m looking for other ways to interact. I have, for instance, been carrying on a letter-writing campaign with a friend who lives across the country. This isn’t as speedy as Facebook comments, but it is always a delight to get an actual letter in the mail, read through it and reply thoughtfully.
And, of course, it is more difficult to stay up-to-date with friends and family, although my wife helps in that regard. She pointed out, for instance, that my brother and his family were on vacation. She’d seen the pictures on Facebook.
I’ve enjoyed waking up in the morning and not reaching for Facebook or Twitter first thing. Instead, I’ll peruse the L.A. Times for a little while (a paper I still enjoy reading even though I no longer live in L.A.). I’ve also enjoyed not interrupting the even flow of life by the need to make an update. That is perhaps one of the biggest benefits I’ve seen. Many times in the last 30 days, I’ve found myself looking at something–a tree in full bloom, an interesting cloud formation, a brilliantly-colored bird perched on a rock–and thought, this would make a great picture to post. And on every occasion but one, I’ve resisted the urge to take photo let alone post anything. Instead, I take a little extra time to just admire what I am looking at.
(The one time I did take a photo was so that I could print it out and paste it into my journal.)
At this point, I don’t expect to return to social media anytime soon. I am not canceling my accounts, but they are essentially dormant, save for things like the automated posts that get made when a new blog post appears (like this one). You can always reach me here on the blog, or by email, which I am not giving up, and to which I try my best to respond quickly.