Hi friends. It's another Macro Monday, yippee!
MM: Social Media Management.
This weekend I did not check any of the various social media platforms I'm on. Phew. What a great rest and break. On that note: sorry if you messaged me etc. via facebook, instagram, or twitter. In fact, I still haven't logged on, or checked those yet today. But I will...soon <3
I just felt a need to disconnect for a few days and enjoy my time with my family & my guy. You see, I find all these spaces and platforms for connection & communication as equally stressful as they are wonderful.
These platforms are a great source for learning - so many wonderful articles and videos are shared, these days. And of course I love being able to catch up with friends who live in different cities & countries, and even friends in the same place, but who you only chat via a random message or two every now and then. Facebook especially, is great for this. Instagram too, if you want a sweet picture glimpse into your friends' lives.
But, I also love the feeling of not being connected, and being free from being able to be contacted. I didn't have a cellphone in 2008, or 2009, and when I came back from Japan in 2011 I had a super cheap phone, really only meant for phoning, so I didn't use it to check on anything in internet land. Remember how before cellphones were mainstream, if you were out for a walk, and someone phoned your house, they'd leave a message - thus leaving you alone to enjoy your walk in nature, and then connect with that person once you returned home? Well now, unless it is set-up, or discussed explicitly, it is often expected that people can get a hold of you 24/7. You can't say "hey man, sorry I didn't answer, I was out for a walk" without a discussion about how you turn your phones off for walks. People usually understand if you say this, but it is often not understood without having that discussion.
Before I had a cellphone that I used to text etc. on, I remember being out with friends who had more modern phones, and being so amazed that in the middle of a great conversation, people would just stop talking and check their text messages etc. It seemed so awkward, and strange.
Now though, if I don't pay attention, I find myself doing the same thing. And even if everyone else is doing it, it still seems rude to me, and it's something I'd rather not do myself. Cell phones have really changed our social interactions. While I love mine, and all the neat things it can do, it's hard to avoid the messages that pop up & flash, enticing me to check in on things in internet land. And lately I've caught myself on there a bit too much, so I decided to take a few days off for a reset.
Have any of you ever done this - tried a few days without the constant flow of feeds, updates, and statues? It's pretty amazing how quickly you adjust to not checking Facebook. Funnily enough, it's probably just as quickly as we all simultaneously adjusted to checking and engaging with all these various social media platforms.
I'd definitely recommend taking a day off or two, if you can, if you find yourself spending a good chunk of time in internet-land.
I was chatting with T the other day, about how grateful I was that when we went on our first big traveling adventure 8 years ago - backpacking from Argentina up to Mexico over 6 months - Facebook didn't exist. We emailed when we could, to keep our families up to date on our location (and believe me, they even have internet cafes in the middle of jungle towns in the Amazon). And we also keep a sporadic travel log online, showcasing some of our adventures & photos. But, we did not linger in internet cafes, or have our cellphones with us, spending a good chunk of our free time looking at facebook pages, and updating our statuses. When we were on buses, we looked out the windows! Or slept :) We took some photos, but after a few months, even slowed down on that, as we realized that it is harder to experience the moment as it is, if you are trying to capture it as well. We spend our time, enjoying ourselves and not really thinking of much else. We really got to simply indulge in a wonderful, long, adventurous time-out from normal life. It felt great!
Now I'm not saying if you are away traveling you should instantly unplug and not use any of those platforms to stay in touch. It's always wonderful & fun to see other people's travel adventures, or hear about them while they're happening. I'm not even sure that I would disconnect from Facebook etc. if I was traveling for a long time like that again. It was just simply different when were backpacking, because Facebook didn't exist at all. It's a whole new world, and it's a lot trickier now that we have all these things available to us, and cellphones that work all over the world, to decide what to do when were are off on an adventure.
I think for businesses, social media has an immense power and benefit. I'm not here to say it's evil - not at all. I have found & made, and also maintained awesome connections through these platforms and will forever be grateful for that. The connections I have made through my blog are some of my most valued ones out there! In fact, I think that social media has made businesses and companies better - by increasing the amount of viewers & followers companies/businesses/groups have, it has challenged them, and in turn encouraged everyone to elevate and improve whatever it is they are doing. There is a huge benefit in engaging with social media.
BUT, be aware. That's all. Be conscious of how much time you spend in internet land versus how much time you spend engaging in your life.
I am learning to navigate the space between these two wonderful worlds: the virtual & real spaces that we now exist in. I'm planning for at least a one social-media free day a week, and I already don't log-in during certain times of the day.
I'd love hear any suggestions & tips for how to harness the power of social media without getting sucked in too deep.
Big love to you, sweet friends.