Friday, 31 August 2018

Lessons from my "social media vacation 2018"

My social media vacation began back on July 11th, 2018.  It was something I've been wanting to do for a while, but just never put it into action.  But it was time.  I was ready, and I was excited for a "break from it all".  For those who maybe didn't read my post My social media vacation 2018, here's a reminder of the "rules" I set for myself;

  1. Twitter and Facebook are off limits.  Period.  No need to check them. If something is important to me, someone will share it with me in person or via text, email or messenger.  
  2. Facebook messenger is ok.  It's personal. It's not needlessly sharing thoughts, stories or things with "the world", it's like a text message;  private and directed to someone specifically so that's ok. 
  3. Business services updates are allowed to be posted during my "social media vacation" (music gigs included).  I decided that I would still post business updates regarding services to the Facebook business page but that is all. No random posts. No pictures, no stories etc... Just service updates. 
To be honest, I thought this would be a challenge, but it really wasn't at all. This tells me that my feeling of being "addicted", really wasn't completely true apparently. Yay!! Throughout my time away from social media, I learned a few things that were great reminders to share;  

The main thing....  The world slows down and becomes a much simpler place again.  It's a funny feeling, but it's true.  You have less distractions in your head, your focus is solely on the things you care about, and you're not being bombarded with unnecessary news or stress.  I have had the privilege of living in this world before social media even existed, and being away from it reminded me of how good it feels.  

The world still moves on if you don't share all your thoughts or details with it.  I got better over the years in terms of posting useless stuff that people really don't need to hear, or that I don't need to share.  But I would still feel this strange urge to share an interesting article I read, or comment on someone's post or article that they shared etc... Why??  What's the big deal if I don't??  

You can more easily avoid STUPID.  It's common today to find on Facebook, Twitter etc... people who chime in with nothing but negativity or stick their nose in where it doesn't belong because they can "hide behind the internet curtain".  Well, when you're not on social media you don't have to worry about that.  And that little moment of stress that you feel when you are sickened by what you're reading, simply doesn't exist. 

It's simply a breath of fresh air.  Simplifying your mood and your thoughts just plain feels good.  I can't say anything more than that. 

We are not meant to share everything with everyone.  If something connects with you, or you think it's really interesting or exciting, you'll remember to talk about it with those around you.  It doesn't mean you have to share it with EVERYONE.  

**I'm maybe portraying myself as more of a social media addict than I was, but really I think to myself, "why??".  Why would I post that? Why would I feel the need to share that?  Just before my "social media vacation" my family and I went down east for a family trip.  I was posting ocean pics etc daily.  Why??  If I take pictures that's fine, but why not just show my clients, friends etc when they're around (and if they want) rather than sharing with my entire Facebook community of people??? It makes no sense when you break it down.  ***

You LIVE NOW.  You're present at all times.  When you break the habit of grabbing your phone just because, and mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or Facebook, you're just simply more THERE.  You're present.  You don't feel an urge to see what your friends are having for dinner, what "Bob" down the road looks like in his new car or what's happening in the world around you.  You don't even have the thoughts of "Oh I need to take a picture/video to post on Facebook".  You just don't.  It's not a thought. You take in the moment.  

Now what????

I never set out to abolish social media completely, but more to control the habits and the use of it.  Understanding what it does to your mind was a major bonus to my experience.  I did do what I said I would do ..... Here is an excerpt from my previous post and my comments as to what I've done;

My personal Facebook page will be become a lot emptier.  I plan to delete most pictures etc and make my account pretty basic. Minimalist if you will.  I have all these pictures myself, so if I ever feel the need to share them with anyone, it'll be with people who are with me or who I message directly. 
  ***My personal Facebook account has become emptier.  All my albums I posted are gone as well as quite a bit of personal information.  It just doesn't need to be there.  I gradually plan to delete some tagged photos, but that will take time. There's a bunch and it's a tedious activity to do unfortunately (thanks a lot Facebook).  

My business page usage will change. I can see myself posting random tips, stories etc to my business page again, as I enjoy getting good information out there to share.  However, I see myself utilizing the scheduling feature more often and more or less having a set day where I do all my posts for the week (be it 1 or a bunch) and after that, not worry about it until the following week. 

***I kept updates posted when necessary on my business page, as well as responded to private messages.  I see this plan to utilize the scheduling feature more often, still as what will happen.  It will allow me to still post information I enjoy educating people with, but I won't have to be on it as often. 

My Twitter account will change. My main love of Twitter is the connection with professionals I admire and look up to.  There I can find research articles, blogs and information that other professionals share that I may not have found otherwise. But other than that, I see myself again, cleaning up my account (minimalist again) so that I am only following those accounts that benefit me in what I do. 

**This has already happened as well.  I currently have 788 followers.  I WAS following 600-700 accounts myself.  Many of which either wasn't anything I needed to see/hear or I simply wouldn't see in my feed because I followed so many.  I cleaned it out, so I'm following accounts that I enjoy professionally (strength coaches, research, health and fitness information/organizations) and that has brought me down to following 113 accounts.  Big change and I like it. 

In the end, this was an amazing thing I did for myself.  It truly is hard to describe how good I feel from doing it.  I can't stress that enough.  I'm excited to move forward in a way that accepts social media, but doesn't overuse it, in a way that does NOT stress me out, and in a way that allows me to have it as the LAST thing on my mind rather than one of the first things.