December 1st brought the beginning of the Connection Challenge (you can read about it here) and I’m happy to report I’m still alive halfway through the experience. Yay! So far, none of the participants have perished either, so all in all, I consider that a huge win.
One component of the experience is a 30-day social media detox. While the challenge is about shifting our perspectives towards the more important aspects of life, the social media detox has been eye-opening and provided some immediate returns. Since I can’t share the learnings on Instagram until January, I wanted to share some quick hit lessons here about what removing social media from my life has taught me.
Your Mom just wants to hear from you.
I have repeatedly made jokes about my Mom’s uncanny ability to “like” a Facebook post before it’s been published by the server. Not to be outdone, my wife’s grandmother was a viable contender for the title of “Quickest Liker.” I know my family is not alone in those dynamics because I hear it from everyone my age. The reason it happens is because those likes are the way we adapted communication in today’s world.
Regardless of the avenue for communication, it all points to a very simple concept: your loved ones want to hear from you. They like you. And more often than not, they want to be an even larger part of your life. Social media is fine for doing so, but nothing will ever replace face-to-face communication or a phone call. So…
Call your Mom. Call your Dad. Call your loved ones. That’s all they want.
The World Kept Turning.
The world has not (yet) crumbled to pieces during my absence. Personally, I’ve probably gained more than I’ve lost by being off social media. The hours of time not spent scrolling or worrying about how to post/say something has allowed my mind to wander in more creative and useful ways. While I have certainly missed some photos and important events over these last couple of weeks, I’ve equally learned about and shared more with others by reaching out via phone calls and text messages. With social media available, you fall victim to the ease of scrolling and liking versus the conscious acts of traditional communication.
Social media is a horrible way to communicate.
It’s probably not a surprise to learn this one, but the inability to like, love or share a post has made me realize this form of “communication” is utterly ridiculous. If that weren’t enough, so much of our social media communication is tied towards resharing memes or someone else’s quote with the caption “Preach!” That is not communication. We need to move past the quick hit communication tools because….
Social media can be a fantastic way to communicate.
While I want to continue avoiding the memes, I do miss how effective social media CAN be when used appropriately. For example, my daughter’s teacher posts updates on a group Facebook page each day. She also shares important information for the parents on there because (surprise surprise) a 6-year old isn’t great at relaying details accurately. Without access, I’ve found myself missing a few updates and appreciating how easy social media can make communication. We simply need to harness the good in more ways.
I’m sure there will be more lessons as we wind down the Connection Challenge and I’m excited to share with everyone in early 2020. Until then, wishing you all the best and see you again soon!