My Instagram account was hacked. Worst part is I didn’t even know it – for months. I’m so embarrassed by what was revealed to me about the activity on my account. So I’ve shut it down. I don’t need Instagram. Here’s my video confession and a few words about social media addiction. Maybe it’s time for a social media sabbatical.
I Took a Social Media Sabbatical – Here’s What I Learned
Whoa! What am I crazy or something?!?
That’s what I thought too when I first had the idea to take a break from social media.
Could I really do it?
Am I addicted to social media?
After contemplating the idea for a couple weeks I decided it was a healthy living challenge I needed to accept. So on August 1, 2017 I pulled the plug. Man that sounds old school. There are no plugs! These are wireless times. I hid the apps from my phone and removed the tabs on my laptop Google page. I’m going cold turkey. I told my wife that I was actually looking forward to the break, especially since much of my social media engagement is for my fitness/ nutrition/ healthy living business and I was feeling a bit burned out. I also fretted a bit because I knew my business would suffer without engaging people virtually, but then I thought, “Would anyone even notice that I’m offline?” I know. I’m weird like that.
In no particular order, here are a few things I learned during my sabbatical.
- I WAS addicted to social media.
Not addicted REALLY bad that I salivate when someone mentions the Facebook news feed, but I admit to catching myself reaching for my phone to check Facebook or Instagram out of habit (& boredom honestly, or is it ADD?) only to remember that I’m purposely disconnecting. This happened a couple times the first day or so, but after that I was pretty happy to be free from it. I even left my phone behind when I went places so I wouldn’t be that guy who checks his phone all the time when in the company of other live humans.
- I realized I don’t NEED social media.
Crazy as it may seem, but I thought I would feel lost without knowing what all my peeps were up to. I don’t watch the TV news and I don’t do radio much, so I had relied on social media to fill me in on the “important news,” LOL. I didn’t miss it a bit. Turns out that I don’t need to know what so-n-so is up to everyday. What a relief.
- I realized that no one really needs to know what I’m up to everyday either – and they likely don’t really care anyway.
It’s kind of a blow to my frail male ego to first believe that there were crowds of people who wait for every insightful post, comment or photo that I share only to realize that others are probably just like me. They don’t ACTUALLY care what any particular “so-n-so” posts – including me. If it’s in their news feed they may read it, or not. If I’m not in the news feed, people move on with their life no problem. Shocking.
- Social media isn’t evil.
I sound very negative toward social media so far don’t I? It’s not all bad. There is good news transmitted there if you can get past the emotionally charged intolerant political posts – oops, keep it positive here Chad. It is nice to keep up with family & friends, connect with old friends or make new friends. Social media can be a forum to find great deals or local events too. It’s also an important tool for business.
- Without the distraction of social media, I can think about important stuff.
Yeah, this is probably the greatest benefit to my social media sabbatical. As I hoped, I was able to use my extra time to think, pray, study, write, dream, plan, and spend more focused time with Angie & Brandon. I realized how much I need such time and how much I enjoy it. It’s refreshing. I double dog dare you to try it.
The bottom line is that I’m really glad I took my 4 week social media sabbatical. I will change the way I engage it from now on. In my opinion, there are so many better ways to use my time than to mindlessly scroll the news feed constantly or to agonize over the text and photos I want to share to “change the world.” I think of social media in a similar way to work in that at the end of life no one will say, “I wish I spent more time on Facebook.”
What about you? Are you addicted to social media? Take a 30 day social media sabbatical and see what it does for you. I’d love to hear about it.