Monday, January 3, 2011

social media experiment, results

For the past two+ weeks, I've not been on Facebook or Twitter. I wouldn't have called myself an addict, but I did waste unnecessary extended time on both social media sites.
So what did I learn? What conclusions have I come to?

I'm not sure.

I was originally challenged by a writer on a minimalist blog I stumbled into (or actually my hubby stumbled upon and gave to me to consider)... she proposed that the idea of Facebook and Twitter were very me-centered, self-promoting, narcissistic, if you will. She's right - I mean, they exist to be "updated." The planet of Twitter continues to spin because users' 140 characters are shared. Repeatedly. 24/7. Facebook has become popular because we can update others on our lives without having to really interact or talk to another. As if it were so important that a girl I knew back in high school now knows that my son took his first steps or that I am cooking spaghetti for dinner (i.e. whatever significant or insignificant news I share).
I am not here to debate the merits or faults of social media... I certainly see their positives as well as negatives. After all, I have been a part of both for several years now. I just wanted to see what it would "feel" like staying off of them through the holidays for several weeks.
Here is what I found:
I found myself not analyzing each thing I did during the day, wondering how I could phrase a tweet or FB update to share what I had just done. I found myself not keeping my internet window up so that I could pop back on in between chores/activities/kids' needs to see who had updated what. Honestly, what that amounts to is that I guess I was more present in each activity and less distracted throughout the day. I only sat down at the computer (it is located in an armoire in my kitchen/dining area) when I had time that I wanted to dedicate to surfing or maybe just looking up a specific answer.
However, what I missed most about FB was seeing what was going on in others' lives. I missed seeing and interacting with actual friends about their activities. I don't think I ever really missed sharing something, but rather missed the interaction that is fostered due to my update, tweet, etc.
So what does that all amount to?
Random couple of things, good and bad... *I never bothered to phone a friend to catch up just because I wasn't seeing their updates, however I did catch up with a few local friends at 2 New Years parties and saw others at church this past weekend, *I enjoyed not being tied to the computer as much, *I really enjoyed some new blogs that I found during my computer time, since I wasn't using that time to surf FB or Twitter, *I'm kinda relieved that it was so "painless" to stay off. I'm not really that "addicted" to it. *But, what does that say about me that I have been enjoying people's blogs (that I don't know) and don't totally crave missing reading about people I do know (via FB)?
So now what?
I think I will keep both active. I don't even have a desire to get back on Facebook, but I think it is a valuable tool for communication (even just as an address book of sorts). I think I will refrain from updating both FB and Twitter for awhile more... no commitments on specific periods of time though. Maybe I'll tweet something here or there. I think I will sign back onto Twitter and maybe select a few people to receive mobile updates from... those that will challenge me or encourage me (both spiritually and maybe just in a fun friend sort of way). I think I will purge my friends list on FB, or maybe not, if I'm only using it as an address book of sorts, maybe it will be good everyone (of course I could always search and message them without actually being their friend. Sorry - my internal conversation became typed for you to "hear").
So, in conclusion... no "resolutions" about ditching FB or Twitter. But, they will be less frequently visited webpages on my browser.

1 comment:

Party Of Five said...

I enjoyed reading your blog this morning. I have decided to stay off of facebook as a new years resolution and your blog entry has summed up my reasons exactly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! If you don't mind I would like to add you to my blogs that I read. Thanks again!