Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Social Media Breaks (Pt. 2)

Our first post in this series explored the idea of social media breaks--what are they, exactly, and how do you know if you need one?

This post will explore types of social media breaks and offer tips for you to get the most out of your break.

Total Break From Social Media
This is for the kind of person who likes to make a dramatic statement.


It's all or nothing for this person.  They will have few to no regrets as they hide their smartphone,  upload beautifully created "Goodbye" graphics, and tag their friends.

The upside? If you fall into this category, you are likely to get the most out of your break, particularly if you combine it with travel. You may very well end up relishing your time off and re-discovering the joys of non-electronic hobbies and (gasp!) in-person conversation.

The downside? You'll be dying to post all of your revelations on....social media.  Jot down some notes and create a monster blog post for when  you come back...if you come back.

This kind of break works well for creatives or other people who have big projects they've been procrastinating on. You might discover that Instagram is your favorite platform, and that you're OK with dropping Twitter and/or Facebook, for example.

Image from Pixabay.com

Partial Social Media Break
Although the results may not be as dramatic, this type of break is probably more realistic for most of us.  You can approach it one of two ways.

      A) Take a break from one or more types of social media.
Perhaps you're the type who gets an endorphin rush when someone replies to you on Twitter...and before you know it, you've skipped dinner to dive deep into several political hash tags. Try logging out of your account for a week....or even a day. And don't forget to turn off your notifications. Unless you're a social media manager, chances are good that you'll miss nothing earth-shaking.

       B) Stay on social media, but check it less (once or twice a day versus several times an hour, for example).  You'll experience less noticeable benefits, but this is also a good way to ease into a total break.

1.  Pick a length for your social media break. It can be exact (e.g., 37 days) or approximate (1-2 weeks).

2.  Pick at least one goal not related to social media, and sketch out a rough plan to achieve it. You can accomplish one or two steps towards the goal; don't pressure yourself to do the whole thing in an unrealistic amount of time.

3.  Post reminder notes around your desk, on your phone, or anywhere else helpful.

4. Know your weak spots.  If you check social media automatically, make it more difficult for yourself. Delete your social media applications from your phone. Better yet, turn your phone off completely unless you are making a phone call or answering email (setting aside a pre-determined block of time for these tasks will make it easier). Use a browser extension such as StayFocusd to remind you to stay away.

5.  Reward yourself. Spend the time that normally goes to social media on something you normally "don't have time" for -- calling an old friend, going outside, crafting--whatever it is you've neglected for too long.

6. Don't beat yourself up if you "cheat." It's not black and white, all or nothing. Just keep going.

7.  Enlist the help of others.  Have a buddy who can text you encouragement.  When you are both finished, go out and celebrate.

Have you ever taken a social media break? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below.

The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) is a group of faculty, staff, and students at Tarleton State University with a mission of conducting social media research; sharing social media best practices; and providing social media education for students, non-profit organizations, state agencies, school districts, and higher education institutions.

Contact us:
Texas Social Media Research Institute
Follow Us on Twitter - @TSMRI
Call Us - 254-307-8211
Join Us for Our #TXSocialMedia Weekly Twitter Chats on Thursday Nights at 8pm CDT

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