Social Media Experiment: Disengaging

EDITOR’S NOTE:This was written Oct. 5, 2010, as part of a social media experiment that I decided to document along the way. I had dreams of creating this “scientific journal” but it turned into eight pages of babble. Click here to see introductory post.

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I used the phrase “walking away from social media,” but it was not that easy.
With smart phone applications, e-mail alerts and bookmarks – it was like I had to severe an umbilical cord.
I decided that “disengaging” is a lot more appropriate way to describe it.
I had to delete, cancel and enable features that had embedded themselves into my life. As I was removing all of this functionality, I seriously considered deleting my accounts. I thought it might be easier.
But the thought of that made me feel like a crack addict, debating on whether or not I should throw my pipe off the nearest bridge.
I got cold sweats, suffered from the shakes and thought of EVERY excuse I could muster NOT to do it. All of this while I laid on the floor in the fetal position.“This is only temporary!”
“Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.”
“They really ARE my friends!”
“I’m not addicted.”
“Why is everyone screaming at me?!?!?”
“I want my mommy!”Needless to say, I left the accounts active – just removed any reminders or temptations. It was like I put my crack pipe in my sock drawer, praying that I would forget where I hid it.
Example: I use a desktop application to manage my Twitter accounts – Seesmic Desktop. It is designed to sort my Tweets by followers, subjects, etc. It used to automatically launch when I logged into my computer. There were these little chirpy beeps that made me stop shaking.
It was my fix.
Now, Seesmic Desktop has a temporary home in my computer’s trash can and there is silence when I open my laptop.
It’s taunting silence.
Purging all these applications confirmed one thing: The warning signals of addiction were definitely real.
This was apparent again this morning.
I could have sworn that my 8-month-old son rocked a definite “DaDa” when I picked him up out of his crib.
Instead of jumping up and down and bragging to my wife, I looked frantically for my laptop.
“I have to update my status!”
“I have to Tweet about this!”
I snapped back to reality when my boy continued his morning declaration. “Blah da ma me blub a ma poo,” he said smiling and trying to put his foot in his mouth.
It was like he was saying, “Hey, Dad! I thought you weren’t going to Tweet anymore!”
I stopped cold and abandoned my quest for my laptop and/or my Blackberry and/or my wife’s computer and/or any other electronic device I could find to type 140 characters.
I started to ask myself, “But how will anyone know” – but I quickly returned to the moment. I ran into our bedroom and started talking trash to my wife. (Reminder: He said “DaDa” not “MaMa.”)
This incident did give me an idea, though. To help with my “social media detox,” I would jot down what I would have posted and/or Tweeted for that day, and include them in this journal.
Is that cheating?

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