Delightfully, I have made it through January without making a single NY resolution. I haven’t fallen off any wagons, disappointed mysel...

Facebook (and twitter) free for February


Delightfully, I have made it through January without making a single NY resolution. I haven’t fallen off any wagons, disappointed myself or regretted the new gym direct debit. Not once. Quite simply, I’ve been happier for it too.

When I realized that no amount of street dance classes would ever make me “pop” like Beyonce in 2008, or when I concluded that cabbage soup was literally impossible to eat for one month in 2009 I felt that I should “give up giving up”.  In truth, I started resolutions that were achievable: 2010 saw me give up break dancing - yes, I avoided doing a master sausage for a whole 365 days (easier than you’d think, especially if you’ve never done any break dancing). In 2011, I gave up wearing high heels to work. My feet and posture are ever so grateful. 

This year however, I have felt the need to do something a little different once again, and it’s taken a few weeks to come to a conclusion – I’m giving up facebook and twitter for the whole of February. My boss probably likes this. Or maybe he doesn’t, considering I work for a social media agency! Vodafone’s data bundle department certainly doesn’t. I predict a sharp drop in shares during February. It’s not a revolutionary idea; in fact, many did this in January over at

Why am I doing this? I am in fact interested to discover how my life (professional, social and family) will be affected through abstinence. We encourage our clients to proactively connect with consumers in the social sphere, we absolutely believe it’s the way forward and that a sound strategic approach to social media can really benefit the brand and the consumer. But I love social media. I use it everyday. So what’s it like being a Joe Bloggs consumer when you’re not into social? I can’t remember, in truth.

I joined facebook & twitter in early 2007, and since then I have experienced only 2 instances where I went for longer than 24hrs without signing in – one was when I was in hospital after a major operation and the other was on holiday in a remote location of Africa with no internet or 3G. In both of these instances, I was outside of my normal routine, so neither really impacted my social or working life.

And sure, not everyone uses twitter and facebook as much as I do. Working for a social agency, it’s in my and my clients’ interests to be immersed. But the real reasons that I am so personally wed to my daily updates from facebook and twitter are in fact not just to keep connected to friends & family anymore, instead, I log-in everyday because I like:

  • Getting real time updates about travel (how many times have you turned to twitter to find out what’s really going on at Surbiton with the “technical fault"
  • Hearing about new music/ concert ticket sales first (no website or magazine is ever updated as quickly as the artist who updates their page themselves – priceless);
  • Notifications of sales/ offers/ discounts from brands I love (If that All Saints dress goes on sale & sells out while on my facebook free February I am simply going to die);
  • Hearing breaking news first and reading ‘from the horses mouth’ accounts before the BBC does (twitter is so brilliant for this);
  •  Crowd sourcing vital advice and tips from experts (God Bless you twitter for explanations on everything from changing washers and bleeding radiators to how to do my make-up like Jessica Rabbit for a party);
  •  Reading and connecting with industry peers (from other agencies to personalities in marketing across the- world – never has it been easier to find a silent mentor).
Additionally, when was the last time someone actually texted and invited me to a night out? When did anyone email me and ask if I was free on Saturday for a gallery visit? When last did someone email some photos of their new baby? 2006, that’s when. What will I do on my commute – die of boredom? What if I miss the invite to the best party of 2012?

On the plus side – I won’t have to read about Little Jonnie’s potty training progression or get into an argument with someone I’ve never met about whether it is OK to be sad about Amy Winehouse passing when there was also a gunman on the loose in Norway. Maybe I’ll talk to people more – in real life! Maybe I’ll read more.

So I am absolutely terrified about this little facefast (all of a sudden, cabbage soup for 30 days seems a much more achievable task), but I’m going to do it. Michael Erard wrote a wonderful piece on what he experienced when he gave up facebook –  it is all of my fears collected.

So here goes, a deep dive into the abyss of modern life without social media. If you find yourself next to a blonde on Platform 6 waiting for a delayed train muttering “I’m still waiting for the 18.25, hash swtrains you suck asterisk grumpy face asterisk ” – give us a little word of encouragement, won’t you?

By Michaela MacIntyre (@mich_maci)

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