How I went cold turkey and gave up all social media
Three months into a digital detox, Jim Duffy is feeling liberated and getting over withdrawal symptoms
Inoted with interest last week that Simon Cowell of X Factor fame is feeling much better having rid himself of his smartphone. No more browsing Facebook and all the other channels available to kept him occupied. All I can say to Simon is: Welcome to the club!
This week marks my third complete month with no Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or any other form of social media that used to suck up my time and interfere with the neurotransmitters in my head. How does it feel? Liberating. The best bit is it is not as hard as you think it might be, albeit with some work.
The week before Facebook became the story and Zuckerberg went from hero to zero, I had decided to delete my Facebook account. It was poignant that week to note that Facebook was now under the microscope for its business practices, its data collection and its potential harm. Global media was reporting and still is that Facebook was not such a wonderful tech platform, but was in need of some forensic examination of how it operated and weaved itself into our lives and psyche. Did it indeed liberate us, extolling the tech virtue of catholicity or was it actually a huge constraint on our time, our attention span and our mental well being? Regardless, I had decided I was trailblazing and would pioneer my own trek into a new world where social media would be banished.
I let my Facebook “Friends” know that I was leaving – after all, one does not simply walk out on people. I did not wish to divorce myself from people who had liked my posts and accepted my offers of “friendship”. I was surprised that once I had penned my plenary post and published it, the response was massively positive. Not so much that they would no longer have to endure Duffy as a Facebook buddy, but that they acknowledged why I was coming off the platform and my reasoning for it. With more than 100 likes and comments, I was off. I hit the “delete account” button and six years of building my contacts was over. No fanfare. No epitaph. No gold watch. Just peace and quiet – and nowhere to post pictures of my Hungarian Vizsla.
Then for the next step in my digital detox. I was set to switch off my Linkedin account, which to be honest was a big step. I had spent a great deal of time building this network and it meant a great deal to me. But, like all heirlooms it had to go if I was to get clean. Again, I let all my connections know I was exiting and again the overwhelming responses was supportive, positive and a few replies were very touching.
Of course there are always one or two felons who like to take a swing and yes they did. Funny, they never called me ever to let me know they resented me or deleted their connection with me. But, as a breathed my last digital breath on this networking platform they were happy to have one last acerbic rant. God bless them – who would they now vent their pitiful frustration at via their keyboard?
To complete my digital transcendental voyage, it was only Twitter now that had to go. Ah Twitter, that 140 character communication tool that for some reason many users have chosen to use to vent, criticise, accuse, denounce, disapprove, abuse, slander, vilify, lambast and defame others. I would have no problem at all hitting the delete account button on this. In fact, as I looked at my account, I hadn’t tweeted for weeks, so it was obviously on its way out anyway. And with one click on the keyboard, I