You know the story... I gave up social media for Lent blah, blah, blah.
So now I have this professory impulse to ask myself, "What did I learn?" You know... "assessment," "closing the loop," and all that stuff.
[throws up in his mouth a little bit]
The problem is that I stink at this. So how about I just pilfer from my friend Doug Thompson, who as I have noted before joined me on this Lenten social media fast.
Last week, Doug summarized his own thoughts on this exercise, concluding, "I learned on this side of the lenten journey that being present to people in literal and virtual form matters to me." As he explains it, ditching Facebook and Twitter certainly cleared out some clutter. But there can always be new ways to bring clutter into one's life, pulling us away from strengthening our relationships.
Indeed, I'm pretty good at cluttering up uncluttered spaces.
As I found during Lent, the Internet has no shortage of rabbit holes to explore outside of the world of social media. Goodbye new chunks of time for myself! Hello DuffelBlog!
The trick, then, isn't just to give something up. Yes, it was a liberating act to deactivate Facebook and Twitter. And yes, the silence was golden at first. But the novelty wore off as the weeks passed. Once that happened, it became apparent to me that social media is a tool. Accordingly, there are times when I have used it well. And there are times when I have not.
Let's return to Doug Thompson once more.
I have only met Doug a handful of times. But all during Lent, I found myself conversing with Doug over text and email about things that I would only share with my closest of friends. This is a relationship that started with social media and has continued through all sorts of other virtual platforms. No doubt, knowing Doug like this has brought value into my life.
On the other hand, there are all of those times when social media overtakes my senses, colonizing my attention. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Mindlessness at its best.
Now that I am back to the noisy room that is social media, I am finding it difficult not to fall back into old habits. When I am facing a challenge or unsavory task, it's SOOO tempting to go trolling for likes and retweets. It's a tendency that is entirely unproductive and lacking intention.
What's the solution?
Moderation and self-restraint. I know this already and so does everyone else. But the experience of stepping back from social media created a space for me to see this more clearly.
Now actually doing something about it, well... maybe I just need to "sin boldly" when it comes to my virtual bad habits.