First things first, if you clicked this link hoping to learn how you can quit social media altogether, kindly move along to the next link. You cannot quit social media. At least not in this day and age. Unless, of course, you have never entered the fray in the first place.
Moving on, you can take a social media break like I do every once in a while for various reasons. Mostly I just do it to look at things differently; to react to situations differently other than just tweeting about them.
Let’s get to it. This is how you can take that social media break, whether you work in the industry or not. It does not involve deactivating or deleting accounts which is pretty pointless in all fairness.
Decide you want to do it
You will have to make this decision in earnest. Resolve to go on holiday and mark the dates. Do you want to take the break for an hour, a week, a month? (Yes, there are those who are off social media only when they are asleep.)
Also, determine what exactly falls into your definition of social media. Facebook? Facebook and Twitter? Facebook, Twitter and…? Once you determine the timespan, figure out why you want to do it in the first place. Reason enough? We are good to go.
Log out of your Facebook and Twitter and whatever else you spend your time on. Log out on your favourite browser or mobile app. Alternatively, you can use Facebook as a page you manage so that you do not leave it unattended, especially if you are in the social media marketing department. That way, all your activities on Facebook will be for work and nothing else.
Also, disable all those apps you have set to launch when your computer starts up e.g. Google Talk and Facebook Messenger. Unpin that Tweetdeck tab on your Google Chrome and close it. You could unpin that Metrotwit icon and whatever else you may click on accidentally on your taskbar. And yes, you are a certified social media addict if you have all these going on on your desktop. Rejoice.
Unsubscribe from those daily bundles. Switch off packet data and Wi-Fi. If you cannot function in this proposed arrangement, probably because you need to check your mail and stuff on the Internet, you will need to do the following: Transfer your social networking apps to your memory card and… wait for it… remove it from your phone. Yes. Remove it and keep it safe because you will be needing it after the break.
Alternatively, you could simply stop reloading credit into your phone. Also, you could toss your phone out the window of a fast-moving car, provided you have a new phone planned on your budget come the end of the social media holiday. See? There is a wealth of strategies you can adopt.
Retreat to alternatives when the withdrawal symptoms start to show
You love motion pictures? Go hard on them. Watch movies and series during your free time and resist the urge to tell the whole world what you think of, say, Lupita Nyong’o’s acting and whatnot. Just watch and talk to people within inches of you about it, not strangers you’ve never met. Just this once.
Look around you when you walk or travel. I realized just the other day that I miss so much during my bus trips because I am always on my phone. If you think admiring the world around you is boring, get a book to read on your way to and from work. Lose yourself in it, just don’t miss your stop. If there is yet another unusual traffic jam on Waiyaki Way caused by a stalled vehicle near CCK, make a witty comment to the guy seated next to you. You may discover that you are not as introverted as you have always thought you were.
You can also decide to have your letting-off-steam avenue as another social networking site that your people don’t frequent. I realize that that goes against what I am trying to communicate but hear me out. Sites like Pinterest and Google+ are not your average social networking sites. They are more. And since they have the element of growing your business or helping you organize interests, they can be perfect spots for chilling out during your break.
|Yep, even Honda campaigned for social media intermission a while back.|
So you cannot talk to your best friend any more because you are so used to tweeting and chatting each other up on Facebook Messenger and Google+ Hangouts. What next? Call, call, call! You know, that thing you used to do for hours on end back in the day when you got your phone. Wipe away the cobwebs on the calling button and get talking. With your mouth. It is refreshing. You may run out of words to say because you are so used to typing and hiding behind WhatsApp smileys but it gets better eventually.
If you are not really prepared to go full throttle on an actual break, you can go on a mini-break, especially when you need to focus on a project and all you keep doing is chatting people up. Just turn off the chat features across-the-board.
There are social networking sites that make it very difficult to go on breaks; read Google+. 😀 But, you can go on a Hangouts break by signing out of it. You can also decide to ignore that notifications bell. I know someone who does it pretty well. I tried to ignore it on my break and failed miserably in a matter of hours.
There you have it. The ball is in your court. I promise you will come back feeling a lot better.