This is the background and journey of a mid-20s young lady who gave up all social media activity for 30 days.
Yes, she survived!
Thirty days ago, I randomly decided to remove my personal self from all social media platforms. Well, most social media platforms. I also decided, that because of the way of the world, and the type of freelancer that I am (I’ll get to that in a second) that I couldn’t remove my business from social media. So, I posted and interacted ONLY with my business posts, prospects, and existing clients. Also, for the sake of my current aspiration to further my career, I remained active on LinkedIn. Here’s my journey of how I decided to redefine and refocus my life.
As a 26 year old, I am apart of the Millennial Generation. Depending upon who is reading this; that could mean a plethora of things. One being that Millennials grew up with modern technology and are inherently spoiled to the luxuries of technology and science. Two being that Millennials are some of the most spoiled, yet giving group of people to date - 84% of Millennials give back to charity. Whatever your opinion is, Millennials Rock! That being stated, we are definitely accustomed to technology being apart of our daily lives. As the tech world has expanded, our “need” for constant interaction with technology has drastically expanded as well. Contrary, I am a early 90s baby. *Sticks out chest with pride* I have remembrance of street light curfews, Atari, double dutch, and floppy disks, just to name a few. My extracurricular time was not spent on the phone or playing video games for hours; I actually went outside and found things to do. And then I turned 10 years old. My world was flipped upside down! Someway, I had a giga pet, 2-way pager, and a brand new boombox cd player with about 20 hip-hop, r&b, and pop CDs. Let me tell ya’ll, I thought I was all that and a bag of chips! As I was transitioning to pre-teen years, I yearned to keep up with my older brother, who at the time was 14 years old. So, having the latest gadgets, and knowing all the words to the latest Aaliyah song, was what I lived for.
Fast forward twenty plus years. I am now a Multimedia Specialist and a Freelance Photographer. My life revolves around technology and media. I would like to credit this love-hate relationship to my Grandparents, Al and Lena. See, growing up in my household was tough. I am the youngest of my siblings, and often felt like an only child. So, to occupy my time in the Cold Chicago Winter months, my Grandfather saw that I was obsessed with figuring things out. So, he got us a computer, with INTERNET. I had educational games, chat rooms, and Microsoft Word. My brother, was stuck to the phone or Nintendo 64, so I was stuck with the computer. I remember spending hours on the computer. To make things worse, my Grandmother was Videographer and Photographer, more like a historian, but she took her cameras everywhere, and captured everything. I’m not sure if they knew what kind of seed they were planting in me, but as I reflect, it is evident that this seed was destined to blossom.
Now that you have background on my story. Let’s discuss the specifics of our current generation. The creation of social media, allows us to connect with people all over the world, let those people know what we’re doing, and everything in between. Subconsciously, this information builds in our psych, and often plays out in our minds. Successes and failures. Happiness and disappointments - all often find their way to our social media profiles. Displaying our sense of humanity and personal information. Which in return results in the idea of “Keeping up with the Jones’ “. You find yourself doubting your current situation, just to remain relevant to the next person; and you also find yourself invested in what everyone is doing. Investments are critical on the return - ultimately the return should be your quality of life and how you want to spend your life. Too much time invested in the wrong things, can lead you to a natural disaster.
I’m human. I make mistakes. I’m not perfect. I realize those things about me. Therefore, I woke up one day and said, whatever is taking up too much of my time and not contributing to my personal success, it has to go TODAY. So, I deleted Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Snapchat from my cellphone. Signed out of all accounts online and on my desktops; and began a self-discovery 30 day journey of “The Month I went Social-Media-Less”. Earlier I mentioned that I remained relevant on my business pages and LinkedIn. Here’s why:
My Freelance Career can’t stop because of my personal endeavors. Divide and conquer is the name of the game.
My target audience was not/probably will never take a 30 Day Sabbatical from Social Media.
A wise tale once said, ‘one who doesn’t grind, won’t shine’
LinkedIn is a social networking platform dedicated to building and maintaining careers. I NEVER post anything personal; and most of my connections are Mid-Level to Senior individuals in their respective companies. So, remaining active on LinkedIn was subpar. Also, LinkedIn was taking up about 2% of my time weekly - which was a problem! How can I grow my career, if I’m not interacting with the one social media platform that could possibly get me to my next step?!
Removing those platforms from my immediate psych was my first step to redefining myself. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Snapchat are the only profiles where I post personal endeavors, and have the largest following. LinkedIn is where I spent the least amount of my time, and since I am on a road to building my career, I immediately began using LinkedIn on a daily basis.
And the Journey Continues
As a Multimedia Specialist and Photographer, my daily news and updates naturally derive from social media platforms. Over this hectic month, I made it a point to indulge in more daily news tv, radio, and online outlets, such as Huffington Post & CNN. Because of our current political status, it only took about 3 or 4 days, before I couldn’t take anymore of the word “Trump”. So, not only was I not receiving relative news via social media platforms, I turned off the worldly news because of the content. February was a difficult month, to say the least. So, to compensate for my time, I heavily indulged in Music (my first love), Trips to the Gym, and daily career reads and networking.
Personal Development is a trait that everyone should possess and look forward to redefining at some point in their lives. This 30 Day Sabbatical was my way of personal development, my way of gaining clarity over my life, and most importantly done MY WAY. I’m not a follower of the worldly trends, and I’m not a believer in things should be done a certain way. I believe that people should do whatever they think is best for their lives and situations. Over the month that I went social media-less, I realized a lot of things.
We don’t call each other anymore and share news. It is implied that once you post something on social media, the news is spread out for the masses to know. With this ideology, I missed out on a lot of current events and news - just within my close friends and family.
Social Media was really consuming about 35 - 45% of my day. Major Fail!
I heavily rely on social media for news. Another major fail!
All in all, this 30 Day Journey helped me to refocus back to the basics. I suggest that every Millennial (especially those heavily involved in social media) take this cleanse every few months. This process will alleviate unnecessary drama, remove your knowledge about other people's lives from your frontal psych, and will force you to receive news from other outlets.
As a Millennial, you remember the basics of life. So, why not take a step back and reflect, refocus, and redefine yourself every now and then?!
"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun"
Mary Lou Cook
xoxo - Leslie