Can You Quit Social Media?

No U-TurnsThis post seeks the answer to one question:

Is it possible to pull out of social media?

Put another way, can you put the genie back in the bottle after you’ve become a hyperconnect, smartphone-wielding update junkie?

  • http://amymengel.com amymengel

    Social seppuku! (Seriously, there's a site for it: http://www.seppukoo.com)

    I think putting the genie back in the bottle entirely is difficult, but I have seen many people (myself included) wean themselves a bit or at least settle into niche or rhythm that works. I feel as though I have established a great group of friends and professional contacts through social media (particularly Twitter) and once that core group became established, I started to back off a bit. I'm still active, but I would say that I connect with the same group of people and there's now more depth than breadth.

    I will say that I've dialed way back on Facebook. I still post things to my profile, but the news/live feed has become so onerous that I barely bother keeping up anymore. I'd need to create a whole lot of lists just to get the information I see in Facebook to be manageable.

  • http://amymengel.com amymengel

    Social seppuku! (Seriously, there's a site for it: http://www.seppukoo.com)

    I think putting the genie back in the bottle entirely is difficult, but I have seen many people (myself included) wean themselves a bit or at least settle into niche or rhythm that works. I feel as though I have established a great group of friends and professional contacts through social media (particularly Twitter) and once that core group became established, I started to back off a bit. I'm still active, but I would say that I connect with the same group of people and there's now more depth than breadth.

    I will say that I've dialed way back on Facebook. I still post things to my profile, but the news/live feed has become so onerous that I barely bother keeping up anymore. I'd need to create a whole lot of lists just to get the information I see in Facebook to be manageable.

  • http://www.adamsherk.com Adam Sherk

    Props Scott for not using the obligatory Brokeback Mountain quote :)

  • http://www.adamsherk.com Adam Sherk

    Props Scott for not using the obligatory Brokeback Mountain quote :)

  • http://soloprpro.com KellyeCrane

    Haha Adam, good one. I think you absolutely can just drop off of social media — I've seen people do it. Like a busy office that forgets past employees before their goodbye party cleanup has completed, Twitterers/Facebookers, etc. move on. Usually networked friends will ask where you've been, but then leave it at that.

    I think the question is, why would you want to pull out? Believe me, there were moments when the pace has made me want to go back to the crevice under that rock I came out from. But then all the effort of making connections would have been wasted. I value the true friendships I've made online (yes, it happens!), and that's what keeps me coming back.

  • http://soloprpro.com KellyeCrane

    Haha Adam, good one. I think you absolutely can just drop off of social media — I've seen people do it. Like a busy office that forgets past employees before their goodbye party cleanup has completed, Twitterers/Facebookers, etc. move on. Usually networked friends will ask where you've been, but then leave it at that.

    I think the question is, why would you want to pull out? Believe me, there were moments when the pace has made me want to go back to the crevice under that rock I came out from. But then all the effort of making connections would have been wasted. I value the true friendships I've made online (yes, it happens!), and that's what keeps me coming back.

  • Chad Hartman

    Good question. I would say not entirely. I started in social media because of my current career. If my career changed tomorrow, there are some element of social media that I would continue, but I doubt I could ever put it all away. for me, it opened up opportunity far beyond my career.

  • Chad Hartman

    Good question. I would say not entirely. I started in social media because of my current career. If my career changed tomorrow, there are some element of social media that I would continue, but I doubt I could ever put it all away. for me, it opened up opportunity far beyond my career.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Anyone know of any social media junkies that went “underground?” I'm sure somebody's done it — I'd love to hear the story: Why they pulled the plug, what they did after, how it has changed their life, etc.

    @Amy I really appreciate your answer, Amy. Your arc is probably common — it's easy to escalate your participation when you're trying to build a network, but hard to sustain that level of activity. Even evangelists have limited resources.

    @Kellye Good point about how quickly we forget/ignore the “recently departed.” I can't decide if that's sad, a necessary evil, or inconsequential. It seems to say something about our own self-centeredness (Gasp! Even in social media circles?!) that we so easily forget those who slip away.

    @Chad Thanks for reminding the “strictly business” crowd that it's called SOCIAL media — it's a much richer medium if we are fully, unapologetically human.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Anyone know of any social media junkies that went “underground?” I'm sure somebody's done it — I'd love to hear the story: Why they pulled the plug, what they did after, how it has changed their life, etc.

    @Amy I really appreciate your answer, Amy. Your arc is probably common — it's easy to escalate your participation when you're trying to build a network, but hard to sustain that level of activity. Even evangelists have limited resources.

    @Kellye Good point about how quickly we forget/ignore the “recently departed.” I can't decide if that's sad, a necessary evil, or inconsequential. It seems to say something about our own self-centeredness (Gasp! Even in social media circles?!) that we so easily forget those who slip away.

    @Chad Thanks for reminding the “strictly business” crowd that it's called SOCIAL media — it's a much richer medium if we are fully, unapologetically human.

  • http://www.scribnia.com/author/show/473/david-spinks/ David Spinks

    If there's a computer near by, then no. If I force myself by say, living on a remote island with no electricity, then yes…I think I could avoid using social media.

    Putting myself to the test soon. Going on a cruise and wont have internet access unless I want to pay out the ass for it…and I don't. I feel like missing a week in the social space is like missing a year in the real world.

    Every notice that? If you don't speak to someone for a week online, you feel like you haven't spoken in forever.

    David
    Community Manager, Scribnia.com

  • http://www.scribnia.com/author/show/473/david-spinks/ David Spinks

    If there's a computer near by, then no. If I force myself by say, living on a remote island with no electricity, then yes…I think I could avoid using social media.

    Putting myself to the test soon. Going on a cruise and wont have internet access unless I want to pay out the ass for it…and I don't. I feel like missing a week in the social space is like missing a year in the real world.

    Every notice that? If you don't speak to someone for a week online, you feel like you haven't spoken in forever.

    David
    Community Manager, Scribnia.com

  • http://twitter.com/sjhalestorm Scott Hale

    Do I think I could remove my personal content creation from social media? Of course. I could stop tweeting, blogging, posting and connecting with people that I really enjoy (but I can't see why I would want to at this point). I genuinely enjoy my network far too much to ignore them.

    Do I think I could avoid tapping into social media for knowledge? Absolutely not. Like Spinks said – missing a week in the social space makes you feel so far behind. It's almost scary. Even weekends start to feel like a black hole of knowledge at this point.

    What about you, Scott – Could *you* quit social media?

  • http://twitter.com/sjhalestorm Scott Hale

    Do I think I could remove my personal content creation from social media? Of course. I could stop tweeting, blogging, posting and connecting with people that I really enjoy (but I can't see why I would want to at this point). I genuinely enjoy my network far too much to ignore them.

    Do I think I could avoid tapping into social media for knowledge? Absolutely not. Like Spinks said – missing a week in the social space makes you feel so far behind. It's almost scary. Even weekends start to feel like a black hole of knowledge at this point.

    What about you, Scott – Could *you* quit social media?

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

    I've heard of a few people who have cleaned the slate (Todd Defren and Seth Simonds) and started over, but not of anyone leaving and not coming back. Ever.

    It leaves a pretty bad perception. It's like not returning phone calls or emails. How would it make each of us feel if we had relationships with companies or friends or both and they suddenly stopped communicating online? I know I wouldn't like it.

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

    I've heard of a few people who have cleaned the slate (Todd Defren and Seth Simonds) and started over, but not of anyone leaving and not coming back. Ever.

    It leaves a pretty bad perception. It's like not returning phone calls or emails. How would it make each of us feel if we had relationships with companies or friends or both and they suddenly stopped communicating online? I know I wouldn't like it.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Me? Quit social media? I doubt it.

    You make a fascinating distinction, Scott. I'd love for you to elaborate on why it might be easier to scale back content creation. Would that be akin to shifting to a new rung on the Forrester technographics ladder? Interesting…

    Blog about that for me, will ya!

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Me? Quit social media? I doubt it.

    You make a fascinating distinction, Scott. I'd love for you to elaborate on why it might be easier to scale back content creation. Would that be akin to shifting to a new rung on the Forrester technographics ladder? Interesting…

    Blog about that for me, will ya!

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    I like the way Todd keeps reinventing and reimagining. Reminds me of another PR trailblazer I know…some gal in Chicago ;)

    My goal with this post was to explore the furthest edges of our thinking about social media. We (people in general) seem to struggle easing off the accelerator in social media. We Facebook and Twitter and blog ourselves to a point that we're chasing our own tails sometimes. I'm intrigued by our willingness to push to that extreme, but not to the other (social media abstinence).

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion, Gini!

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    I like the way Todd keeps reinventing and reimagining. Reminds me of another PR trailblazer I know…some gal in Chicago ;)

    My goal with this post was to explore the furthest edges of our thinking about social media. We (people in general) seem to struggle easing off the accelerator in social media. We Facebook and Twitter and blog ourselves to a point that we're chasing our own tails sometimes. I'm intrigued by our willingness to push to that extreme, but not to the other (social media abstinence).

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion, Gini!

  • MikeTek

    Of course it's possible.

    There just has been no mere mortal yet who could pull it off.

  • MikeTek

    Of course it's possible.

    There just has been no mere mortal yet who could pull it off.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    But, Mike, there are no mere mortals in social media. Only ninjas, gurus and jedi knights. Didn't you hear?

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    But, Mike, there are no mere mortals in social media. Only ninjas, gurus and jedi knights. Didn't you hear?

  • newsconsumer

    Interesting timing on this. Since the New Year I have been thinking about pulling my current Twitter/FB accounts, and starting new ones where I invite the people who are truly authentic.

    I have started to scale back a lot–mainly because I have found so many of the “relationships” on social media are shallow: a lot of folks are just out to hang out with the most famous social media people (the ones with the most followers) hoping to gain some notoriety through association. I think there are a lot of fame-obsessed people on Twitter especially. I “unfollowed” on very famous author on Twitter (whom I had an active off-line relationship with for many months prior to us following each other…we strategized together, talked on the phone, emailed, and even endorsed each others books.) But once on Twitter (which I introduced him to) he decided to only interact with other famous, high profile people (folks with a lot of followers) on Twitter. He wasn't that way before he got on social media.

    Having said that, I have established a few very close and meaningful connections via social media. I connect with those people offline more than online, and that has resulted in real business.

    I have lost my excitement for Twitter, mainly because there are so many people who just want to try to show how much of a guru they are. That's real turnoff.

    I tried an experiment recently where I did not use social media at all for two days. I got so much accomplished in my business, and made six sales in those two days. Sometimes, social media is just a time waster.

  • newsconsumer

    Interesting timing on this. Since the New Year I have been thinking about pulling my current Twitter/FB accounts, and starting new ones where I invite the people who are truly authentic.

    I have started to scale back a lot–mainly because I have found so many of the “relationships” on social media are shallow: a lot of folks are just out to hang out with the most famous social media people (the ones with the most followers) hoping to gain some notoriety through association. I think there are a lot of fame-obsessed people on Twitter especially. I “unfollowed” on very famous author on Twitter (whom I had an active off-line relationship with for many months prior to us following each other…we strategized together, talked on the phone, emailed, and even endorsed each others books.) But once on Twitter (which I introduced him to) he decided to only interact with other famous, high profile people (folks with a lot of followers) on Twitter. He wasn't that way before he got on social media.

    Having said that, I have established a few very close and meaningful connections via social media. I connect with those people offline more than online, and that has resulted in real business.

    I have lost my excitement for Twitter, mainly because there are so many people who just want to try to show how much of a guru they are. That's real turnoff.

    I tried an experiment recently where I did not use social media at all for two days. I got so much accomplished in my business, and made six sales in those two days. Sometimes, social media is just a time waster.

  • http://twitter.com/rustyspeidel rustyspeidel

    I am at that age where I still remember life before computers even existed. As a result, I have always brought a healthy dose of skepticism to any new media/technology explosion. These tools are amazing, but they are just that–tools. They are not a substitute for a full life.

    I checked out over the holidays and really didn't miss it that much. Is that bad? ;)

  • http://twitter.com/rustyspeidel rustyspeidel

    I am at that age where I still remember life before computers even existed. As a result, I have always brought a healthy dose of skepticism to any new media/technology explosion. These tools are amazing, but they are just that–tools. They are not a substitute for a full life.

    I checked out over the holidays and really didn't miss it that much. Is that bad? ;)

    That said, I think if your company makes a commitment to be accessible online, then pulling the plug would send a pretty bad message.

  • http://twitter.com/Narciso17 Narciso17

    hmm…everyone seems to have pretty much covered the bases here; but I do find it intriguing that it's even an option…like @ginidietrich pointed out, it seems like this would be the kinda move to make if you were ready to shave your head and join the Hare Krishna dudes with their tambourines…pretty much the same to me…even if you were to change industries…say, for example, you were to become a teacher after working on Wall Street for 20 years….you would still want to have that connection.

    And I suppose that's the key…if you WANT to stay connected, then you don't walk away 'for good'…ever…cause if you do, you may as well stay 'gone'…may as well sharpen your tambourine skills…!

    Narciso Tovar
    Big Noise Communications
    @Narciso17

  • http://twitter.com/Narciso17 Narciso17

    hmm…everyone seems to have pretty much covered the bases here; but I do find it intriguing that it's even an option…like @ginidietrich pointed out, it seems like this would be the kinda move to make if you were ready to shave your head and join the Hare Krishna dudes with their tambourines…pretty much the same to me…even if you were to change industries…say, for example, you were to become a teacher after working on Wall Street for 20 years….you would still want to have that connection.

    And I suppose that's the key…if you WANT to stay connected, then you don't walk away 'for good'…ever…cause if you do, you may as well stay 'gone'…may as well sharpen your tambourine skills…!

    Narciso Tovar
    Big Noise Communications
    @Narciso17

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

    I just read this Time article about committing social media suicide (http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,859…). What's interesting about it is that if you decide to quit your networks, you can never go back. You are dead, according to Web 2.0.

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

    I just read this Time article about committing social media suicide (http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,859…). What's interesting about it is that if you decide to quit your networks, you can never go back. You are dead, according to Web 2.0.

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    You forgot Airbenders. ;-)

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    You forgot Airbenders. ;-)

  • http://www.unitedlinen.com Scott Townsend

    I think you should constantly adjust your content creation from both a personal and a business standpoint.

    A person could go totally dark, (no phone, no fax, no email, no internet) but that seems a bit reclusive.

    What would it mean if a company quit using social media? Out of business?

  • Pingback: Has it really been that long? | The Thing That Should Not Be