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Easier than expected: A Month without Social Media

Yesterday my 30 Days Without Social Media Challenge came to an end. Here are my experiences and the conclusions I made.

1. I didn’t miss Facebook and Twitter half as much as I would have thought

While in the first week I caught myself quite often trying to open the app or website of either Facebook or Twitter it quickly slipped out of my mind in the second week. Instead of just browsing around, looking what everybody is doing and posting general stuff I started reaching out more to people directly via email, text, IM or phone, which is way more satisfying than just posting something and waiting for interaction. That’s definitely a habit worth keeping.

2. Twitter is more important to me than Facebook

As I know most of my Facebook friends in real life I usually have other and better ways of reaching out to them. That is, at least for the ones I care about most.

With Twitter though that’s a whole different story. It’s a nice mix of people I grew to knowing better just by reading their frequent tweets, eventually got to know some of them in real life, but mostly being in contact only via that platform. It’s a source for local gossip as well as news and valuable information about the Webdesign industry. I can’t say I felt lost without Twitter, but it really felt good coming back and again being in contact with some people I haven’t heard of for the last month. I simply didn’t have that feeling with Facebook.

3. Conclusions

I decided to keep the Facebook app off my phone and check on updates only once or twice day on either a Computer or on the iPad. I realized how much time I wasted just browsing status updates of very little value and even reading comments that are even more disposable.

Twitter quickly found its way back on my home screen though and I don’t feel bad about it. If there’s one conclusion regarding my Twitter usage it’s: Think less about following and unfollowing people when they start to annoy you. Unfollowing is no offence, and we should do so when we feel bugged.

4. What’s up next

I’m really hooked by the idea of trying something new for 30 days and then evaluating the impact it had on my everyday life. Deciding what was good about it, what wasn’t and which patterns could be transformed into a habits. So here’s my next plan of things to try until April 21:

  • Reading in a book for a least 15 minutes a day
    It’s not a lot of time, but it’s a start to bring back the habit of reading books on paper instead of using electronic devices to consume rather short articles.
  • No more screen light 30 minutes before going to sleep
    This goes hand in hand with reading books. Better to calm down and my eyes will be grateful. Exception: Good-night IM with my girlfriend.
  • Being mindful/doing absolutely nothing for 10 to 15 minutes a day
    A great TED talk by Andy Puddicombe called All it takes is 10 mindful minutes inspired me to try this. According to a research mentioned by Andy our minds are lost in thought 47% of the time. I found this quite disturbing and I think Andy’s right when he says we should try being more mindful and live more in the present.

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