“BEING famous on Twitter is like being rich in monopoly”.
I cannot find who first said this, but the irony of this piece – as you will see shortly – is that I first saw that on Twitter.
Last week I took a decision to delete three social networks from my phone.
I love my iPhone. I believe that Jesus made it because he loves me. BUT it shouldn’t be permanently glued to my hand.
Let me explain.
I have to use my phone a lot, given my line of work. It is a tool of the trade above all else, and then the social aspect comes second.
Emails, reminders, meeting requests, phone calls and texts, make sure I have to charge it by midday.
But I started noticing a trend: I would be mid-conversation with someone and I’d start scrolling through my Twitter timeline. It was getting bad!
I then took a decision to remind myself (and my phone) who was in charge: ME and not social media.
I know 99% of you reading this can relate.
The earth will stop spinning if you don’t check your Instagram or update your Facebook status. Your twitter followers will not be able to survive without your gems of wisdom.
All the above is obviously not true.
So much has been said about the power of social media and how to use it wisely, among other things.
But what I realised last week was that: it should not determine the rhythms of my lifestyle.
So having taken the decision to delete them and only having to use my phone when I needed to, did it make a difference?
The simple answer: YES
And here’s why:
1. I actually talk to people now
I give people my undivided attention. Whether it is a social or formal setting, I actually speak to them and have no desire or need to look at my phone every 5 minutes. It makes a world of difference. It gives people the respect they deserve, but it also allows me to respond because I am actually enjoying the conversation, and not hide the fact that I wasn’t listening.
2. I sleep so much better
Here’s an exercise I want you to do in the next few days: write down the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before falling asleep.
In the 21st century and the age of social media, I can almost guarantee that a majority of you will write: “check my phone” during your exercise.
I understand the need to be well informed, but that can be done without having a phone glued to my hand all the time.
So I sleep much better, because I only use social media from my computer now. And that is usually when I am behind a desk during the day.
This means I have more time to actually ‘relax’ when I am home, and not go on a social media binge until I fall asleep.
Believe me, being rested has changed my productivity in a positive way.
3. I have learnt to prioritise
What does this mean? Simply, that the world won’t fall apart if I’m not on Facebook for the next two days, or if I haven’t tweeted over the weekend.
Life goes on!
But what I need to do is allocate my time to what matters.
This is not to say social media doesn’t matter, it does, but it is not the be all and end all of life.
While we are all looking down at our phones, everything else happens around us.
Does this piece mean that I will never reload social media apps on my phone? NO, I’m sure I will at some stage. But I am under no pressure to do so.
But it also means I’ve learnt the lesson, it won’t control me, I love my sleep and human interaction far too much.
It also means I will be more aware and hopefully responsible in my use of social media.
Because famous on twitter is like being rich in monopoly – we still have to face the real world.