It has been four months since I permanently deleted all of my social media accounts (you can read about that journey here; don’t miss all the article links!). This post is an update for my blog-readers about how my life and genealogy work have been going without social media. I have to admit, it has been strange adjusting to life without social media! A few unexpected twists:
- The struggle I faced in my original post: I am still constantly (subconsciously) picking up my phone. Whenever I sit down to relax, my brain still calls out “phone!” I am trying to rewire it to instead think, “book!” or “magazine!” or “meditate!” but this change is taking some *major* rewiring of the brain to accomplish.
- My business is still doing just fine; no social media needed. Clients continue to find me most often via my APG page and LinkedIn.
- It truly amazes me just how programmed my arms, hands, and fingers had become to automatically reach for a device every time that I sat down at the end of the day or whenever I had a bit of free time. Keeping myself physically at a distance from my cell phone is the only thing that helps.
- I now let a Fitbit on my wrist tell me who is calling or what a text says and keep the cell in another room or in my purse at all times, to keep myself from grabbing the phone–because even though I don’t have social media, there is still a web browser on my phone with web sites where I can look at news, blogs, stores, Amazon.com, etc and I’ve found that they become surrogate “scroll and stare” replacements for my former addiction to social media.
- Instead, I now revert to a book, genealogy journal, or family genealogy project during my downtime moments, as a result of this new strategy–and boy do these activities make me a much more productive genealogist than staring at my phone ever did; yay!
- For times when I am away from home and there is no book nearby (I’m on a train to New York, at a hotel, in a doctor’s office waiting room, in line at a store, etc), I’ve made sure to load my phone with good books on my Kindle app so that I have quality options to keep me from wasting time on my web browser.
- Still, every now and then I admit to “phantom limb” sensations that cause me to grab that cell at the end of the day when I plug it in to charge by my bed, and scroll through blogs, news sites, or Amazon on my cell browser. How sad is that? But my firstborn went away to college and I want her to be able to reach me in case of an emergency, so I don’t dare banish the phone to the desk at night. I’ve got the Fitbit, but am not sure it will awaken me if phone is in another room. Husband has his phone, but what if our daughter calls mom, first? Dilemma! Still, I am planning to move a piece of furniture and permanently plug a charger in behind it, so that phone gets charged far from the bedside each night.
- Sometimes I have to get onto my husband’s Facebook to message somebody because I still don’t have their email address or cell number, and I have found myself scrolling on *his* Facebook (because we have friends in common) but getting nothing of value from the experience but YouTube videos and time-wasting memes or political posts, after which it kind of freaks me out how addicting that place still is! Another goal: no more peeking–I’ll ask my husband to do all messaging of friends for me. Ugh.
- I’d love to just switch to a cheap flip phone and avoid walking around with a web browser in my pocket altogether, but I recently moved to a very rural location in a new state, so I’m constantly getting lost. I need the GPS and web-search capability that a smartphone provides so I can locate stores, dentist offices, auto mechanics, etc. and Google facilities when I am out and about.
- Another very helpful solution to living the social media-free life: calling up old friends, texting them, and visiting people! Granted, these solutions take TIME, whereas social media can be done anytime, anywhere, in small bursts of time with very little commitment, but I’m finding that I can text my friends in those small pockets of time when I used to be scrolling through social media, so I am trying to do more of that now, instead–to reach out to people for one-on-one contact. I am finding it so much more meaningful and the connection so much more powerful than my social media conversations!
- This summer, I sent my firstborn off to college, traveled cross-country, and made some other very special trips, and did them all without any social media posting (aka bragging, ranting, bawling, condoling, etc). Instead, I soaked up the moments, shared them with people individually, and preserved the memories in my journal and in photographs that I shared with loved ones in texts. It was AMAZING. This is truly the best way to live.
- I’m still a work-in-progress as the above points show. It is taking time getting away from the social media beast which had me in its grasp for all of those years, but living without social media for the past few months has been bliss, even if it is taking so long to free myself from its grip.
In summary: four months later, I have zero regrets about giving up social media. The fact that it was so hard to give up only reinforces just how addicting it was, which proves that I should have given it up sooner! I now enjoy more time for more meaningful interactions and pursuits today because social media is no longer in my life and my mind is quieter, so I continue to work at replacing its presence in my life with more positive, productive, constructive, educational, and genuinely connecting activities! 🙂
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