36 hours and still standing: the social media detox report

Well, I made it through one full day without Facebook and Twitter.

And it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

I have to imagine some of you are rolling your eyes right about now, saying, “Well, duh. Why were you making such a big deal of it in the first place?”

Or maybe, “Yeah, but it’s only been one day.”

And it’s true. It’s only been one day, and it was a Saturday. That meant I was pretty busy – yoga in the morning, the entire afternoon scrubbing toilets and vacuuming and picking up blocks while Pat took Noah out and Rory napped, dinner with Pat’s parents and “Behind the Candelabra” on DVD. (Good movie, with Rob Lowe as Liberace’s plastic surgeon as the highlight. Holy cow.)

It didn’t begin that easily. At midnight on Friday I took one final spin through Facebook and Twitter and then quickly deleted both apps from my phone. I was immediately struck with a feeling of loneliness, like a scientist dropped off at an Antarctic research facility watching the helicopter fly away. Like Walter White on his first few minutes alone in that cabin in New Hampshire, completely cut off from everyone he knew.

Breaking Bad: Granite Slate

And then I went to bed.


When I woke up, my fingers were twitching a little, eager to check in with the world. Muscle memory, I suppose.

But I didn’t. And to my surprise, instead of feeling anxious wondering what I was missing in the world of tweets and status updates, I felt…free.¬†Like I had just set the “out of office” message on my work email and jetted off to a country with no cell phone reception. Which is interesting, since unlike work, I consider perusing and participating in Facebook and Twitter a leisure activity.

But maybe they have more of a grip on me than I realized.

This “vacation” feeling is extremely welcome. I’ve been in something of a rut lately. My life has fallen into something of a predictable routine: diaper changes and grilled cheese sandwiches. Carseat straps and Curious George. Shoes and socks and coats and hats and tote bags. Facebook and Twitter and Netflix and the eleven o’clock news and bed.

I’ve grumbled about it to Pat, basically assigning him the responsibility to make our lives more interesting and exciting.

You can imagine how well that works.

Because obviously, I am the only person who can make my life more anything. And it turns out that by giving up Facebook and Twitter, I’ve accidentally introduced some novelty. It’s not that I don’t miss social media, but by not having them to routinely turn to, I’m forced to do things a little differently.

I was waiting in the check-out line at Target today, and rather than perusing status updates, I just…waited. It crossed my mind that besides affecting my attention span, the ability to constantly distract myself online may also be decreasing my patience. God knows if there’s one virtue I’m short on these days, it’s that one. Here’s to hoping I’ve found a small way to increase my reserves.