Reality check.

If you’ve read any of my previous Breakfast blog posts (or, if you know me at all), you know, without a doubt, that I’m a Twitter freak (or geek, however you see it).  Twitter, for me, is an outlet, a way to keep up with friends’ lives that are back in the Land of Freedom, a news source, and so much more.  And for the girl who works at least 6 days a week and schedules every minute of her evenings to take advantage of her free time, this microblog is one of the best ways for me to stay up to date without slowing down…

I’ve never really known the meaning of “slow down” or ” take it easy”.  I’ve heard my boyfriend mutter, “I wish you knew how to take your foot off” under his breath so many times.  I spend more time scheduling than doing the things I have planned.  I don’t really know how to switch off on the weekends or in the evenings.  I try and do/balance everything (work life, love life, social life…life life) at the same time with my iPhone in my right hand.

I’ve known this about myself forever but have never really given it a good think…until I picked up a copy of this week’s Stylist in the tube station on the way home from work last night.  I’m pretty certain they wrote the cover story, “Tweet Freedom”, for girls living the Marge life.  The cover reads “Tweet, tweet. Stop tweeting, start enjoying.  How to learn the art of living in the now.”, pretty much well summing up the article.

The authors argue that our society has a growing addiction to technology, multitasking, connectedness, and social media and that our immersion in all of this, at once of course, inhibits our ability to live our lives fully.  Apparently, to Foster and Walker, our society is becoming so distracted by the future, the lives of others, or another task that we’re doing simultaneously that we’re not living life in the now or fully engaged in anything we do – “Don’t tweet it.  Live it.”  The scientific research the authors cite relates the ability to sensually enjoy more moments in our lives to increased happiness.

Don’t get me wrong.  At this moment in my life, I’m very, very happy.  But, I can’t help but think, “Are they talking to me?  Am I missing something?”.  I like being happy, and I’ll take any opportunity to get more happiness in my life.

Toward the end of the article, the authors mention a movement begun by Eric Yaverbaum and Mark DiMassimo in New York called The Offlining Initiative, which encourages people to switch off from social media on 10 occassions between now and next Valentine’s Day.  This inspired me to experiment with my own little Offlining Initiative, or a temporary cleanse if you will (will you?), just to see what kind of difference it makes in my life…a life that, for both personal and work-related reasons, is practically run by social media.

Here are the terms of my Social Media Cleanse: (1) For 1 week starting today, (2) No Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, or LinkedIn – unless mandated by my bosses for necessary work reasons, (3) iPhone for texts and calls only – emails to be sent ONLY from a computer, and (4) no iPod whilst in transit – they mention in the article that you tend to zone out and miss out on loads during your every day commute.

I’ll be back in a week to report how life changes, if at all.  I’m guessing majorly.  On the heels of posts by Neil and Seb, I’ve been wanting to write my own little opinion piece on social media, and I’m hoping that this little experiment of mine will give me some ammo to write something strong.  I have a good feeling that I’ll be back with a passion and wanting to be more connected than ever in a week’s time, but we’ll see…

  1. February 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Love this, Maryann! This takes courage (sad, but I’m dead serious!). Interested in the connectivity cleanse – and if/how you might find yourself getting the latest news differently (perhaps talking to other people IRL about it?!). Will also be cool to hear about the lack of iPod … as I’d imagine there might be so much to pick up around you.

    I have to confess that in order to “take it easy,” I have to schedule it ;).

    Anyway, great post! Looking forward to the results. xoxo -Lindsay

  2. Libby
    February 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    LOVE that you are doing this ‘Social Media Cleanse.’ It’s going to be so hard for you, I know how much you love love love your tech/social media outlets! Best of luck, hope it goes well! If you report back that you survived in one piece (you’d be my hero!), I may be inspired to start a tech cleanse of my own …


    P.S. Even though I don’t have the patience to ready your every tweet, I love your blog updates here so keep them coming (and those reminder e-mails)!

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