Today I ended a self-imposed 30 day exile from Social Media. At first, it was hard to keep away from Facebook & Twitter and I won’t lie and say that it got any easier as time went by. However, I did learn a few important lessons.

  • I rely on social media for information
    I really felt out of the loop. I still had my feeds that I checked up on in Google Reader, but it wasn’t the same. I have a lot in common with the people that I follow, so I get a lot of important¬† information from them that I wouldn’t normally see otherwise.
  • I missed the interaction
    Working from a home office isolates you quite a bit. Sometimes, those status updates are subtle reminders that there are other people out there that aren’t sending you emails wondering where their updates are.
  • I was crazy productive
    I took a lot of pictures, blogged a lot more, and got a lot of work done. I think a lot of my creative-whatever gets slowly poured out 140 characters at the time. I was able to put a lot of that energy into personal creative projects.
  • I had more personal time
    Instead of walking around checking Twitter constantly, I was more present with my family.

Social Media takes up a lot of time, but I think the payoff is worth it. I used the time off to streamline my workflow so I would be more efficient when it came time to participate in the online world again. I also greatly reduced the number of people I was following (from 930+ down to 290-some) so I could cut down on the noise to signal ratio and make it easier to hear the voices that were important.

This last culling of the following was the hardest step. I started with the larger, national-type people and eventually had to drop some local people as well. That killed me. I believe in the importance of “Local”, but I also realize that I can’t put my energy into *everyone* that considers themselves that without considering what messages they are putting out there.

All in all, I’m glad I took a month off and I think the changes I’ve made will pay off immediately.