Impact of Social Media Withdrawal

social media heart w red xDuring the week of June 30th, I joined with Margaret Feinberg and others to log off and shut down with respect to social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere, and enjoy a week of silence.

Our hope reached to the edges of seeking to hear God in the silence when free of iPhones, tablets, laptops and other devices connecting us to a world filled with frenzy and constant news from family, friends and the world at large.

Today I am sharing what I heard in that week of silence.

Most of all, let me tell you: It. Was. Awesome!

My days felt free and my own. No “keeping up with” everyone posting on Facebook or Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong. I love connecting with family and friends and learning what’s going on in their lives. But I don’t really need it 24/7, nor do I need to sit down at the computer and before anything else, check in to see what’s new in social media.

While committing to social media silence during that week, some amazing things touched me:

  • Our days together as retired husband and wife had a better flow because I was more present in the moments of our lives, not glued to checking posts and “liking” or “retweeting” them.
  • While berry picking on Wednesday, I stood amazed in fields that stretched as far as the eye could see. I heard faint sounds of other families, and each of the birds singing to us. It was as if God was saying, “Listen to the peace around you.”
  • I listened in on a little boy and girl chatter about which berries tasted the sweetest, and which ones didn’t!
  • Nudges were more readily felt about what direction my writing might follow. My new mantra when sitting down to the laptop is: “God, what should I be writing today?”
  • I found myself selecting a variety of opportunities for prayer: passing a hospital praying for everyone there, whether employee, doctor, or patient; driving in traffic praying for new drivers; hearing children playing outdoors praying for their safety; thinking of family and friends throughout the day and lifting them in prayer; and far too many to list here.
  • The realization came to me that I generally felt better about what I accomplished in a day without the constant stream of news, emails, and social media.

As with so many experiments we try in life, there is always a bottom line. And the bottom line for me is this (note the underscore!):

  1. You may not see me blogging as often some weeks or joining as many link-ups as usual or reading posts as often.
  2. You may not find me on Facebook or Twitter for more than a couple of times a week.
  3. You may learn that I am not as overly concerned about my social media presence or my author platform (I’m told this is important to be a successful writer; I leave my success to God!).
  4. You may also learn that my feelings about what other bloggers or writers think about me doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it might as I tried detoxing from social media.
  5. You will soon learn that I am my happiest when unburdened by the need to be 24/7 on social media or blogging.
  6. You will soon learn that I’ve picked up a couple of recently tossed aside hobbies: knitting and quilting.
  7. You will also discover that I’ve begun to consider certain ministries in our church I had once thought I didn’t want to get back into.
  8. And there is probably more, but God hasn’t nudged me there yet.

Let me make one thing clear: What works for one doesn’t always work for another. I share here my experience and in no way do I intend to imply anyone else needs to do the same.

Allow me to encourage you to try taking a few days, a week, or whatever fits your schedule to place social media networking in the background, and listen for God’s urging in your life. What is He seeking for you in His Kingdom? What should you be focusing on each day?