2nd Annual [Social] Media Leave of Absence

I will be starting my 2nd annual social media leave of absence on Thursday, August 1st. I ended my 1st social media leave of absence last year on August 1st and it turned into social media serendipity.

It looks like I’m not the only one interested in putting parts of the Interwebs on probation. In fact, 52% of U.S. adults said they have either taken a break or were considering taking a vacation from one or more social networks. The idea of bon voyage-ing the WWW even made it to the July/August cover of Fast Company when Baratunde Thurtson decided to #unplug for 25 days.

As much as people want to connect (see: FOMO), they yearn for disconnection. We’ve become too connected in many ways. The Internet is an easy target to blame for this. First, e-mail and web browsing (Netscape!). Then searching (Overture!) and buying (Amazon - still cool!). Now, social media and mobile. Which has all led to the uber-connectivity of today. We can’t avoid connecting, which makes us want to disconnect.

Social and mobile are equally to blame for our current state of obsessive connectivity. TIME reports that one out of five people check their phones every ten minutes. While last year’s social media leave of absence taught me valuable lessons like creating “no phone zones,” I am still guilty of this.

Knowing mobile is a huge connectivity crutch, I’m adding it to my social media leave of absence this year. In addition to a zero-tolerance policy for checking all social networks, I will be removing all apps from my iPhone, turning off e-mail and using it only as a … phone. In short, I will only access the information superhighway at work for e-mail, reading blogs and Googling for research’s sake.

Digitally restricting myself should offer up free time in return. To keep me on track, I hope to accomplish the following during my social media leave of absence (in no particular order):

+ Read a book on Albert Einstein

+ Create case studies for projects I’ve led to demonstrate modern marketing in action

+ Build out a “Work” section on my website to share these case studies with the world

+ Train for the Twin Cities 10 Mile coming up in October

+ Give my family and friends a little extra love

Similar to last year, I’ll keep a notebook with me throughout the month and jot down observations and insights about behavior change - both for me and those I regularly interact with. I’ll then write a post recapping the most notable moments of my experience. Until then, catch you on the analog.