Sunday, September 22, 2013

Unplug For A Few Hours

unplug detox internet social media
Unplug detox internet social media

Are you constantly on your smartphone, laptop, tablet or PC checking your email, Facebook, Instagram, or twitter? I’m sure we’re all guilty. But how do you feel after you've checked out or checked in all of your social media channels? When you’re constantly stalking, um, checking your friends status’, updates, tweets, etc, it can make you feel a certain way about yourself. Something in the age of connection that has so many feeling so lonely. Something that even in this instantly searchable world has so many feeling so lost. Because when we have more Likes than friends, something has to give. We’re addicted to feedback, addicted to sharing our story with our social audience. It’s almost like the event didn't happen if you don’t post about it. There is no doubt that the use of technology has increased over the past several years.  I must admit, Facebook and Twitter take over most of my time on the Internet; therefore, it was no surprise when I stumbled upon one article that shared some of the detailed statistics for how people use the “Top Social Media, Apps & Services.” And while I had a pretty good idea of how popular social media had become over the years, the use of some of the following social media sites surprised me – especially My Space. People simply cannot nurture hundreds of connections without something having to give. 

      ·         Evernote: 60 million users
·         Facebook: 1.15 billion users
·         Foursquare: 33 million users
·         Gmail: 425 million users
·         Instagram: 130 million users
·         LinkedIn: 238 milion users
·         MySpace: 32.6 million users
·         Pinterest: 70 million users
·         Twitter: 500 million users (200 million active)

With statistics such as these, it is safe to say that people spend a large part of their day on the Internet. There is a popular saying; “moderation in all things,” which simply implies that people should not do or have too much of anything. I ask the question – can people have too much of social media? It’s easy to get caught up in social media, as well as useful apps and services that seem to make our lives easier? Sites such as Skype and MeetUp allow us to connect with others; iTunes, Pandora and Spotify bring us all of the latest music. And then of course there are the social networks such as Twitter and Facebook that keep us up-to-date on all that is going on around the world almost every minute of the day.

unplug detox internet social media
Detox internet social media

 Sometimes people justify the excessive use of social media with the argument that it keeps them connected with family and friends and also allows us the opportunity to meet new people. While that may be true, we can actually do this offline. It is good to take a break from technology to rejuvenate, refresh and relax our mind.  Can you recall the feeling you have when you get home from a long work-day and finally get the chance to sit and unwind?  We can actually experience that same feeling of relaxation when we “unplug” from the Internet and detox from all of the technology we encountered throughout the day. Below are some suggestions on how to “unplug.”

 In the morning before work or school, use that time to reflect on the day's tasks

1.       During lunch break, instead of grabbing our cell phone to check Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, use that hour to rejuvenate and relax our mind. This will help us feel refreshed and recharged
2.       During morning or evening commute to and from work, leave our mobile device in the bag. Enjoy the surroundings and do some sightseeing as we walk to our destination
3.       Don’t check mail or text messages while having dinner with family and friends. Give them all of our attention; the texts and email will be there when we're done.
4.       Unplug on the weekends (at least one day). Schedule time for yourself to do an activity that brings you joy.
5.       Encourage your kids to do the same.

Try involving yourself in activities that will enrich your life. That could be picking up the phone to actually make a call to a loved one, doing some basic exercises outdoors or just reading an inspirational book. Alternatively, if you have a business connected to your use of social media, keep up your media engagement. However, you might still want to consider the basic tools of balancing work and play. After all, the best creativity often results when you’re actually living life, not just posting about it. If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves staring at our computer screens and mobile devices morning, noon and night with no separation from work or play.  Well, it’s time for me to unplug for a few hours.


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