The impact of the social media revolution must be similar to the advent of the telephone in the early twentieth century. Before people were holding ear pieces to their heads, you had to rely on letters to communicate with your loved ones. The Post Office. The Pony Express. People were forced to talk to each other at night, probably over smoking candles and with wolves howling at the door. You know, the ones that didn’t morph into hunky male models.
Then came the telephone, with its squawking ring and jangling ear piece. People could communicate with each other without the handwritten word. Fast forward a hundred years to most people unable to write a legible note. (This is me, raising my hand.) Communication now speeds along fiber-optics straight into our brains.
The cost of speed? An eternal buzz we get off information, which to some equates to nothing less than the complete sizzling of our brains. Don’t you ever get that not-so-fresh feeling that you might just possibly dissolve into a pile of updates if you read one more status line?
Sure, it’s great to reconnect with old friends and stay up-to-date on the news. But for some, social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter can take a life of their own. You start moving among them like a virtual extension of yourself. You start losing the ability to walk in sunlight. You start sticking to your office chair.
It just might be time for a social media detox. This entails some time away from your blog, Twitter, Facebook, email, StumbleUpon, Digg, and any other site that requires a password or worse, a sassy pseudonym. You might have to ask a friend to change your passwords, unplug your computer, and help you step away from the laptop and/or iPhone.
If any of the following rings true, turn over your passwords and take at least a day away. Your brain will detox, your back will stretch, and you will party like its 1999.
1. You are so used to your Twitter feed for news that you consider things that happened 3 hours ago as wildly ancient.
2. You have to sneak into the other room to check your social media outlets because your significant other thinks you’re obsessed. Because you are. And you know it. But doesn’t everyone check Twitter in the dark of a closet behind several old bridesmaids dresses?
3. You discover that you won’t brush your hair to leave the house, but you will do it for Skype.
4. Something funny/scary/thrilling happens to you and you immediately start crafting it into a Facebook status line.
6. Scrolling through the wedding pictures of a friend of a friend has replaced spending an evening with your own significant other. Also, your human connections can’t remember the last time they spoke to you face to face.
7. And finally, do you really need to know the weekend plans of someone you knew 20 years ago? Do you?
Want to read more about withdrawing from social media? Take a gander at our recent look at social media: No If or Buts About It: Why We Have to Disconnect.
Image: John Maddin