It's been a hot minute since I showed up in blog land at The Butterfly.
I could go into the details of why the hiatus.
But if you've been around long enough on my socials or emails.
You would know.
And if you are new here.
I'm sure from 2020 until well, now.
Life has been a whirlwind for you as well.
So enough of that.
Onto the actual topic at hand.
Four (or was it five years ago now?)
I started a new tradition in my life.
In the form of an experiment.
A "Social Media Detox".
While working in a full time role in online marketing.
I decided to delete ALL my social media apps.
For 12, 13 or 14 days - while we were on office holidays.
And observed what I experienced.
This has become a yearly holiday tradition.
From Christmas Eve until the first or second week of January.
I disappear offline.
No Facebook, no instagram, no messenger.
Just texts, Telegram and that's it really.
But last year (after a whirlwind year).
I clocked off even earlier.
15th December 2023.
And remained offline.
Until the 15th of January 2024.
And there were a few things I noticed.
That didn't make it into my first blog.
So I will share them here.
Tea or coffee in hand?
Let's dive in.
A Short Reflection
30 days is the longest rest I had from the online world since January 2014.
I deactivated my Facebook for four months then.
But back then.
I didn't have a brand, business, books or an online presence and identity.
I could allow myself that freedom.
To be honest.
Five years ago when I first started the holiday experiment with a social media detox.
I had no idea that it would become a yearly tradition I looked forward to.
And less so.
I had no idea just HOOOOW MUCH I would enjoy disappearing offline.
(Like, who even AM I, right?)
(Not normal millennial behaviour).
(But I digress).
So with this past month off.
What did I observe/experience and learn?
1. The online space can get heavy.
Especially the past few years with everything happening with the agenda, politics and virtue signalling.
There is a lot of content readily accessible on psychology and trauma and healing.
And sometimes.... it's just TOOOOOO much and toooo heavy.
Or the way that the creators are transmitting their energy.
Is simply from a dark and heavy space.
And as consumers, that is how we receive it.
Being offline gave me a breather.
It allowed me to recalibrate my nervous system.
To rest in stillness, away from cycles of creating and consuming content.
And returning, it has helped me see some accounts from a refreshed lens.
Making me wonder if I still want to consume their content.
So upon returning.
I have decided to mute some accounts.
And unfollow others.
And ridiculously limit my own presence online.
And only pour from the saucer.
And not give too much.
2. The real world is beautiful.
When was the last time you smelt a rose?
Or watched a butterfly flutter?
Or went for a hike, or to the beach without thinking.
"I have got to document this and share it with the world"?
When was the last time you enjoyed washing your dishes, or cooking a meal?
When was the last time you enjoyed a meal with your family or friends WITHOUT scrolling your phone?
If you can't remember.
It's time for a social media detox.
You can thank me for it after.
The real world is beautiful.
If you actually live in it.
Otherwise, you begin to believe that the virtual world is the real world.
And that is when you're really doomed.
3. Scrolling is just as bad as being an alcoholic or drug addict.
I said it.
Because it is.
The premise is such.
We scroll to numb pain.
We scroll to pass time.
We scroll to seek validation EXTERNALLY.
That can ONLY be found INTERNALLY.
The 30 days I spent offline.
I had to reach inside.
I was free from distractions.
That encroaching discomfort?
Had to feel it.
That niggling truth?
Had to face it.
That (fill the space here)?
Had to experience it.
Social media, just like anything in life.
Is a double-edged sword.
It's how you USE the sword that brings its value.
If you are finding yourself scrolling without absorbing.
Or without having the capacity to absorb.
It's time for a rest to recalibrate yourself.
It's time to reach within.
And find the answers that are already inside you.
4. Privacy is power.
You know what?
You don't actually have to comment on every social issue.
Or share every opinion.
Or share all of your behind the scenes with the world.
See... what you don't share, people can't ruin with their judgement.
Keep parts of your life private.
5. Your online presence is an extension of your identity.
But not the full expression of it.
Look, I'll be the first to tell you that my social media is curated.
My stories are less curated than my posts (because they disappear after 24 hours).
But my feed: I work on it.
So I CONSCIOUSLY choose what parts of my thoughts, my story and myself that I share with you.
Every account you follow is the same.
You experience the tip of the iceberg of who they are.
You see a SNIPPET into their life.
But not the full masterpiece.
Just a brushstroke in the making.
Just the trailer, not the full movie.
If you focus too much of your time on creating your ONLINE identity.
But not on sculpting your OFFLINE character.
You are running away from yourself.
And are essentially living in a virtual simulation.
And trying to fill a void that will never be filled with likes, filters or followers.
Your identify, personality and self can only be filled offline.
In the time and spaces where you show up in real life.
And in communion with others.
Your online presence is an extension of all that but not your full self.
Nor should it EVER be.
Because the moment you make your online presence your entire identity.
You are even MORE of a prisoner to the matrix.
The quote by Abraham Lincoln comes to mind here:
"Character is like a tree and reputation is like a shadow.
Reputation is what we think of it, and the tree is the real thing."
If you attach too much of your identity to your online presence.
You will believe everything that is said, written and expressed about you.
On the platforms.
Focus on creating a solid character.
Focus on the tree.
After all, the shadow always moves.
Depending on where the sun is shining.
But the tree?
The tree is grounded.
The tree is real.
The real is stable.
Your character needs to be like that tree.
So that your reputation.
Or what others speak about you.
Can fall off your leaves.
Like water off a ducks back.
6. People forget you.
I know... I know.
But it's an observation.
And I had to document it.
Because it's true.
People do forget you.
They may miss you but they also forget you.
They forget that they have your number.
They forget all the other ways they can get in touch.
It's a "out of sight out of mind" situation.
And in some ways, it's quite sad.
Being offline for a month showed me EXACTLY WHO showed up in my life.
And who didn't.
Who remembered that they had other ways to contact and communicate with me.
And who forgot.
Following people online and communicating online may be convenient.
And it's also not the only way to connect.
And there you have it.
Thank you for taking the time out of your life.
To read my mini essay.
I hope you found some insight from it.
If you did, please add a comment below.
Or email me.
I'd love to hear from you.
I am back online!
And with much to do.
I look forward to you joining the journey that will be 2024.
It is going to be a big one!
I hope you're excited.
With essay observation vibes,