The issue of social media is so significant and there are so many areas to cover that we need to devote time to it, and so from now on it’ll be one of the ongoing discussions/themes of my blog.
I recently decided to take some time off from social media. I’ve always believed it important we take regular sabbaths from social media – but I’d always struggled to really lay it down and actually do it.
Which is a good sign that I really needed to stop.
So with the help of a couple of accountability partners, I decided to spend 48 hours out of the digital realm.
Cut off. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Google + or e-mail, for 48 hours.
To exaggerate it’s impact, at the same time I had the week off work to rest at home, do some writing and chill out. I’d also given up DVD’s for lent, which meant I couldn’t escape into a work or a film.
Once it began, the one thing I immediately noticed was how
life had suddenly become.
I don’t know about you, but I have often found that even though there is no audio feed on Twitter or other social networks (surely just a matter of time before audio tweets isn’t it..?), that it can be a very noisy place – especially in the midst of social media conversations with followers and friends.
That was all gone.
The other thing that immediately became clear was how much of a distraction social media can really be at times. I wasn’t constantly looking at my phone or laptop to see if there were any new messages – and I couldn’t.
I was alone with my thoughts.
Now this can happen when you are interacting digitally, but without even the chance to dialogue with others at all, I now had no sounding board.
This led me to another realisation. Or rather, a couple of of questions.
How much of what I post is really necessary?
Then, the biggest, scariest question of all:
Why do I post what I post?
Often when you’re caught up in the buzz of social media and all the conversations and interactions that go on there, you post without really thinking why or what you’re saying, and it dawned on me how much I had done this.
The one overarching thing I learned through this experience however, was this.
I – we – can live without social media.
Life can go on without social media.
We can survive without social media.
I know, hard to imagine for some, but life does go on without social media. It did go on for billions of years before it too.
Now I am convinced completely the digital realm is real, and that the interactions and relationships we build there are completely real and have real consequences for our lives.
It’s an important tool/realm, and it is crucial that we make the best use of it – to bring truth, love and light to the world, to communicate the good news of our maker and His son to the world.
We must claim and redeem this realm, and use it for good.
But what we must recognise – and what a social media sabbath reminded me of – is that we can live without it.
We must be able and willing to lay it down.
Coming back to social media, after two days, did feel strange. I almost didn’t want to come back. I liked the space, the quiet, of not being in the digital realm. The freedom to spend time doing things without being distracted.
However, outweighing that, I remembered the interactions I have on social media, and the friendships I have built through that medium, that have been and continue to be so precious to me. I value them deeply. I also realise one of the ways I can have the most impact creatively and serve others is through interaction online (because of course, it’s real).
I enjoy social media and all the benefits it brings – and I wouldn’t want to have to live without it.
But now I know if it came to it, I could.
That it’s not vital to my existence.
As I have returned to social media, I now find myself more guarded about what I post. I find myself posting less but trying to make the most of each post. I appreciate the value of ‘less is more’ when in comes to digital interaction.
I have a far healthier perspective and approach to social media.
I appreciate how beneficial, how helpful it can be, to lay it down – even if only for a short time.
Personally, I treasure that time I had offline, the peace it gave me, the silence it brought to my life, and above all seeing all the benefits it has had.
I want to make it a regular part of my rhythm, although that may be a challenge.
I would encourage you all to do the same.
It will give you more space for quiet reflection, to ponder on what’s really important.
Above all, when you come back to it, you will value it all the more – and most likely use it more effectively.
So ask yourself:
Why do you post what you post on social media?
How important is social media interaction to you?
Do you take regular breaks from social media?
In what ways could you benefit from regular social media sabbaths?
Hi, I’m James and I’m a writer. I’m passionate about digital media, creativity & our divine journey. You can find me on Twitter and Facebook. To get regular updates on my blog & receive exclusive content subscribe to my newsletter.
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