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When to Take a Social Media Break

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When to Take a Social Media Break

Twitter became my priority. It became my obsession.

I should’ve been shutting down and enjoying a moment in life, a moment I can never get back.

Instead, my mind was focused on how to condense the moment into 140 characters and share it.

Looking back, I lost memories and failed to get the most out of many experiences because I was too busy thinking about how to share. I lost track of the moment.

Around 3 months ago, I decided enough was enough. My life had become a massive extended relationship. I was losing focus on the core people, and priorities, in my life. I was spreading myself too thin for fear of not ‘sharing’, or turning my back on social media.

So, I decided it was time to take a serious break and shut down.

This never meant my online relationships were inconsequential. It meant that I chose spending uninterrupted, focused time with my new fiancée over swapping snippets online. It meant that I’d rather be in the pool throwing my 3 kids than sitting on the sidelines with a Blackberry. It meant that actually talking to my fiancée was a more productive way to spend my time than thinking of things to say online, and hoping they were clever enough to be repeated.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting a complete abandonment of social media. I’m suggesting that, in my case, it was time to walk away and get a better handle on it. It was time for me to devote my life to my immediate network, not just my extended network. It was time for me to justify the time I spent, in all aspects of my personal and professional life, with results.

Here are 10 things I learned during my social media break.

  1. People in my extended network understood my need to focus on my immediate network more than I thought. They didn’t take it personally.
  2. My immediate network noticed I was paying attention to them much more.
  3. I would touch base with my online friends in other ways that were much more personal.
  4. People from my extended network reached out and became what I would consider real life friends.
  5. When I would check back in online, not much changed. Many of the same people were saying the same things.
  6. The extra time I now have improved my quality of life.
  7. Social media was very much an all or none proposition for me. If I wasn’t doing it actively, part-time participation lacked interest (excluding my desire to make sure friends are well).
  8. I came away with a much better concept of how to manage my time, and what it should be devoted to.
  9. My driving improved greatly.
  10. My closest relationships became closer, and new relationships flourished, while my extended relationships remained pretty much the same.

I very much wonder how may other people have felt out of control with their social media usage. Have you ever wanted to just walk away from it and take a break? Do you feel I was incorrect in handling it the way I did? Is there anything you’d like to know about how it has changed my outlook? Please feel free to share your story, or ask questions, in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Matt Leonard

Matt Leonard

Twitter became my priority. It became my obsession. I should’ve been shutting down and enjoying a moment in life, a ... [Read full bio]