I’ve been on a semi-hiatus from social media for the last month or so. I haven’t been totally absent – I made it to a #kidlitchat or two on Twitter; I’ve updated my Facebook status and commented there a few times; I even got a couple posts up at GottaBook – but for the most part, I’ve laid low.
This wasn’t 100% a choice, I must admit, but involved a combination of the need to pack and move, a week with no internet access, getting sick and choosing sleep, and general busy-ness. Still, I have a few observations….
People will still be there when you come back. In fact, every time I checked in, I “ran into” people I knew. I liked the connection, particularly while feeling otherwise disconnected.
My blog traffic suffered. No real surprise there – with no new material, it’s up to Google searches to make a difference. Will I lose a bunch of subscribers upon my return? We’ll see.
My e-book sales of The Late Bird dropped noticeably. This might not be cause and effect – it’s summer, so my teacher and student blog-reading/book reading audience is largely on vacation – but I suspect that not being around has kept others from thinking about/mentioning/buying the book. (BTW… feel free to mention the book!)
I did not get more writing done. However… I mean, the reason I wasn’t active online was that I had no time! It was not a month about writing. In fact, I only mention this because when I tell folks I wasn’t active online for a month, this is their first question!
I missed the social aspects of online life but not the endless stream of activity. My friends don’t update with “noise,” for the most part, but with stuff I am interested in. So, I missed not reading it all. However, I did NOT miss the endless aspect of social media.
I never felt the urge to spend hours catching up. There was no addiction withdrawal. No twitchiness. OK, maybe a little the week with no access, but even then… it was not so bad. At first, there was a tiny feeling of shirking responsibility… as though checking in had become a duty. By the end of the month, I didn’t feel that at all.
Will this impact how I use social media going forward? That’s hard to say. I’d be interested in trying another “slow to no” month when I had a project I was working on. I saw Mitali Perkins’ results of her virtual retreat, and I am curious if I’d have the same experience.
On the whole, the best part of the time off is the realization that… simply put… it’s all okay! Sure, I might lose some readers and some Twitter followers/connections, but it’s not a permanent blow. I am sure this also depends on how you use social media normally, but for me… it’s all good.
Have you tried a detox (by choice or necessity)? How did it go for you? Like so much else with social media, I find there’s fear involved in cutting back, too, but my experience, at least, says the fear is not necessary. I’ll be interested to hear if you found the same….