Take A Digital Sabbatical From Facebook & Twitter

Posted: December 7th, 2010 | 14 Comments »

Do you ever log onto Twitter or Facebook at odd times and still see the same people online? It seems no matter what time I check Twitter, a lot of the same people are saying the same stuff they were saying last time I was logged in. How can users be online 24/7? I usually use Twitter during the morning while preparing for the day and then intermittently through the afternoon if something comes up that I think others will find useful, but I can’t be on it all day and night. There is only so much information that is A. necessary and B. can be stored in our brains, and I feel that Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. are just feeding us way too much random crap and scrambling our brains. Could all this information actually be making it more difficult to get anything of any importance done? Could it be making you sick? I think so. And here is what I recommend:

Take a break.

Even if it’s just one day a week, take some time off from your relationship with the online world. All those same people, Tweets, status updates, and random news stories will still be there in 24 hours. I promise. I do my best to take a digital sabbatical on Saturdays, because your brain needs space to stretch and clear out some space from the constant noise it is being bombarded with. Sure, I may answer an email or two on a Saturday, but I really am trying to stay away from the computer. This past Saturday I never turned my computer on or even entered my home office — it was lovely.

If you are truly interested in simplifying your life, getting rid of all the physical “stuff” only goes so far if you are just filling up your brain with a constant stream of noise and clutter. You need some virtual space too, and I am not talking about the RAM in your computer.

Think you will miss too much by taking a day off? Try it, just once. Do your regular Twitter and Facebook stuff one day and then take the next day off. When you log back in the day after, I can guarantee you that you won’t have missed anything of any importance. In fact, I guarantee the same people will still be there talking about the same topics. After all, if someone is personally calling you with news, just how important or time-sensitive can it possibly be?

Give your brain a break, it will thank you for it later.

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14 Comments on “Take A Digital Sabbatical From Facebook & Twitter”

  1. 1 Ralph@retirement lifestyle said at 5:38 pm on December 7th, 2010:

    Even more interesting you may find that people are more interested in what you contribute when they don’t see it 24/7. They will be wondering what you can be up to.

  2. 2 Jenn said at 8:25 pm on December 7th, 2010:

    I took 4 months off Facebook and it really enabled me to stop spending mindless time online. Now that I’ve come back to Facebook, I’m much better at limiting my time and putting more time into the real world

  3. 3 Ginger said at 11:16 am on December 8th, 2010:

    Good post! About a year ago I completely left all social networks other than facebook. I also got rid of two extra instant messaging programs, which I originally installed because many of my friends used different ones. I figured that if somebody wanted to talk to me that badly, they can just call or send an e-mail. It Turns they didn’t want to contact me that badly. No e-mails. No phonecalls. It sure is freeing though.

  4. 4 Sarah said at 6:20 am on December 9th, 2010:

    What a timely post!

    In only the past couple of months I came to that same conclusion.

    It got to a point where I felt that I was wasting my time…because I was! It wasn’t adding to my life. So now I just go to my inspiration blogs (like this one), get inspired and go about my day :-) Don’t miss it! I just check FB the odd time when there is actually something worth viewing.

    Great post as always!

  5. 5 ruzcarmen di romo said at 6:22 am on December 11th, 2010:

    Hah! I just got into the whole social network think, dinosaur me. That’s already one thing I should be thankful about. At least until last month. When I got the website, people told me I should get into FB, twitter, etcetera, etcetera, and I did. The experience was cool, mostly because I just started. Then I realized I spent more time in there instead of actually doing important tasks for my website. Ugh! So now I know better. Giving myself a break from the growing affinity is like being free from tons of unnecessary stress. Now I log in a few times a week, only when I need to post something important there, and just for 20 mins. tops. Thanks for this, just the same. Reaffirmed my stand. :)

  6. 6 aj said at 4:36 pm on December 12th, 2010:

    I did that for about a month year.For an entire month there was no face book on my laptop and phone.How did it change my life?In a lot of ways.Now I check facebook maybe once a day and that too for a few minutes.I spend more time doing things i enjoy!! everyone should do this once in a while.

  7. 7 LG said at 11:01 pm on December 12th, 2010:

    Definitely a worthy post and cause. I tend to try spending only 2 days a week online (at the most) and try living the rest of my life offline. Online is certainly addictive, for some or other reason…we need to break from it just as you suggested


  8. 8 Tanja from Minimalist Packrat said at 10:34 pm on December 13th, 2010:

    I’m on a permanent digital sabbatical from both facebook and twitter! I’m still young but I feel old-fashioned when it comes to some of the social networking sites. It doesn’t feel as straightforward as a good ol’ blog comment.

    Instead of spending time on all those social networking sites I like to head out to my favorite blogs, read some awesome posts, and join a permanent conversation.


  9. 9 Tina Portis said at 6:33 pm on December 25th, 2010:

    Great post! I took a six month hiatus from FB earlier this year. I only post every couple of days and downsized my FB acct. From almost 1k “friends” to 158. I deleted my twitter acct with over 3k “followers” and am so content with my new acct with 300 followers. We have to be so careful to discipline ourselves with Social Media. :)

  10. 10 Tony said at 12:36 pm on December 30th, 2010:

    Yep, it’s good to get away from the computer. I deleted my Twitter account back in September. I just found Twitter a bit creepy (http://www.regardsfromthebalcony.com/2010/09/something-creepy.html). In fact, I find spending too much time online a bit creepy. I try to get away from the computer as much as possible and get out in the fresh air. I do find FaceBook much easier to manage than Twitter though – and of much more practical use. It’s easier to control things so you don’t get swamped. I rarely spend more than 10 minutes on FaceBook, and don’t check it every day.

  11. 11 my life dream said at 12:18 pm on January 11th, 2011:

    I don’t know what the stats and research and scientific evidence on all of this is, but I just don’t think it can be healthy. All that input, input, input. Where’s the output, ying and yang and all of that. There needs to be balance. Also your body was made to move. If I can’t take a full day off at the very least I do 25 mins off, 5 mins off and go and do something physical. Creates a big difference.

  12. 12 Michael Tischer said at 3:13 pm on March 28th, 2011:

    Absolutely. Social Media is huge factor, but I’ll go further and say that any form of noise needs to be managed. It’s almost unfortunate that so much information is in front of us at any given time. This level of influx will result in subconscious stress and a hindrance to our ability to think in a calm state. Our best thinking is done with the noise removed.

    There’s options of course, as you lead to. We can choose to withdraw or we can choose to limit our exposure, but the result is the same. We need to be the ones to take action. In the long run I see social media and news aggregators shifting based on demand. People want rich, relevant data in manageable doses, not overwhelming numbers of updates.

  13. 13 Madhawa said at 7:44 pm on May 6th, 2011:

    I’ve been on many social networking and IM services for years. Sometimes connecting with the ones who I’m already friend with and new people, specially on Facebook and Twitter. But these websites only bring stress, depression to us in the end. Having a beer with friends or even alone is much peaceful rather than being among a virtual community sucking your leisure or valuable time to study/ work. So I deleted all my accounts except LinkedIn ‘cos I don’t hang around there much and it’s needed to my career. Also it doesn’t make me uncomfortable at all. Email is the only way to connect me now. I’m really enjoying a simple life for months now. Thanks for the blog post so others may find reality soon.

  14. 14 Pattie Larken said at 8:27 pm on August 24th, 2011:

    I was hooked myself and I eventually got a grip and started spending much less time on Facebook.

    I wish this app, Taking a Break (http://takingabreakapp.com/) was available when I was hooked, I just heard about it a week ago. Hopefully it will help someone.

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