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Life without social media: Week 1

by Karen on May 3, 2012

It’s the start of day three in my month without social media, but it was the morning of day one that I realized just how much I’ve come to depend on my connections with Internet friends for daily life.

I expected to experience withdrawal from the connection that social media provides, and I definitely did. I can’t prove that it’s related, but I was feeling on edge and extra crabby all day on the first day. Whether it was caused by social media withdrawal or just a bad day, I can definitely say I missed being able to log into Facebook, fire off a status update venting my frustrations, and wait for the commiseration to pour in. It’s not that I don’t have friends to vent to in real life, but when your network is over 200 people, you’re more likely to find someone who can relate to what you’re feeling at any given moment than you are if you just text, email, or call a friend.

It’s not just the connections that I missed, though. I sat down to plan our menu for the week on Tuesday, and I realized I don’t even remember how I came up with meal ideas without Pinterest. It’s only been a year since I started using Pinterest. It’s amazing to me how quickly we adapt to technology and begin to depend on it.

The unfortunate realization? I’m not less distracted without Facebook. I’ve just replaced Facebook with other distractions. I’ve been texting and emailing more with friends (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — reconnecting with real world friends is one of the reasons I wanted to step away from social media). The bad news is that I’m using texting and emailing to distract me from work and household chores and going outside the same way I used social media.

I thought I would be less attached to my phone and the Internet, but I’m just finding new things to distract myself. I’m not brave enough or strong enough for a month without Internet (though after typing it, I am intrigued at the thought), but I wonder if that would be the only way to get the “break” that I set out to take.

Another unexpected problem? Without Facebook and Twitter, all that inspiration that I hoped to channel into the blog has nowhere to go. All day little thoughts and quips about parenting and life pop into my head. I used to post them immediately, and I often turned those thoughts into whole blog posts eventually. Now? The thoughts pop into my head, and without a place to put them, poof. They’re gone. I decided to start carrying a notebook with me and get into the habit of writing things down instead of posting them online. Hopefully I’ll be able to do something with those thoughts instead of just forgetting them.

I guess my point is that so far the benefits of social media seem to outweigh its pitfalls. Granted, it’s only day 3, but so far I’m not getting more done or feeling less stressed or feeling much of a difference at all aside from the fact that I’m missing a lot of conveniences and feeling a little more lonely.

What do you guys think? Have you ever taken a break from social media? What did you miss most?

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