Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What I Learned From Social Media Sabbatical

Nothing like going on a social media sabbatical, to put one in touch with the magnitude of one's attachment to the online world. Indeed, I learned much during this past week away with intentionally no ready access to my usual hangout places. 

First, I got to relive what it's like to have long islands of time, unbroken by online chatter, and the peace and greater presence that comes from shedding that extra layer of activity. I found out that I could live very well, better in fact without being 'hyperconnected'. I came back, determined to no longer break up my day with such interruptions. I still want to maintain all my online friendships, only assign them less time and contain them within one, two at the most small windows each day. 

Second, I realized the importance of reflecting on the underline impulse that moves me to be online so much of the time. At the root, lies the hindrance of anxiety. Some folks smoke a cigarette, others drink a glass of wine . . . I relieve my unease with tweets and updates. In the process, the opportunity for mindful exploration gets lost. A better way lies in using the urge to connect as an object of meditation. 

As 'Was Once', one of the readers of this blog commented, "On your death bed, you won't say I wish I had been online more. You will search desperately for those quiet, immensely fulfilling breaks into the nature of being. I loved every minute away from this machine on my ten day, so much so I will go again." 'Was Once' is right. On my death bed, I will also look back and take an inventory of the few loving connections I made in real life. That I know, from having sat at the bedside of the dying, and heard them each time reflect on their missed opportunities to connect with their loved ones, and also the joy from having succeeding at loving at least one person.


  1. Great Insights
    I would write more but I need to return to my Facebook,Shareaholic,Instapaper,and # Twitter accounts.

  2. Yes! Thank you. And here's a TED talk that addresses some of this, too (ironically enough, though technology): http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html

  3. What a wonderful idea. We put limitations on our daughter's exposure to television and video games, etc., but we place no limitations on ourselves. Thank you for an enlightening post!

  4. I raised my children without TV and never regretted it. It was much more difficult setting limits on their Facebook use . . .