31 Days of NOT Having It All Banner

With all this talk of the negative effects of social media on our own contentment, let me say a few words about this steady stream of communication and information.

I really enjoy feeling connected. I like to be “in-the-know” and I love sharing what I learn with others. As I mentioned on Day 7, I like to be included, be a part of the conversation, be heard, and be known. Social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – they all facilitate this very well for me.

However, social media is also very addictive and sucks time away from the things I call priorities in my life. And I think a lot of others could say the same thing if we’re all really honest with ourselves.

Here’s the deal: If you have a business or a blog, social media is a way to spread the word and drive traffic or sales. If you have long-distance friends or family, social media is a way to stay connected. If you enjoy connecting with others, social media is a way to instantly feed that need.

But social media is better in smaller doses. And taking breaks from social media is the best thing you’ll ever do in making it work for you. Trust me.

Be on Social Media

I think – I know – we feel like we may miss something if we step away: a friend will announce something big or a flash sale will happen and you’ll be away from the computer and totally miss it. Your post will go live on your blog and you feel like nobody will read it because you are not on social media to share it. You feel like your business will lose out on sales if you’re gone from social media for even one day.

Anybody identifying with these feelings or is it just me?

This all sounds exhausting and full of anxiety. Well, it doesn’t just sound exhausting – I’ve felt all of this. And I’ve checked in a million times a day on all the platforms because of those very reasons.

I’ve also felt the absolute freedom of taking what Hayley and Jessi call an “analog weekend:” stepping away from all the social media networks starting Friday evening and not coming back until Sunday evening. These analog weekends give me room to breathe, think, write, create, LIVE without the pull, interruption, or influence of all the voices on social media. I’ve read more books because of analog weekends. I’ve had more inspiration for writing because of analog weekends. I’ve gotten more done around the house because of analog weekends. I’ve enjoyed my family more because of analog weekends.

Community is happening on social media and I LOVE community. But we don’t all have to be a part of it every waking moment of our day. If we are, we’re missing the community right in front of us, in person, in our homes and churches and neighborhoods.

Let’s all just take a break this weekend, ok?

If you’re worried about missing business opportunities or not being able to spread the word about your posts while being offline, can I suggest scheduling a few tweets or posts before you go dark? Buffer is a great way to do this, but you can also schedule directly from TweetDeck and from Facebook Pages. Take a few minutes today to line up a few posts for while you’re gone and then walk away! You can do it! {Let me know if you don’t know how to use these features – I can help!}

The UnWired MomAnd if you feel like you need more help in getting away from too much time online, I must highly recommend my friend Sarah Mae’s book, The Unwired Mom {affiliate link}. This book is full of encouragement and practical help in getting offline more and enjoying REAL life. I think this is an important book whether you feel like you are addicted to social media or not. There are great time management tips, ideas for Internet boundaries for the whole family, and even a two-week challenge for making your online habits healthier.

There is no social media police telling us we NEED to be on there more to be useful/important/relevant. Step away and do it often and you will find both social media AND your real life much more rewarding.

Do you identify with me in this pull to be constantly connected with others? What is your biggest struggle with social media?