Jo Blog

Smart, sometimes funny, musings and other stuff

Social media vacation

September 8, 2014  

Need a sabbatical from social media? Wait…what? Why would you take a break from something that is supposed to be social and fun? After all, aren’t vacations about resting from those everyday things such as work and school?


Well, whether we like it or not, social media has become that everyday thing for many, so much so that some have started taking their own vacations from it. But even more than just becoming an integral part of our day, social media has become a serious distraction from real life and interpersonal interactions.


Admit it – it can be unbearable to not have your smartphone right next to you while you’re out to eat with your loved ones. Even while you’re having a conversation with your spouse, a part of you is subconsciously waiting for that next alert or notification.


Captivating dinner with the Smarts
Captivating dinner with the Smarts (not so much)

For many self-proclaimed social media addicts, a vacation from posting and tweeting is a necessary duty. This new type of vacation has evolved in the modern era—from turning off Twitter notifications to actually leaving the mighty smartphone behind, some have taken drastic measures to block out the distraction of social media.


Take a social media vacation: the results can be real

The results do pay off. Just like a real vacation, many report feeling refreshed and revitalized after taking a break from those status updates. So, why is this the case for something that’s supposed to be fun?


Well, some experts believe that with the proliferation of technology, we have lost the important distinction between public and private space. We can always be reached in one way or another, and with our devices in tow, what’s public has become just as important as what’s private.


Depending on how you use your social networks, it’s arguable for some whether this time on social media is actually valuable. A study done in the UK, performed by the University of Salford, profiled 298 participants. Many of the participants reported issues with anxiety and self-esteem while using their networks. Two-thirds also reported difficulty with relaxing and sleeping after visiting their social networks.


Unfortunately, some do believe that spending time on social networks is an adequate substitution for those real life experiences. One of the causes of this may be the ubiquity and ease of accessing platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Many people might feel that all of the excitement and action takes place on these platforms, and may fear missing out (FOMO).


Distracted from the real moment


Another recent study by the social discovery site Badoo found that 40 percent of Americans spend more time socializing online than in real life. Even worse, 25 percent of people said they missed out on an important moment because they were distracted by trying to share the moment on social media.

Real life social networking... wait... is that Al texting by the fire?
Real life social networking… wait… is that Al texting by the fire?


So with these facts pointing to social media being more of a distraction than an asset, many have found it necessary to unplug and give the visits to Facebook a rest. How do you do this, when you have such easy access to these sites? Honestly, how do you really turn off Facebook?


Well, there is an app for that!


There are several applications that help you turn off the distraction of social media. Anti-Social is a productivity tool that lets you block distracting sites such as Facebook and Twitter. How does it work? It locks you off any social sites you designate. The only way to access the sites is to reboot your computer.


If taking a complete sabbatical from social media is not possible, then take baby steps! There are browser extensions such as StayFocusd, which limits the amount of time spent on “time-wasting”websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, those sites remain locked for the rest of the day.


Or just make a schedule for yourself to unplug every few days. It’s not taking social media completely out of your life, but it will sure help you reconnect with your inner voice and those important relationships that really do matter.