“Get your $*** done”: Reflections on a social media moratorium

There is a reason I get so much work done on planes… no internet! I do
believe long periods of internet deprivation will be necessary to
complete my dissertation. (Photo from freeimagefinder.com)

I was sitting in the airport when I decided. It was two weeks out from my comprehensive exams and I was still feeling distracted and prone to bouts of procrastination. So I set down my flash cards for a few minutes, jotted this post and told Mr. T: Change my passwords.

Like my sister a few months back, I turned over the passwords to my Facebook and Twitter, and with the exception of a few posts on the blog and a couple over-the-shoulder peeks of T’s Facebook, I shunned social media completely for two solid weeks.

It was glorious. And lonely.
I studied more but found new distractions. I didn’t have T shut off the internets, for example. I appreciated being able to reference my moratorium when asked about forgotten invitations or friend-related drama, but I also missed so much exciting news… a friend’s second pregnancy announcement, emergency surgery for a friend’s child, and a zillion birthdays. (Did you know everyone was born in September practically?) As I also shut off my Facebook email notifications (best decision EVER, by the way), I was completely out of the loop on everything.
Again glorious, again lonely.
When waiting in the airport or in line at the grocery store, I missed having my Twitter news to check. When something random or interesting happened, I mentally composed a status update and then realized I had nowhere to post it. When I checked my blog traffic, I was sad to discover hits were woefully lower than normal. But, I felt freer, less chained to my phone. And in just a few days, I broke the habit of checking in online, of wasting time poking around Twitter, etc. etc.
After my in-house day of comps though, I told T I wanted my passwords for a few days… a break from the moratorium to celebrate surviving eight hours of solitary confinement. (Also, we were headed to the Reno Air Races and I was excited to keep the AvGeeks informed on the aviation news.) I just about died of laughter when T told me what he’d changed my passwords to…
Genius, yes?
I kept the password for awhile, forcing myself to type the words whenever I wanted to log-in and waste time. As a result, I highly recommend getting rid of all saved passwords… too easy to click a button and screw around.
While I’m now “back” with social media, I’ve noticed my consumption is less than usual and I’m making a pointed effort not to develop bad habits again. With a prospectus and dissertation looming, I’m certain there will be more moratoria in my future although as the picture indicates above, probably of the entire-internet variety. Ah, we’ll see.

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