So, I took most of August out and distanced myself from social media and blogging - it seemed a good time to do it as I had some other stuff going on (a mini cruise to Amsterdam and a weeks holiday).
I had an occasional glance at FriendFeed but only very rarely and Google Reader went begging - there are thousands of unread items I need to wade through/mark as read and a number of feeds that I will most likely unsubscribe from.
Have I learnt any lessons from my time away or is it all really common sense? Let's have a look.
Who needs social media?
What did we do before we had what we currently think of as social media? We found other things to occupy ourselves, and that's exactly what I did during last month.
As a family we have started playing World of Warcraft so that's good to eat up a few hours and it also helped that the UK domestic football (soccer) season has started again so that provides something else to keep me occupied.
Do I need social media? No, and to be honest I haven't really been missing it as I have been spending more time with my family in the 'real' world.
Social media, just like anything else, is habit forming - we can create our own addictions by getting, and wanting to stay, involved. Conversely, distancing ourselves from something for long enough reduces the craving until you can quit. Will power is needed and having a distraction is very beneficial.
Common sense. The above can apply to just about anything and not just social media.
Who needs blogging?
I have had no inclination to blog during my time away and have had to force myself to write this; do I feel I owe it to myself to summarise what happened, or owe it to you the reader? Why should we owe anyone anything?
Blogging is a tough mistress and we often put undue pressure on ourselves. Whether it is because we feel that our readers have invested their trust in us by subscribing to the feeds so we feel compelled to explain ourselves I don't know but we are always our own worst critics when. let's face it, most others couldn't care less. For every social media blogger who disappears there are dozens more to take up the mantle - this is not an area that will dry up anytime soon.
Hutch remarked that if you are having problems blogging then you should return to what interests you but it can be worse than that: what do you do when the blogging process itself doesn't interest you? You just have to step back like I did and wait for the enthusiam to return. I think I'll be waiting for a little while longer yet.
I'm the kind of person who becomes addicted to things very easily but I also have a very low boredom threshold. If I'm not kept interested then even the strongest addiction doesn't stand a chance (alcohol and gambling in my past can attest to this) so I need to keep myself challenged in order to thrive.
We'll have to see what happens over the coming weeks.