What is FOM? In essence it is one of two months out of every year where WE, people who want more of life and try new things push limits and the norms and status quo are OFFLINE from Social Media during a month.
This “movement” is starting to get more and more traction and it is time for my friend Simon to share his experience testing what he calls:
Social Media Cleanse
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I didn’t really have a lot of expectations going into my first Offline month.
I haven’t been 100% offline so, I like to call it a Social media cleanse, because that’s what I’ve been doing.
I didn’t really feel that I had a problem with my relation to and use of social media, I identified that it probably wasn’t a worthwhile investment of my time and didn’t contribute to my life and wellbeing.
The big experience was the hole in my social life that I’d filled with social media. Replacing real people and interactions with posts and pictures. It’s become very clear how shallow most interactions on social media are, and ultimately mostly meaningless.
However, when these social interactions were removed… I felt empty. I was on the verge of depression for probably two weeks, mainly texting/calling everybody I knew seeking acknowledgment. Being secluded on a work trip didn’t help. After I calmed down a little, I started to reevaluate my social situation and tried to replace the hole left by social media with “real” social interactions. And it’s great.
I’ve probably increased my facetoface time with friends and acquaintances by 300 400%.
I work with most of my best friends so I get a lot of social interaction that way… but everything outside that sphere is mostly pushed to weekends, and at times I’ve probably filled my entire quota of the “other” social sphere through social media. So I’ve spent a lot more time building my relations with acquaintances and people who shift my perspective, challenge my beliefs.
It’s been very rewarding and I’m going to put in a lot of work on that going forward as well. That’s my biggest experience seeing how I’d neglected parts of my social aspirations because of the convenience of “satisfying” them through social media. This may be a kind of fuzzy subject so I’ll make an example: My closest friends share my biggest interests: training and health.
(Edit: Simon is a CrossFit coach and follow parts of the SEALfit “protocol”)
Hanging out with them I exhaust all my need for conversation about these topics.
Other interests and real interactions.
Outside of that I’ve got peripheral interests who are still very important to me, like art. I haven’t spoken to a real person about art IN YEARS. But I follow artpeople on Instagram. And so I fool myself into thinking I’ve got that covered, even though a quick museum visit with a real friend would be much more fulfilling. And that neglect of peripheral interests and broadening my social relations has been very revelatory and will be something I’ll try hard to rectify in the future.
I’ve gained additional respect for the people closest to me and how much their time and company mean to me.
Productivity / Work
I’ve not really gained a lot of time by avoiding social media, I wasn’t spending much time with it to begin with. But it has increased my focus tremendously as earlier my first instinct by any kind of break was to check my phone, if even for a short time. Now I move on to my next task, keep focused and in the moment.
A few times I’ve been forced to use Facebook for work related issues. Me seeing these posts were both flukes, by notifications from my Mac, as I’d removed everything from my phone. It is interesting to note how today a lot of communication are handled through Facebook rather than a phone call.
Cat videos / Fun stuff
And yeah, I’ve missed out on a lot of injokes and videos posted by friends… But, really nothing important. I think.
I’ll check my Facebook daily, by computer. I’ll only keep Facebook messenger on my phone, without notifications. Instagram is the one I’ve missed the most, but when I checked it yesterday it just felt like scrolling through spam. I’ll do som serious spring cleaning and probably mainly keep close friends and a very select few other people to follow. Twitter I’ll keep but only check sporadically, as before. I mostly read weird twitter anyway, and that’s impossible to replicate so…
I’ll probably start doing this biannually. I’m actually not that hot on going back in at all.
Real people and interactions are the shit.
– Thanks Simon for sharing! Connect with Simon on Instagram
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