As an early adopter of social media in all of it’s forms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, SnapChat and so on), I have always believed in the incredible power of the medium to build and foster relationships. As a person who makes a living based on relationships, it seems counter intuitive to turn my back on social media. Yet that is precisely what I have decided to do…for one week! I know, I know! I just re-read that and laughed at myself. How pathetic that I’m writing a blog post about a one week hiatus from social media but for this husband, dad, and broker/owner, this is HUGE! Just ask anyone who knows me and is “connected” to me on any of the aforementioned social media sites. Not to mention that I have done considerable business as a direct result of social media, or have I?
Yesterday at 12:36PM I posted my last status update for the week. Several people reached out to me with varying reactions. Mom asked “why? it is the best way for me to know what is happening in your life?” A friend emailed “good for you because Facebook is like crack for a crack ho to me!” Others emailed that they would miss me and another jokingly emailed “good riddance, I’m tired of your posts anyway!” Hey wait! Maybe that wasn’t a joke? To my mom I promised I would answer ALL of her phone calls and we could actually talk like “old times.” To my friend I could only admit that I too consider myself an addict of Facebook. To those who declared that they would miss me I responded with my cell phone number and an invitation to lunch. You see, I am craving the intimacy that comes from sincere face to face relationships with friends and family and social media in my case should be deemed anti-social media. I rarely speak on the phone to my own dear mother who I simply adore. My sister and I have never been more distant because our communication is exclusively via social media. I haven’t see my best friends in months. My wife and kids complain endlessly that my smart phone and tablet seem to be more important than them. Once this week of social media abstinence is complete, I will not only reduce the 1500 “friends” that I have on Facebook but I also hope to limit my time on these various sites and actually have more REAL conversations and communication with family and friends and maybe even build some new relationships the old fashioned way: by talking. So far so good.
Just over 24 hours has passed and the results are quite pleasing and very telling. Last night I, my wife and our two children sat down to dinner together. We spoke with the kids about their days at camp. I wasn’t distracted nor did I feel the need to post some witty status update on Facebook. After dinner, my wife and I sat at the table conversing for a good 15-20 minutes…WOW! A phone-less trip to get ice cream insured that my daughter and I were truly together as we chatted and laughed. Time without electronics allowed me to explain the Home Run Derby to my son who rarely has ANY interest in sports. Since I wasn’t checking social media sites, I was in bed and asleep before 11PM. After a great night’s sleep, I awakened without running straight to my phone or tablet to check messages, status updates, or the responses to MY status updates. Nope, none of that! I then sat, listened and participated in a morning meeting, took the subway to the office, met with a new agent, edited a new exclusive agreement, sent a paid invoice to a recent client, replied to numerous emails, paid bills, wrote a gratitude list (something I like to do daily but often don’t because of anti-social media distractions), and now I am writing this blog post! “Big deal” you say? If you know me that is EXACTLY what you said and for various reasons not the least of which is that I am typing this blog post.
You see, it has been more than 6 months and likely closer to 9 months since I have written any original content for this blog. This blog from which I can actually measure the amount of business that I have done as a direct result from my posts. One of my most favorite couples came to me via this blog. She a best selling author and he an accomplished writer in his own right found me by searching real estate blogs via Google. I sold their home, helped them purchase a new home, and sold them a studio as a guest quarters. Their friends also purchased a home with me thanks entirely to the original connection I made via this blog. It feels good to write again and specifically more than 140 characters.
So if the first 24 hours of SM abstinence is any indication, this real estate agent can not only afford a social media hiatus but I would bet my eye teeth that this will be a healthy, productive and educational week in which I will have ample time to spend with my family, my customers and colleagues, and old friends, not to mention all of the time that i may have for blogging, reading and maybe even some genuine relaxation. If you doubt me, remember that LIFE cereal commercial and just call me “Mikey!”