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Social Media Hiatus: A Week In

So here we are! Just over a week into my holiday from a passion. Not too shabby at all! I'll admit it: the first night or two were horrible. On the Wednesday afternoon of The Great Quittage, I was stressed about a few other things and just wanted this to go right. Thursday morning I woke up and felt I were on holiday for the entire day. That evening I felt terribly lonely after having not conversed with anyone familiar for over 24 hours, and having had a brilliantly awesome, accomplished day in event project meetings, I wished to celebrate it somehow. Alas, I was home alone that night and instead, in my emotional state, took up smoking again (I was trying to quit for the third time since late last year), while hunched over a notepad and pen, disgusted at my handwriting and scrawny prose.

Since the first 24-48 hours I've not even really cared to go back, and only missed Twitter.

My passwords weren't changed until about a week after the fact; they probably didn't even need changing! The whole point of social media is that everyone pretty much knows what you're doing at any one moment, so I would only be shooting myself in the foot if I were to sign in anywhere. Also, that would be lame.

I've taken to writing again and I'm looking at redoing this entire website. It totally blows and I've wanted to change the theme for years. I'm in talks with a pair of geeks about the design in exchange for knitted goods.

I've not started reading any books, nor have I played any music, driven or hit the gym.

I'm not watching any increased amounts of television or film as I'd expected, and I've revisited communication technologies called 'email' and 'short messaging service' much more than I have in the past few years.

The Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare and Twitter applications are gone from my iPhone, and I've even stopped absent-mindedly navigating my way to where they were, only to be confused when I reach my 'to do list' and other productivity programs. I've reinstalled the fairly unpopular Viber and WhatsApp, to perhaps contact friends in other ways than my beloved Twitter. Skype is no more frequent than usual.

I socialised a bit more offline though. My housemates discuss Twitter and it doesn't even bother me! I've only once discussed with anyone about what's happening around the world, and I've only been bored on the bus a few times in the earlier days. Luckily I have a pretty happening household at the moment, which saw half of this week taken up with moving an extra housemate into the mix.

I also nabbed a chance to grab the phone number of a uni contact I'd only been running into on the rare occasion since last semester. I still don't have any money to go out and meet new people (it's only been a little while!), but BTUB last week was pretty standard (read: awesome for the most part) and made up for that.

I have found that when my moods fall I cannot blurt out whatever I want to a relatively empty electronic room. Minor anxieties come and go without validation or challenges, and major concerns mostly receive adequate feedback and support. I am not sure if my personal reasons for bailing on social media will have left me by my return date, but at least I have done my best on this more difficult aspect. I have a feeling that on my return in July, I will cull my contacts significantly on all social media networks.

On the cash flow front, I unfortunately decided not to take an offered hotel food and bev job. The late nights meant I would have paid more in taxi fares than an hour's work, and my to-be employer wanted many more hours from me than I was willing to put aside from uni. This latter reason is vital, as I have three major pieces of assessment due next week alone, and four/three essays/exams after that. Ack! Probably not the best time for me to prioritise my financial security over grades (if there ever will be!), although, I'm eyeing off a scholarship in hope of something alternate. Then again, I have spent more time studying (I think) and that is the major point of this experiment.

There you have it. A basic recap of how this is all going. Until next time, I feel compelled to say something... pip, pip!

A Social Media Hiatus

Sometime this week, I will be leaving a number of social media sites for two months. My accounts will all remain open, however I am allowing a close friend to change all of my passwords temporarily so that I am unable to use them. I will not be available through Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, or my key social network Twitter until July 1st.

My reasoning for this addresses my need to fully escape some personal and social aspects of the past year. Social media has not assisted in this goal thus far, and so I have no choice but to detatch myself from an online social circle I've been active in for two and a half years. This means meeting new people offline (a skill I am not particularly confident in at all) and engaging in other activities I need and desire to complete.

The Brisbane Twitter social group BTUB has been the love of my life since August 2008. I've only ever missed a few events due to sickness or uni assessment, and I don't have any plans to stop going. I will be at this Friday's May gathering, and if I don't have an exam the day after June's meet, I'll be there too. If you're in Brisbane and have a Twitter account, you are welcome to join us all for a drink at Greystone Bar in South Bank.

This plan is nothing personal against any friends I have met at BTUB. I love everyone so very much and don't wish to lose them. I still very, very much wish to continue these friendships but cutting online contact is something I must do. I am afraid that I will be left out of many social gatherings for the duration of my scarce online presence, but humans have been speaking to each other without Internet connections for gazillions of years; surely I can handle it.

This semester at uni thus far has sucked quite tremendously. My study habits need improving, as I constantly avoid difficult and stressing tasks and the Internet is a very welcome distraction. I need to be brave for a bit in order to lift my grades (which are KILLER when I am not stressing out), and having been in financial stress for a number of years, I'm over that and will be working hard to find some cash so that I may function.

And I am wanting to focus on many other offline activities.

  • I have been drumming in a band for a little while now and I want to improve my skills there. (If anyone wants to jam, hit me up!)
  • I also took up ukulele a month or so ago, plus my bass guitar is still sitting in the corner after years waiting for this n00b to pick it up.
  • The gym needs me to kick my own butt.
  • There is one knitted glove that needs a partner.
  • I want to learn Italian and continue my driving lessons.
  • I have never read Catch 22, 1984, The Happiness Trap, Lolita, A Clockwork Orange or many other classics. I want to catch up on Jeffery Archer's greats and The Dice Man again. Bukowski, Poe and The Desiderata of Happiness.
  • I want to visit my sister and friends in Sydney during the mid-year break in June (but no, Monje, I won't be moving there!)
  • I also need sufficient work to make enough money to live.
  • And my handwriting is appalling!

But what am I really expecting to happen? I will probably have no idea what's happening in the news, and I bet half of the sites I am quitting will be completely new ones by July. I will get frustrated for a few weeks and maybe not be so diligent in my quest to quit smoking. Hell, I might even get my haircut at last!

So to recap, I will not be available through Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, or Twitter for two months. These accounts will remain open so I may easily return in July and so that my contact details will still be available on my Facebook profile. YouTube and my blogging pages, save for Tumblr, will be kept open, mainly for uni work and writing about how I'm going with the tech detox. It seems that a few people are actually interested in this plan of mine.

Today or tomorrow I will arrange with my contact to change my passwords and I will post when I know when exactly it will be. Hopefully I won't miss any telephone numbers or emails that come through Facebook or Twitter.

But don't be a stranger! My mobile number is on my Facebook profile (hence not closing my account) and my email address is me @ nicolejensen dot com - the contact form goes to me there. As a passionate host, I will definitely email and text around when I want to host Beatnik Party 2.0 and I'm always happy to catch up down at the pub when you're in town.

Pip, pip.

Facebook Events: Yay or Nay?

We've all done them. You're hosting a little shindig at home when you've realised you don't have Fred's new phone number and that you'll probably just get Julie's answering machine for the next few days again. What do you do? Facebook it.

Sure the effort of doing so isn't a lot, but how effective are they in actually gaining a successful guest list? In my experience, you could always assume the social network addicts would sign up first, if not immediately, then slowly the numbers creep up until you've got the record player set to Hottest 100 Party Tracks as guests shyly arrive.

Well, anyway, I asked fellow Twitter addicts how they use Facebook events. Next week, I might ask the neighbours, but they'll just look at me strangely and offer a cup of sugar instead.

"I think they are fantastic, except not everyone is on FB. Good marketing ploy of theirs though" - @kirstywrites

Attendance

Clearly diminishes 20% on average. Due to lack of interaction with the host? Possibly. As Facebook ages, less people are taking their RSVPs on the website seriously.

Personal Touch

The main argument many people I speak to have against Facebook is the lack of face-to-face communication. No Twitter respondants actually mentioned this!

Time frame

Clearly you're unable to post a Facebook event for the same day. A week might suffice depending on the size and nature of your event, also on how active your guests are on the social network which can be quite a lot of assuming. Four weeks or even more for a major celebration or fundraiser is ideal if you have this time frame available.

Then there is the "Maybe" RSVP option. Dreaded by event hosts, loved by attendees:

"I can reply 'maybe' to events & they still show up in my timeline, so I can decide to go closer to the time." - @scarlettjen

Diary Management

@ccake, like @iusebiro and @brentoe, syncs FB events with other calculators and also chooses to have e-mail notifications turned on for when the invitations come in, much like @kissability does.

"I do use Facebook events and I have email notifications turned on for invitations. I find it very useful in my busy schedule!" - @kissability

"Handy for knowing about harder to find things (house show parties, gallery openings) new facebook keeps it more hidden though." - @vivzilla

"[I] check my requests (incl event invites) daily, a bit spammy but still quite useful." - @djackmanson

"Events is my primary use of Facebook- I use it constantly as my social calendar. Find it incredibly useful." - @glittertrash

"I use it all the time, both as an attendee and organiser. Very handy." - @sleepydumpling

"I rely heavily on my Facebook events. I'm very forgetful, so having them display in 'coming up' on my homepage really helps." - @hellyeahkate

Authenticity

Having only a Facebook event for an invitation, do people trust these or seek verbal confirmation of the event? @brentoe doesn't seem to think so, but @erikveland has other ideas:

"I rely on it to track my events. Unfortunately event spam has made them useless as a source to send out REAL invitations...Because of event spam, most people will just ignore invitations altogether unless you specifically bring attention to them." - @erikveland

"I use them and so do nearly all of my friends. Event isn't "official" until it's on FB" - @brentoe

Suggestions for Facebook

Option to lose the 'Maybe' RSVP. That would be my main suggestion. What do you think?

"The "no chance" ones can be annoying. It's OK to be invited once, but multiple times?! We need "never invite me" op" - @divabat

"If FB used microformats for events it would be a great improvement. Otherwise I rarely check events" - @zuzu

In closing...

I'm having a house party next weekend, which I'm very excited about, and the Facebook event went up a week or so ago. Let's see how many make it, but in the meantime, what are your views on Facebook events usage?