It’s amazing how much a change of atmosphere for two weeks can change your attitude toward something. That happened to me last month when I went on my honeymoon, the first vacation I’ve had in three years.
It’s not every day a Pennsylvanian such as I has the opportunity to spend a week and a half in Hawai’i. To make sure I enjoyed every possible second I could on the tropical islands, I deleted all my social media apps. I was determined to dive into the digital world as little as possible, juicing every moment on those islands. It became one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. If you have the money, the experience is worthwhile. The lack of a cyber world calling for me to indulge in my own self-expression and vanity was glorious.
Returning home is bittersweet. Coming back to what is familiar to me is relieving, but Hawai’i is gorgeous, and I’ll miss those islands. Hawai’i quickly left my mind, however, as a realization hit me.
My desire to check my social media had disappeared. Thinking about possible tweets and posts felt like a chore. Even now, three weeks later, social media seems like a time-waster.
Now, you could interpret what I have written in multiple ways. Good, bad, dorky, crazy, whatever. People in my close circle know I have never been crazy about social media. To be fair, social media is an invaluable tool to many professionals and a lifestyle for others. It is an amazing tool for communicating and promoting.
The other side of social media, however, includes bullying, judgment, self-absorption and other horrible traits I won’t mention. Anyone can be sucked into joining the toxicity of Facebook comments, if they aren’t careful.
With all this in mind, plus my experience from Hawai’i, I hope my story to you is a reminder that social media should be used in moderation. Use it too sparingly, and you’ll miss out on culture. Use it too much, and it will become a part of you that people despise if they see it.
I think most people understand this, but some still are not doing what should be done with all things in life: take a break. Even those whose profession involves social media should take breaks. Professionals take vacations from their jobs every year. Or, at least they should. Healthy people don’t eat dessert every day. Even professional video gamers are beginning to take breaks to exercise, because they know the importance of stepping away from something. Well… that and being physically fit.
While social media is an important tool and connector for us, it has its downsides, and to stay away from those, one must learn to detach themselves for a time. Now, that doesn’t have to equal to staying completely off for two weeks straight. My suggestion would be to try staying off social media for a day or two and evaluate how you feel afterwards. Maybe you’ll discover the same feelings I had.