It is my belief that to use social media properly, one must first stop using social media. Certainly amidst the hustle and bustle of seeking to get a leg up on ones competitors, one thinks we must constantly burn the midnight oil logging unending hours getting our social media on. Sure, I get all that. Heck, I do all that. But, that being said… what is it we are all individually doing that positions us with a posture that actually owns these tools, without allowing them… to own us?

With life, we are all building an infrastructure or path to the future. That path is our foundation, or simply put, the reasons each of us believe we exist. The right and wrongs and the things that are most important to us.

It is from there where we base our decisions in life and priorities. With life firmly planted on this infrastructure, it is anchoring us to a path hopefully built to last.

In this, social media simply put, is an application to enhance that experience. Social media did not come to replace it, but enhance it.

When we unknowingly shift to having social media as the infrastructure and life as the application, we’re done. Just like that, it owns us.

What does one do?

Stop using social media… for at least one hour per day to go do something else instead to regain perspective. In other words, unplug yourself from connectivity for at least one hour every single day.

Is this possible?

One might say in response to this.. “But I am not actively on it during parts of the day.”

This is true, but, you have access to it and chances are, you are even monitoring it. I know I do.

I don’t know about you, but I am convicted.

If I am going to travel around the world and speak, teach, or advise others on social media as I do, then I need to be not just a social media user, but a responsible one.

What does this mean for me?

It means every single day I seek to open up the windows to let the bad air out. I do this by unplugging myself from technology for one hour and I take a hike.

Just down the road from where I live is an incredible nature park with amazing landscapes with different scenery all throughout. The trails add up to 3.3 miles and I take my hour unplugged walking them. And yes… unless I am on a picture taking hike, there is no social networking aloud.

In doing this, not only does it provide an amazing physical workout as some of those hills are brutal, it also allows me to regain perspective as I step away from the echoing noise of the social networking echo chamber.

In this, I can become a responsible user with regards to owning my use of it without letting it own me. Now, of course, how you are using it is another discussion. But, when it comes to time, mental energy, and clarity, we all need to see the value of such a daily retreat. Or, at least I know I do.

But, how does this allow one to use social media more properly?

  • Fresh perspective on priorities
  • Exercise is always a key component to healthy living
  • Mental clarity on tasks at hand
  • Reset Boundaries of how your social media usage
  • Rest your eyes

Does that add up to you? It sure does for me.

With a teenage daughter, I know full well the future is all digital. But, I do remember a time where digital meant something we saw in the movies. I remember how much life we lived. Now, I think we miss a lot of life because we are constantly on the treadmill of social media. Maybe every once and awhile we need to actually get off the treadmill and maybe just do the real thing… somewhere else and away from it all.

With this, why are we so afraid that we will miss something?

Yes, life connected to the grid can be addicting. Yet, the world is not going to fall apart because you took a moment to hit pause and exhale. Because if it did, maybe it would be a lesson to us all that we should have never held our breath that long.

So, do yourself a favor, your future a favor, your family a favor, your friends a favor, your whatever a favor and stop using social media… for 60 minutes everyday. (nope, sleep does not count.)

I call this a tech fast.

You might call it crazy, and that’s okay.

With social media, there really are no rules. But, when it starts to own you, adjust. Hit the pause button. Be rational.

Yet, in this… we have all been there and we have all seen it… the over reaction of the pendulum with all the right motives but based on all the wrong things. So in this, let it swing…

So, what we see as a result are the countless attempts I see people take all the time with… okay, I really mean it now… I am going to delete my Facebook account or Twitter or whatever. To them, I say… good for you. In this, Facebook or Twitter was never the problem. They were the problem. We are always the problem once we allow anything to go from being application to infrastructure. Shoot, I can write a book based on all the times I have done the same thing in many areas of my life.

The trick though is in knowing when the switch happens and what to do about it.

Kind of like being on a train to somewhere and yet somewhere along the line, the switch up on the track ahead was flipped and instead of going to that somewhere, we ended up elsewhere.

How does this happen? When does this happen?

With social media, I see it as an amazing tool. I see it continuing to evolve. I see it as a key enhancing component to our future interactivity. Just as long as we own it and it… doesn’t own us. Does this mean adopting a stop-using all together mentality? Nope. But rather a wisdom-based user mentality that places social media as an application and not the infrastructure of life as we know it.

With this, I am certain there will be plenty of times in the future where I will miss something because I was trying so hard to capture something… in a tweet or post. For that and as I write this, please know, I can only offer you that of a process and not perfection.

I will simply seek to take mine, will you take yours? See you in 60 minutes.

Stay tuned in the months ahead for the release of my new digital book on The Mindset of Social Media.