It’s been one full week (and one day) without Twitter and I cannot express how amazing the feeling really is. It’s near-impossible to describe the sensation but what I’ve told a number of people who have asked me is this:
The silence is deafening and it’s absolutely wonderful.
It’s as if there was a cloud hanging above and within my own mind, like a secret fog, that has now been entirely lifted; the feeling of refreshment, of clarity, and perhaps most importantly, freedom, is undeniable.
I knew it was there but was unaware of how greatly it impacted my thinking and my world. The radical shift has been enlightening and I can’t imagine ever going back.
In fact, I realized this past week that I have completely gone null on personal social media usage entirely. There is not a single social media outlet that I actively contribute or use on a personal level.
I have accounts on most all of them, mind you, but I do not log in to actively “create conversations” or to share the profundities of my life (or non-profundities… like what I’m eating…). I keep these accounts and usernames around for three reasons:
- So that others don’t create fake / spoof accounts of me.
- So I can access developer tools for building apps / products and integrations.
- So I can login to web services and web platforms that do not have email as the username or ID.
On the first point I believe in actively managing one’s online brand as much as possible – I even have a fairly large blog series on this topic. I think ownership of your proper name on some of the big sites makes sense. I imagine I’ll continue to do this as new web services and apps are created but probably less-so than I have in the past.
Secondly, I still develop and experiment with new web services, APIs, and development tools for fun and for profit. On the latter point, for instance, I still need access to a number of these applications for Desk App. What I love about this is that I can support my customers without being prescriptive about my own use and perspective. I do want to stay somewhat relevant…
Lastly, there are some web services and applications that do not allow me to login without some integration with a social service. For instance, Medium.com only has access via Twitter or Facebook:
So for the few blog posts that I’ve written on my own Medium account I still need to use Twitter. That’s fine, I can do that. Whatever.
No More Social Media, Ever.
It’s hard to imagine that I’m writing this publicly but even after just one week of not using any social media services for personal use I’m had a hard time coming up with any reason that I ‘d ever give serious time to any new services that pop-up in the near and unknown future.
The feeling of freedom (and enlightenment) has been on an order of magnitude that is inescapable. Again, I apologize, but it’s just that hard to describe, but I’m telling you: It’s worth it. The reason is substantial.
You see, I’m learning, very (too) slowly at times, that my very best and most important work is not related to how many people I can impact through social media but rather my investments and commitments to the few people in my life that I can impact with maximal effect; those that I have direct and relationally-bound influence.
I am making a commitment to go deeper not wider in my life, more long-term returns than quick turn-around reactions and +1’s, “Likes,” or “Retweets” and any other signature for digital kudos.
It’s hard… but not. There are times where I really feel like I’ve positioned myself for failure in this world that focuses so much on digital influence, that I might be limiting myself for opportunity and options for my own future.
My father has always told me to keep the door wide open for new opportunities, to always have options, and in a way I feel like I’m closing those doors. Heck, many of the blessings that I’ve had over the years have been directly attributed to Twitter and social media – my current role @ The Iron Yard began via a tweet!
I just have to just trust that life will continue to move forward and that the opportunities that I’m supposed to have will present themselves in new ways. Turning off one (multiple) channel(s) gives me room to experiment with fresh ones.
A final thought that crossed my mind is not so much related to me but to you, my readers and those that were following me on a variety of social media platforms. A natural outcause of my decision to remove myself from social media is that I’ve also reduced the amount of noise that I’m creating for others.
In other words, by removing myself from these social networking platforms I am no longer contributing to the noise that is out there. Instead, in my very limited use a’la auto-tweeting blog posts I am pointing people to a better representation of my thoughts and perspectives instead of random drive-by tweets about where I am or what I’m eating or silly memes have been regurgitated 1,000 times.
I like the idea of not creating more noise for readers and followers and I feel like it’s my responsibility to keep that to a minimum. The vast majority of my near-60,000 tweets have been dumb and pointless. I apologize for that, I really, really do.
I hope that this year is different for you as it’s already been for me and that you’re going to look at everything that you do with a fresh set of eyes. If you want to do something different with your life, find work that is truly fulfilling, I hope you find the courage to do it all differently.