Just over a week ago, I got a new iPhone to replace my old phone that gave up the ghost after valiantly sounding my wakeup alarm so that I wouldn’t be late to the office. Setting up my new phone, I made the decision not to install the Facebook and Twitter apps. I’ve now had more than a week off Facebook and Twitter, and it has been interesting.
To be clear, I am not completely off the platforms. I’ve just removed the apps from my phone. This has made a pretty significant difference. It turns out that I filled a lot of gaps checking Facebook and Twitter. Those gaps were much more noticeable this week. Any time I stepped into an elevator, I pulled out my phone, but there was no Facebook or Twitter to check, so I put my phone back in my pocket, and did nothing.
I learned that when one has a busy schedule, as I have had for the last several months, a few minutes of doing absolutely nothing can be refreshing.
The biggest downside to not having Facebook or Twitter on my phone was my inability to post photos. We have been having unseasonably warm weather here in northern Virginia. The last few days have approached 80℉, most unusual for February. While on my morning walk, I spotted trees in full bloom, and I snapped a photo, thinking it would make a good picture to post online. But I didn’t have the apps on my phone. Ah, well, I thought, I’ve got the picture, I can post it another time. I put my phone back in my pocket and kept walking.
Then, too, there have been a few times when something clever has occurred to me, something that I would have ordinarily posted to Facebook or Twitter. Instead, I just jotted it down in my Field Notes notebook, and moved on. The lesson for me: writing it down was enough to satisfy me.
One of the best parts of not having Facebook and Twitter on my phone was not seeing the barrage of political posts. It is no secret that we tend to create our own echo chambers with social media. In recent months, my echo chamber has become so loud as to be unbearable. This was certainly a factor in cutting back on Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t want to pull my phone out while relaxing between meetings only to be bombarded with political noise. I take it in smaller doses now, mostly from the newspapers I read.
Perhaps what surprised me most was that at no time during the last week did I feel compelled to download either the Facebook or Twitter because I just had to have them. Each evening, I’d pull up Facebook and Twitter, to see if I had any messages or comments to respond to. I’d spent less than five minutes skimming them, and then I’d move on to something else.
The fact that I am not as active on social media means that I am likely losing followers on Twitter, and Likes on Facebook, but I am willing to let those go. After all, I’m getting a little more peace-of-mind with a lot less social media. That seems like a good trade to me.