On Ash Wednesday night I was cruising my social media channels and noticed a St. Monica school friend said she was giving up Facebook for Lent. That instant I decided to take off all of my social media apps from my phone. "Are you sure you want to delete Facebook?" the phone asked. Um, yep. "Snapchat?" Uh huh. "Instagram?" Really. And "Twitter, are you sure even Twitter, Aunt Nellie?" Yep phone, even Twitter. I consider myself a social media junkie so this would seem to be a hard and fast, fast. But by ridding myself of all of the temptations and distractions it was pretty easy. However, I couldn't give up Pinterest, because, let's face it, I have a problem. I did check-in to FB once a week after the first few weeks to make sure no one was trying to reach me and low and behold, my own father used FB to communicate via direct message. But it really wasn't as hard as I thought.
Full disclosure, I did Tweet during the #finalrose ceremony, because Ben. I loved this season of The Bachelor and Tweeting while watching TV is one of the most entertaining things ever. And this blog is connected to Twitter automatically so the posts were automatic. :)
- No one noticed I was gone.
- No one emails anymore which means no one really ever writes real letters anymore.
- People hate talking on the phone. My mom especially.
- I started blogging a little bit more.
- In general I had so much more time.
- My phone never died during the day.
- I didn't take pictures of food and I didn't care about taking photos of food. The immediacy of insta-everything makes the minute seem important. It's also basically free. I do love the church of paying attention. I do love a good roast chicken picture, but it just didn't matter. And I didn't miss it.
- I did not have fomo.
- After a two weeks on this fast I had no fear of missing out. Feeling disconnected hit hard week two. It was like a bad caffeine headache. During any fast you should pray when you are going through it. If I grabbed my phone I would say the Jesus prayer. Do I think social media is sinful? Not necessarily, but the distractions it was creating in my life certainly had sinful characteristics. I think sin is a separation from God. There were times on Instagram that I felt so connected to God and our glorious world through travel photos, flowers and general beauty but those moments were few and far between.
- My two week social media withdrawal was cured when I reached out in real life to friends I missed and needed to connect with for real. We wrote emails. Lots and lots of emails. I even got a real letter in the mail from one friend who I reconnected with via email.
- We also met with people in person. See last post for Carla's birthday. That was a direct result of asking friends to do stuff in real life.
- Social Media is a lazy man's letter. I tried to connect via email to some of my most fun social media people and it failed miserably. A post is like a quick blanket blast that tells the world what you are up to, who you are supporting and made me realize how complacent I had become with the quick fix of posting just to make sure I was out there. Not for my job, but for my social media peeps. But again, no one noticed I was gone, so there was a part of me that felt free and lifted of the pressure to post at all.
- Sharing on social media is like sex. The real brain crush was how addicted I had become to so many of these sites. Well, they are built to be addictive. Self disclosure was associated with the same pleasure as sex, food and money in this study. Well no wonder there are over 2 million articles about the addiction of social media just on Google. Brain crushing. Maybe that's why I enjoy blogging so much! Sharing is sexy.
- The universe sent me people I was supposed to be in contact with during this 6 week break. I kept running into people who I was "friends" with on social media, but who I hadn't seen in person for what felt like years. Thanks Universe.
- I was more attentive in meetings at work. I turned my phone to airplane mode more often during meetings and felt again, present. This article nailed it. Watch in your next meeting how many people are actively texting or reading emails. Is the meeting important if everyone is distracted? Now I'm seriously annoyed when I see someone texting or pull out there phone out in a meeting. The article associates the use of our cell phones in social and work situations as rude and obnoxious as smoking in public. Yikes. Watch at the next party or dinner you attend. Do people pull out their phones? If so are you engaging with your friends enough? Do you have interesting things to say? I think social media has mushed our brains a little bit.
- I couldn't remember peoples names. I used Facebook as a crutch for memory. I ran into people I see once every 5 years and totally blanked on their names. I think that is fair, but still, I noticed it a lot.
- I read books and did check into our book club group to make sure I had the right books cued up. But then weeks later, I totally missed the reminder note about our meeting and retreat. My friend texted me knowing I wasn't checking FB so again, the important information got to me in time. Thanks Susan.
- I got rid of clutter in the house. This extra time off of my phone made me think about the things that were important in the house. We donated lots and lots of stuff in the last six weeks.
- I lost weight. All this not looking at food pictures every day made me only eat when I was hungry.
- I listened to Podcasts. Lots of them. I'll do a whole post on my favorites.
- I learned to ask people what was happening in the news. I haven't read The Four Hour Work Week, but at the cider tasting in the last blog post, our friend Kevin talked about the need for media fasts and to ask people what's happening in the news. I asked our neighbor Pam one afternoon and she told me about the pollution in Stoney Run. I didn't realize that Nancy Reagan had died until five days later. That meant I never turned on the radio or TV in five days. Pure, ignorant, blissful freedom.
- I fell in love with the liturgy again. I began going to Rite I, 8:00 am services, every Sunday. After talking to my dad about it, he said he thought he would miss the music too much. For Lent, no music was okay and a perfect way to get spiritual nourishment.
- I found an adult forum studying the Bible, at an Episcopal church! There was time in my life to give back to God. I learned I just needed to wake up earlier to do so.
Sending lots of prayers for times of quiet and attentiveness this Holy Week.