I've given up interacting on social media for Lent with my friend Simon. You can read our first post about it here.
Last Wednesday, I was interviewed on BBC West Midlands about my challenge. You can listen to the interview here.
Things have been... Different.
On the one hand, I have a lot of "spare" time. Previously, I would "just check Facebook" when I got up in the mornings, when I got home from the nursery run, while I was on the phone, when S went for her nap, several times during the day, when S was in bed. Possibly more so for my Twitter feed. It slowed my day down, and often delayed my work by an hour at a time as I forgot what I was doing and ended up trawling through my newsfeed. Now that interacting on Facebook and Twitter are not an option, I'm getting my work done sooner. So far, this means I've been able to fit more work into my day, and my evening is more likely to be free for watching dvd box sets. Or reading. I had intended that my extra spare time would be spent broadening my mind, but so far it's just meant I've been able to get addicted to Arrow.
On the other hand, I am finding it hard to not have that interaction in my life. I can't ask a potential 2000 people on Twitter if they have a contact email for a company that I want to get hold of. I can't ask my Facebook friends whether they have any novel ideas for what I can do with the over-ripe bananas I have on the side in my kitchen.
|Me looking a bit of a twat at the awards|
On Monday I went to an awards ceremony, and normally in that sort of situation I would have been present. I think quite often I'm so busy tweeting something amusing that happens, that I miss the next two amusing things.Instagramming, Facebooking and Tweeting all day. (I have still updated Instagram periodically but I'm trying not to do it more than once or twice a day.) It was really difficult to not tweet and Facebook... but on the other hand, it was so nice to just be
Another strange thing I am finding is that my brain has become programmed to identify "tweetable" things during my day. Several times a day, my brain begins to compose a tweet or Facebook status. I get half way through the sentence before I realise there's no point. I've started noting down some of them, as a sort of experiment to see whether I ever post anything of any consequence... so far, the evidence suggests that I am full of shit. Perhaps as time goes on, my brain will lose this habit, and when Lent is over I will forget to post updates!
|Simon looking less of a twat at the beach|
I am a week into my self-imposed ban on Facebook and Twitter.
Although, if you believe some of my friends: “you’re still using it – I can see you’re active!" Let me explain. While it has been easy for me to give it up, I accept that for other people social media is still very much a part of everyday life.
One example is a friend of mine who is trying to arrange a surprise party and has chosen to organise it by Facebook chat. I know this because I use an app called “messenger” which connects to Facebook's messaging function. Apparently when you are using this, it shows you as “active” as far as other people on Facebook are concerned.
Does the odd RSVP and picture constitute breaking my social media ban? No more than sending a text, as far as I'm concerned.
I also forgot that the fitness app I use when cycling updates directly to Facebook and received a barrage of “you can’t keep away!” texts when it did just that last weekend.
During my absence the Facebook page I use for my private DJ work is being updated by a third party. Just a few times a week to promote a testimonial and get further bookings (it is far more direct and cost effective that ads in print these days). I personally have not seen either Facebook or Twitter timelines for 7 days.
Life continues, but the only difference is that I am keeping mine to myself and missing out on what everyone else is doing.
Have I become a virtual hermit in today’s world? Not really, as I am still hearing from friends via text and phone - and more than I have done recently.
Do any of my friends miss out on the constant updates from my life? I’ll ask them in the middle of next month.
The big difference for me has been a better work/life balance. Because social media has been such an important ingredient of my job for the last 3 years, I didn’t realise quite how much it had blurred the lines between life and work. Not being on Twitter means that the radio producer side of me is no longer permanently at work gathering content, and the presenter side of me isn’t looking for an opportunity to interact with the audience outside of normal working hours.
Is the rest of the world missing me?
I’ll know in a few weeks.
It can wait till then.
You can read about week two here!