I won’t be using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn from February 17 through April 3.Â I’m giving up social networking for Lent.
Amy took on this challenge on in the fall and it’s stuck in my mind. It’ll be hard for me, and will pose both personal and professional challenges.
I expect that people who don’t much use these networks will roll their eyes and think that if I’m that obsessed with some silly website, it’s about time I took a break, but it’s not particularly impressive and it’s an exaggeration to call it a fast. Conversely, I expect that people who use these networks as natural parts of their lives will be both aghast that I’m taking myself back to such a Luddite state, and convinced that it’ll hurt much more than it helps.Â Basically, I think most people will think I’m crazy, one way or another.
But like most things that are good for you, I think it’ll have a variety of benefits.
First and most obviously, I’m doing it for religious purposes. The point of a Lenten fast is to deny yourself a normal part of your life, partly to offer up that discomfort, but also because discipline is freeing. When you don’t “have” to have something, you’re open to that much more of life, of love, and of God.
(The side benefit, from a religious point of view, is that I’m not very comfortable talking about my faith, and it’s something I want to be better at. So, a fast that’s public-facing forces me to do that, at least a little.)
Second, it’ll be interesting to see how this alters my professional and personal interactions. I know it will, but I want to see how and how much, and how I can work around it.
And third, I believe that it’s the last time I can do something like this. With the introduction in the last few days of Google Buzz, social networking is now firmly intertwined with email – and therefore, with the crux of online life. Buzz updates are right in my Gmail box. (And the lack of that was what was wrong with both Friendfeed and Google Wave, but that’s another post.) By 2012, “social networking” won’t even be used anymore – because it’ll have succeeded. These networks (maybe these exact ones, maybe not) won’t stand alone at all. They will be networked – fully – into your email, your phone, your whole life. So, while I can still separate them out, I want to try it.
In the meantime, I’m reachable by all other means, in person (!) as well as by phone, text and email, and I’ll be blogging. So tell me what you think!