I’ll be the first to admit there was once a time when I was plugged into the social-sphere just like the majority who read this are currently. In reality, it was like I’d jabbed a paper clip into a wall socket and couldn’t let go! Mine wasn’t the typical Facebook addiction that’s killing the souls of billions worldwide every day. I was a sucker for business, self-improvement, fitness, and healthy eating vlogs on YouTube — I couldn’t escape!
Then, one day I realized I was suffering from information overload. I couldn’t focus on a single thing that was happening in my own professional and personal life because I was spending so much time connected. Much like I’d been told as a child how television was “rotting my brain,” social media of all kinds had taken over my life and killed my spirit.
1. You start seeing the people in your life in a whole different light.
People tend to share a lot on social media. Too much, in fact. Once you leave the social sphere behind, bad people will turn good and maybe a few good ones will turn bad — once you realize how conditioned you’ve become to living life in a digital bubble instead of socializing in the real world, with real people!
I remember once seeing a post from my friend Bet on Facebook, making fun of another friend’s hairless monstrosity of a dog. She basically called the dog “the ugliest thing” she’d ever seen. In truth, Bet wasn’t wrong. The dog wouldn’t be winning any contests any time soon, save this one. However, in the confines of a purely ‘social’ environment, the comment wasn’t in-line with the sickeningly sweet image I had had of her for years previous.
Why was I such an idiot? I had been slowly conditioned to take everything people say on social along with tablespoon of honey, instead of a box of salt.
2. You regain access to communication skills you haven’t used since pre 2007.
Text-speak quickly destroyed grammar throughout the 2000’s. Something that took centuries to refine has literally disappeared overnight in favor of LOL’s, LMAO’s, IMO’s, ELI5’s, and a host of other acronyms that would confuse anyone who grew up in pre-millennia times and never used a mobile. As if this weren’t bad enough, text-speak has become the norm on social media — nobody has to use proper language anymore.
Unfortunately, digital communication hasn’t just destroyed our written language standards, now I hear people actually using LOL’s and FML’s when they’re talking to people! It’s crazy how technology has affected the human condition for the worse. Get out there sans-devices and meet some people and you’ll realize just how much actual emotion and substance you’ve been missing out on — how much real words can alter how meaningful and genuine communication is meant to be.
3. You have loads of creativity all of a sudden.
There’s only so many random topics you can make up for social media posting before the practice starts destroying your right brain. How many times can you try and think of something cool to share before you run out of legitimately good ideas?
I’d be sunk in the first week…
If you’re a hot model type posting on Instagram, continue on and keep raking in the sponsorships, subscriptions, and sign ups. For the vast majority of us, social is killing the creativity we all so badly need to establish and build our brands, careers, and/or lives. Once you back away from the destructive social melee that has become your life, your creative window will open up at least a little further for you if you’re not naturally creative. For some people, it will feel like a massive fog of volcanic ash has lifted for the first time in five or ten years.
4. You’ll rekindle your love affair with taking selfies all over again.
Selfies used to be something we all took a long time with. That is, back before Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat became the foundation of people’s lives. Before megapixels became part of our vocabulary, people would have to meticulously set up tripods and get the camera aimed just right before hitting a timer and running to assume a pose in front of their favorite landmark, or next to a loved one.
Then, as more people traded their home phone in for a smartphone, selfies became easier to take but were still relegated to something you posted on MySpace or your dating profile on Campus Kiss, or Plenty of Fish. Now, everyone and their great grandma is taking selfies; many on a daily basis, multiple times. This leads to a feeling of apathy whenever it comes time to once again snap a selfie to accompany a post about how in love you are with a pet, person, product, or promotion you’re helping to headline. In many cases, these pictures can lead to a hazing of epic proportions when your crowd of followers decides to find something wrong with what you posted.
Let’s bring back the painstaking pride we all had when taking a selfie and ditch the hundred-selfie-a-month rat race that exists on social right now!
5. You suddenly have more time — LOTS of it!
It’s ridiculous how much time people spend reading, responding, and creating homemade memes on social. I couldn’t imagine spending 20% of my digital connected time just on social media alone (with the majority of that time spent scouring Facebook). That’s what the majority do though. When you let go of the pull to check the latest Tweet from Katy Perry, or the most recent clang-and-bang post from Dwayne Johnson, you’ll find there’s a lot more time to get things done that can actually propel your life forward instead of leaving you stalled and passionate-less.
Much like The Governator’s advice on “sleeping faster” if you spend too much time in bed every night, I would suggest scanning your social updates much, much faster if you value your time. Or, just give them up altogether and save yourself the hassle. Did you know the majority of Fortune 500 CEOs out there don’t even have a social media account? Strange how they still manage to kill it, hunh?
6. You’ll fall in tune with your true purpose.
Once the social-veil lifts from your life, perhaps you’ll come to the realization that there’s more to life than keeping your head down in your phone while life flies by you. You’ll feel sorry for all the people crammed into a single-minded stream of consciousness, with no clue what’s going on inside their own head.
Disconnecting will help you find the spice your life has been missing…
I still spend some time on social now and again, mostly for professional reasons. You’ll never see me spending two hours on Instagram every morning, or mindlessly scanning Twitter at the end of day trying to find interesting tweets. And YouTube: Ye no longer owns my time!
Social media is largely a way for all the sheep to keep in tow behind the herd. Why not make a change and try being the Sheppard for a while?
Main Image Credit: Christiano Betta/Flickr