The urge to check Twitter is an insatiable itch just begging to be scratched. My relationship with Facebook, one that goes through many ups and downs, is crying out for attention. Pinterest, the family dog of social media with its unconditional love and loyalty, is whimpering from outside, begging to be let back in.
The itch won’t be scratched, my relationship can not be mended, and the family dog has been banished to the backyard.
Social media is now dead to me.
On my smartphone at least.
The catalyst behind me removing these platforms from my phone was a necessary measure I felt I needed to take as a husband and a father. ”Everything in moderation” is just a phrase that sometimes leaves my mouth, but in no way have I ever been able to practice it. I kind of have an “all in” personality, and upon reflection, realized I simply was not resisting the call of social engagement coming from my phone.
Stoplight – phone. Commercials on TV – phone. Lull in the conversation while eating lunch with coworker – phone. My two boys momentarily occupied with matchbox cars – phone.
That last one is what solidified this change. As we all know kids see and hear everything even when you don’t think they are looking or listening and I could tell my habit wasn’t being lost on them. My 5-year-old knows there are games on my phone and would press me to play them whenever he would see me on it. The 2-year-old? Well, he just wants to be doing whatever his big brother is doing. Basically, if my phone is ever within their reach, they are grabbing for it.
Just like their daddy…
That’s why recently on one random day, as I was driving home and instinctively reached for my phone at a stoplight, I instead pulled the trigger on this thought in the back of my head and removed these social media apps before I could even give it a second thought.
I’ll admit, I’ve already cheated once. I was up late one night over the weekend and rationalized that it was me time, forgetting of course I’m still one of the people I’m trying to help by doing this. But the app was deleted later that night and I’m stronger for it. I definitely felt “buyer’s remorse” and have since willed myself to be better.
I bet some people are laughing at this and don’t get it; others nodding their heads feverishly.
Some early thoughts on this freshly minted idea: Checking my phone is now more of a something, whereas before it was all too casual and basically nothing. I’ve even noticed that my phone is somewhat boring now, like the good ol’ days. Just pictures and texting; the good ol’ days. Most recently I was at a party over the weekend and actually felt like I was truly at the party. I wasn’t scanning the scene for tweetable moments of my boys, wasn’t wondering what my family in NJ was up to on Facebook, nor was I pulling up a recipe I recently pinned to show a friend. I was just there at the party. I was present.
I think the most important thing I can say at this point is that this is something I’m doing for me. I did not bring out my soap box and megaphone for this post with the intent of telling the world that they are doing it wrong. This is my personality and this is my answer to something I saw as a problem with myself. (Now insert line about if just one person reading this shares a similar struggle and benefits from my experience then it’s all worth it.)
“For the four” is a slogan that’s been kicking around in my head recently and something I’m trying to practice more often. In short, my family of four is the most important and precious part of my life and I want to do everything in my power to be a better member of that group. This new practice of mine, I feel, helps steer me in that direction.
But the most important benefit was something I never thought about or even expected.
I can now make it through the entire day without recharging my battery.
This is Part 2 in a series called – The Technology Balance. Part 1 can be found here.