Lessons from my 2021 Social Media blackout

My last post, on July 5th, was to announce I’d be off my blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and, for the most part, Facebook too from July 9th. This was to be my first ‘official’ social media blackout where I not only log out of work apps on my phone and tablet (and delete to make it harder to check) but also a concerted effort to stay away from the temptation of just being in the background and ‘lurking’.

So, two weeks later, I’m back. Well, on my blog at least. Well, I’ve written this. But not yet on Twitter or LinkedIn (kinda – I posted a few updates on the posts I’ve been editing for the ALT blog. This is what just over two weeks blackout did to/for me:

  • I hadn’t realised I got all my news from Twitter. Therefore being off Twitter meant I had no idea about the floods in Germany, the ongoing mess in the UK around vaccinations and Covid, the media hype around the Tokyo Olympics (and other sporting events) during a pandemic, etc. On the upside, I wasn’t constantly bombarded with news about Covid in the UK, and the utter shambles the UK is being dragged through by a bunch of incompetent arses who are supposed to be protecting the population, not gambling with their lives!! Oh boy, I have not missed that – doomscrolling!! Eww!
  • I checked my private emails and some basic Facebook activity during the blackout as this is the only contact I have with some people but, even my normal setup for work-related apps (no notifications, but logged in) meant I would be tempted to check. Deleting them was much better than just logging out. That one time I was so bored I was tempted to check I just couldn’t be bothered to go through all the hassle of downloading the app again and going through 2FA to ‘just peek’. Ah-ha! See, it worked!!
  • If I had been job hunting then logging out of LinkedIn would have been a really difficult decision (I’ve been there before… family holiday and job hunting, whilst not in work, are not happy bedfellows. If this is you, I sympathise with you and wish you all the best), I get a lot of my work-related reading materials from what people share on LinkedIn, so I found myself quite cut off from all things #EdTech.
  • I read more. Much more. Five books, to be precise. I prepared in advance … I bought the three-book series of Shadow and Bones (it may be a Netflix show, but I wanted to read the books), and finished them, then started on the Percy Jackson set my kids got earlier this year and hadn’t started. Not hard reading I grant you, but it took my mind off life and helped me relax. That was all I wanted.
  • I had time with my family. Evenings playing games or watching TV instead of glued to my (and them to theirs) phone. I walked much more (before I twisted my knee and had to rest up. Damn you knee!!), and enjoyed the fresh air as I always have done.

I’ve logged back into the apps, downloaded those I needed to, and even before I open them and see what is going on I know I’m going to be worse off for it. Twitter, and lately LinkedIn, have become places I actually started to avoid before the blackout … Do I really want to go back there?

If I’m NOT going back to Twitter or LinkedIn, then I do need to work out a different strategy for me to get my daily news (a balanced view, not from one source), blog posts and interesting articles that are shared through or by my network, and key work or research around the field of online learning and education technology. I don’t know how or where that will be, but I’ll keep you posted.

If you even read this … perhaps this will kill off my blog too? If I’m not sharing on Twitter or LinkedIn, will anyone even find or read this? Or anything I publish in the future? Does it even matter … ? Ooh, that’s deep!

Photo by Giuseppe Patriarchi on Unsplash