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As I sat on my couch last week and scrolled through my iPhone, I found myself mildly annoyed at what I saw on my Twitter feed. Not everything. But enough that my mood changed. “You know not to pay attention to any of that, BK”, I told myself, “Filter that out. Focus on the good stuff.” So I did. I even went into Twitter’s settings and muted a dozen words and phrases that created a lot of the noise I wanted to avoid.
Even with my mental reminder and filtered focus, my experience didn’t change. To see the positive stuff I still had to wade through a mountain of negative stuff. Pretend breaking news of nothing relevant. Provocative headlines trying to get a reaction. Deliberately deceptive headlines trying to shape perceptions. So many people blaming, complaining, and getting defensive that it’s impossible to be on Twitter and not see it.
I wondered to myself, “How would my day-to-day mood be different if I never saw any of this? Why am I willingly giving my attention to something that consistently puts information in front of me I never wanted to see, attitudes I would never associate with, and people treating others in ways I would never accept?”
I want to find out.
So I made a simple decision: completely remove all social media from my life for the rest of 2020. That’s three months — October, November, and December.
For fun, and because it fits the times, I’m calling it social-media distancing.
I won’t open Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media platform. I won’t post on any of them either. I turned off every notification on every device. I put all the apps in a folder and buried that folder on the last page.
It’s not that I lack self-control to manage my time and attention on these platforms. It’s that the platforms are specifically designed to strip away that self-control.
It’s not that I can’t choose to see the good. It’s that I can’t control what I see like I do in the rest of my life.
It’s not that the platforms are bad or negative. It’s that the choices and behavior of people on the platforms at this time is peak hysteria, impulsive outrage, zero patience, and low humility.
It’s not a culture I want to be around right now. It’s not what I want myself exposed to this Fall. And that’s an easy decision for me.
I have three objectives for social-media distancing the rest of 2020:
I’ve said this before and it’s still true for me:
I’ll re-evaluate, and probably come back, to social media in January 2021. I don’t expect the platforms to be better or worse then. I know people won’t behave differently either. Human nature is constant.
But I will have 90+ days of a personal reset. I will have a refreshed focus on the life immediately around me. I will have renewed energy on the priorities with direct effect on my family, my friends, and my business.
If you follow me on social media, you won’t see any of my content there this Fall. If that’s something you’ve enjoyed and gained benefit from, first, thank you. I appreciate you.
Second, if you’re interested here’s where you can find all my content in October, November, and December of 2020:
This is an E+R=O moment for me. Event + Response = Outcome. I don’t control events. I don’t control outcomes. I control my response. If I want to create better outcomes, and I do, I can’t rely on events to get better. I need to improve the skill of my responses.
And my response is most important when the event is most difficult.
Brian Kight is a multi-industry leader on the topics of leadership, culture, and behavior. He provides simple systems that produce exceptional results for organizations, teams, and people.
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