Effective immediately, I am deliberately refraining from the use of social media (Twitter, Facebook, and many others) with the intent of measuring the quality of my creative production, my level of motivation, and the degree of originality in my work.
There. I’ve written it. You, as my reader, are my witness. The next time you see me on Twitter could be… well, I don’t know. At the minimum, a week. An entire week without social media. Have I gone mad? Of course I have, but please read on and I’ll tell you the details.
Why would I consider such a thing?
Social media has always nagged at my subconscious as being one of those things that could be affecting us in very similar ways that eating fatty foods does. It changes our bodies and minds in very tiny ways that cause ripples across the ways that we think and function.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think that there are definite upsides to social networking. Being able to connect with peers and share useful information (as well as pictures of cats) is very nice. It binds us together, and makes us a community.
But are we so addicted to social networks that we’re not really using them the way we think we are? Perhaps the only way to truly find out how you are using something is to take it away for a week and see what part you are missing the most. The results may be surprising, and revealing.
Genesis of the experiment.
It began with a casual Twitter post from Jesse Gardner, who suggested the idea of “taking a vacation” from social media. When I read that, I thought “Why not?”. I’d been considering this experiment for some time and saw an opportunity to try it out. So I replied, and said that I was going to take a week off. Starting immediately. Chris Harrison then replied in agreement. It was as simple as that. Done.
A few short emails later, and the three of us had agreed that we were going to take time away from our networks and see how it goes.I might even take it further than a week, if I find myself feeling better about things.
What will I do instead?
You can’t have a proper experiment without a clarification of rules. What I can and cannot do should be documented as a way of better understanding the necessary limits.
No access Twitter, Dribbble, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Not even to post a link. Email, texting, blogging are all allowed as they are not a part of this experiment. I will also continue selling items on my personal storefront, and in Creative Market.
What happens next?
Measuring results from this test are going to be difficult, if not impossible. I’m sure that there is someone out there far more skilled in psychological studies than I am, but I’m going to be listening closely to how I feel emotionally, the disconnect could leave me feeling left out, and no longer in the loop (which is part of the point). Other things, such as motivation, personal productivity levels, and sense of worth will tell me if this is a good thing or not.
In a week, I will post an update to let you know how insane I’ve gone. And, if you feel that you need to reach out to me, you are always more than welcome to send me an email. I may need all the support I can get.
Speaking of support: I had mentioned above that Jesse Gardner and Chris Harrison were joining me on the week-long sabbatical of social media. They very well might have they’re own agenda that differs from my own. They may be looking for different results. I cannot speak for them. Nor can I speak for you. But if you are reading this, I encourage you to strongly consider taking a week off. Think of it as a vacation. Will you go mental, or will you write a book/illustrate a beautiful masterpiece/build a killer new website/design an awesome application… what will you do with all of your newly found free time?