Monday, December 20, 2010

My Seven Day Social Media Sabbatical

Consider me a slave to all things social media.

When you look at Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, BBM, e-mail, and the internet, I, along with people similar to me in use and frequency, are Public Enemy Number One. At one time, the first thing I would do in the morning, before brushing my teeth or washing my face, was to roll over, turn on my laptop or check my phone, and get my social media fix in.

Then, last week happened.

For seven days (and inspired by a high school teacher’s challenge to his students to give up social media for a week), I attempted to do The Impossible: for seven days, I would use NO FORM of electronic social media: no e-mail, no text messaging, no internet, no Facebook, Twitter, nothing.

All temptations were done away with. The Facebook, Twitter, and BBM apps were removed from my phone, I packed away my laptop, and thus, my journey began.

Monday was probably the hardest day. The first thing I did when I woke up was roll over to turn on the laptop, but it wasn’t there. The second thing I did was pick up my phone to check e-mail, but as soon as I remembered what Monday signified, checking e-mail wasn’t an option either.

After Monday, Tuesday wasn’t much easier, but it was done. After that, the following days were the quietest, peaceful, and liberating days I’ve had in years; seriously.

It was fun talking to people on the phone again, even though some people just had to make sure the journey had its challenges. By that, I mean when someone would text me to say something or ask a question, I would pick up the phone and call them instead. Sometimes, people would make me mad, because they would text, I would call back, they wouldn’t answer, but they would send me ANOTHER doggone text. In a time where I would communicate with more people than I could think of (due to Facebook chat, texting, or Twitter), the people I spoke with last week were much smaller in number, but it was on a more personal scale. We held conversations with each other. Things didn’t seem to be in such a hurry. It was relaxing. It was cool. It was fun.

When I wanted show times for a movie, I had to find a phone book, and since the last phone book I have is from 2004, I had to drive up to the theater or dial information to get times for the movies. What can be considered an inconvenience to some was ironically funny to me. What made things even more of a pain was the newspapers didn’t list every local theater like they used to. It’s almost like they’ve adopted the belief that “aye, it isn’t like folks check the paper for the movies any-damn-way, so we don’t have to include them all.” That part sucked, but it was understood.

I read the newspaper damn near every day and was cool getting the news on a daily basis instead of a minute-to-minute basis as is the case online. I spent a lot of time at Barnes and Noble, and in between running through Public Enemies (the book based off the movie), I did a lot of people-watching. It was just cool to sit back and seem like nothing was rushed at all; hell, it felt like the old days. Everything was so personal. Gone was "LOL," "OMG," "hahahahahaha," or any other abbreviated expression. In their place was emotion that was just...I'll put it like this; you could see the expression from people when you talk to them one-on-one, as opposed to communicating online. Take from that what you will.

The only parts that sucked about not using any social media for the week was not being able to tell people how dope the Marsha Ambrosius concert was on Saturday night, or not being able to communicate about the state championships, or being able to update my status during the Cowboys game yesterday (well, considering how pathetic they were, that may have been good to be away from here, because my status updates would have been littered with condescension, confusion, and cuss words). Also, not being able to check ETSF was tough, but all hail Ed for holding down the fort and handling that aspect of the site for the week.

With all that said, The Tall Philosopher, Slim Charles, said it best when he uttered the words, “the thing about the old days…they the old days,” and the man was telling the complete and total truth. I don’t know if I can do much in moderation when it comes to social media, but it was certainly an experience to give it up cold turkey for a week. Hell, maybe I’ll do away with the text messaging plan Sprint has me on, and save myself $15 a month. Either way, it’s something that I would encourage everyone to try, and just see how far society has come in such a short time. You never know; the realization that the smallest things are taken for granted may even come to the surface.

12/20/10 @ 11:11 A.M.


Joe said...

Man that is great. I did the social media joint this summer giving up twitter and Facebook for a week. Email and texting is hard because of my job but I can make that happen on a break or something. I just need to get someone to take over administrative duties on my site. Props for making it happen bro. Now you have a weeks worth of reading to catch up on at

Keith said...

Man ,I got to try this...I'm just like you..I get up, I go straight to Facebook and twitter and then I go to
all three of my blogs to see if anybody commented on them or what not..Then I check my phone for missed calls or texts..and my e-mails.What have we become? Slaves to Electronica.

virtue5 said...

Glad to see that you did this experiment and survived haha. Facebook and twitter I could give up easily, but email would be harder because I need it for work and school and as much as I love texting I actually told someone the other day that the cell phone was one of my least favorite inventions because it makes people think that they can have access to you all of the time. Good job sir, I might have to do it myself.

Gem of the Ocean said...

very cool. theres so many things we take for granted when technology is at our fingertips. glad you got in some good ol fashion quality paper-reading in and people watching lol.

thanks for sharing the experience.