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Caught Up In the Social Cycle

Mama Knows It All

Social media is taking over my life. Well, not just social media. Emails. Websites. Blogs. The internet never sleeps, and that, coupled with my insomnia, have made me something of an addict. I crave and need information, all of the information, right now. My phone is constantly in my hand, the computer is always nearby, and my sense of FOMO (fear of missing out, a termed coined by someone that is not me) is being triggered far more frequently than normal. I starting to find myself getting lost in the labyrinth of the internet for loads of time every day. Clicking a link on Twitter can lead me to a pin on Pinterest (where I stay for 20 minutes), that pin can direct me to a blog (which I click around for 5 – 10 minutes), that blog sends me to Instagram to check out a pic (while I’m there I check out my stream and double tap a bit), until I eventually end up on  a Facebook page. Once I get to Facebook, I might as well clear the calendar for the rest of the evening.

It’s not the first time I’ve gotten caught up in the social cycle, and fortunately now I know exactly what I need to do.

I have to unplug.

Actually, I need to unplug.

The symptoms of being connected all of the time, at least in me, are quite detrimental to my overall wellbeing, as well as for my family. I’m tired and unable to focus because I’m overstimulated, and that leads to me being cranky. I’m wasting all of my good words on 140 character tweets and Facebook status updates, so my blogging and other writing work suffers. My wrists are sore from typing so much. And my family starts to get used to me being on the computer all of the time, and they start to expect it. That sucks.

I read an article about unplugging from social media by Baratunde Thurston in this month’s Fast Company magazine. In “#UNPLUG”, Thurston talks about how he disconnected from the internet for 25 days. No email. No social media. No helpful apps. And he survived. Here is a man whose friends call him “the most connected man in the world” who makes his living by sharing his thoughts online, and nothing happened when he signed off. So, what’s stopping me? Just like with anything, if you do something enough times, eventually it becomes a habit to break. I’m in it so deep at this point, I wouldn’t even know where to start.

Thank God for vacation.

Next week, my family and I are taking vacation. We’re headed to the desert where we plan to sit by the pool, read books, do crafts and play games. I’m going to pray, a lot, and listen. There will be lots of thinking, some writing (with a pen and paper), and tons of laughter. It’s going to be awesome! I have promised Terrence that I’m going to leave my computer in the room, and the phone will only be used for taking photos. I’m serious about this. There is no Klout score to measure how connected I’ve been with my family lately, but if there were, I guarantee I wouldn’t be receiving any Perks anytime soon.

There are so many really cool things happening online. I’ve met amazing folks through social media, had great discussions, learned how to do new things. Social media is all about sharing, but if I’m not doing anything interesting besides being online, then what is there to share? It’s time for me to unplug, y’all. Time to recharge, and get out of the social media maze. Am I worried that I’ll miss something while I’m offline chilling with my family this week? Yeah, a little bit. But I’m a lot more worried about what I’d miss if I didn’t log off.

Want to unplug but don’t know where to start? Check out this post on How to Unplug in 6 Easy Steps.

Michelle D. Johnson Garrett

Saturday 17th of August 2013

Enjoy your time off!!! I'm sure a sign that I probably need to follow suit is that my heart started doing tiny palpitations at the thought of completely unplugging. Sigh...off to check out the post you referenced. Thanks so much for this!

Jessica F. Hinton

Friday 16th of August 2013

I hope you enjoy your time off! It is hardly to unplug, but it's so necessary. I started unplugging more last year and my life has improved immensely. I still love to check in on Twitter and read blogs (mainly from people I like, like you!), but otherwise, I try to stay offline. I don't think I'll ever have a great Klout score or many Facebook or Twitter followers because of it, but I've learned to be okay with that. I know many others who can be more "in" than me and still lead balanced lives. I admire those people, but at the same time, I've learned to just go with what works for me.

You're a great (and smart) blogger and woman so just do what works for you! xo. Enjoy your vacay!

Arelis Cintron

Friday 16th of August 2013

Good Job! I know I didn't unplug fully on my last vacation. I stayed glued to my phone because it was new and it really was smart. Sometimes I think I should get a flip phone for my next upgrade but I text so much that would be wasting even more time lol

I need to go read that list.

Joyce Brewer

Friday 16th of August 2013

So proud of you. My husband complains about my laptop or iPhone always being within reach. If I say I'm tired, he says turn things off. He's so unconnected it's ridiculous. We're like the yin/yang of the internet.

Laila

Sunday 4th of August 2013

"There is no Klout score to measure how connected I’ve been with my family lately" WOW. How powerful is that. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. My vice has been twitter. The FOMO has led me to spend a lot of time connected to my phone and not as plugged into my real life.

With anything, we make time for things that we deem important. Sounds like I need to make a priority shift, huh?