Experiments Life

Digital detox — 3 weeks off social media

I did an experiment – deleted my Instagram and Facebook apps for the most of January. For no higher reason other than to take a break – I felt like life got too cluttered (or I got too addicted). I kept messenger, email and other practical stuff, just turned off notifications. 

For those who don’t know – I run a digital agency, I work online, I work from home (or anywhere else) and I’m in charge of my own schedule – all of the above comes with its benefits and price, sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it – but that’s a whole different rant for another day. 

So, here’s what I discovered in 3+ weeks without social media. 

Day 4. 
I’m locked at home with no access to social media. Fourth day in a row. I feel that life is passing by. People say they feel FOMO on Facebook – I feel FOMO without! 

Day 7. 
I’m having a very real withdrawal. A withdrawal from a very intense life. Most of my ’social’ life I followed ‘cool’. But ‘cool’ lost value – you really don’t need to be anyone special anymore to be cool. Having a fun lifestyle and consistently posting about it is enough. (Damn, I sound like my late grandpa). 
I feel low on ambitions. I don’t feel like doing anything. Somehow it worries me. 
Actually, It’s always been about lifestyle – cool lifestyle is what people want. The rest is there just so you can pay for it. Nobody really cares about jobs.

Day 10. 
I’m massively bored. 

Day 11.  
I got sick. Medicated, so i can function, but still contagious I now don’t go out at all. I’m so bored I did my taxes.  I got to my backlog.

Day 13.
I started reading news! I got this uneasy feeling that I’m falling behind on design. My industry is so fucked that you always have to be on top of the trends to stay relevant – you take a year or two off and you are out of business… I realized that I consume most industry news through facebook – 90% of my feed is design blogs and art magazines. 

Day 14.
I actually miss any news. It’s only been two weeks and there’s a plane shot in Iran, Megxit in Britain, Government resigned in Russia, US on the brink of Impeachment… wow.

Day 15.
There’s a squirrel that comes to our backyard every day at the same time. We named him Frank the Fat. He sits on the little chair we have right outside of our back door and waits for someone to pay attention. If no one does, he starts climbing up the door net – this makes a bit of noise – enough to hear from the inside. He is the only one who takes food from our hands. 

Day 18 
Everybody forgot about me. Nobody is bugging me anymore. Even when I check my messenger I see no messages. Did everyone forget about me?

But also – thanks god! I don’t care to check my phone anymore – 6pm and I’m out! I work on the internet, I don’t want to go there after work. Work life balance, babies! 

Day 21.
Modern social media is extremely useful. It’s good for staying in the know, connecting with friends, building and maintaining a personal brand, for events, for promos, for business – you name it. I don’t miss it though. It’s so time-consuming, addictive, and vicious on many levels – I almost wish I had somebody else to do it for me…
In 3 weeks I missed dozens of invitations to Pages and Groups I don’t care about, a few links from my mom, that I almost never open anyways (sorry mom), a couple of good events (damn). My friends and important connections found ways to contact me outside of Facebook (thanks friends!) 

I got A LOT more focused on work. AND I felt like I had more spare time left. I started boxing my hours to a more traditional +/-10 to 6 and then calling it a day. 

I also listened to audio books, got back to a personal art project I had been neglecting, played a million sudoku games and other stuff and other things.

Beginning of February – my digital celibacy is over. I reinstall Instagram, I reply to all the messages, I like all the posts that I’ve been tagged on, I respond to all the comments. And then I close it. 

I’m sitting under a palm, looking at the ocean on the horizon, typing yet another work email. Toronto is under siege of a massive snowstorm. In the earlier days I would have stolen the pretty postcard-worthy view to my Instagram with a cute #myofficeforfebruary #mexico humblebrag. 

“I’m so cold. All the time” – texts my little sis from Irkutsk, Siberia and attaches a photo of an ugly frost-covered shuttle-bus floor. 

“I really hate winter too”,  I say.