Why I’m Going To Avoid Social Media For One Week

Social media is a great resource that offers high value. It does not, however, offer the highest value. 

Have you ever been in a retail store being helped by somebody behind a counter…when the phone rings? The person, perhaps in mid-sentence with you, stops, picks up the phone and all of a sudden you’re a mere afterthought.

Have you ever sat in a restaurant with friends or family, but not been in the moment because you can’t avoid checking and posting to Facebook, Twitter, Google + or playing Words With Friends (friends who aren’t sitting at the same table)? If you’ve not done this, have you ever sat at a table with somebody who does?

Perhaps you’ve looked back over a day, a week or a month and thought, “I could have written some chapters of that book I need to write.” Or, maybe you’ve peered into the rearview mirror of your life and thought, “That thing I need to finish could already be done if I’d been more focused and less distracted.”

I’m a customer service fanatic. That’s what over 3 decades of retailing leadership will do for you. Being in the moment, with the customer who stands directly in front of you, is the name of the game. A customer who has driven to your store, hopped out of the car, walked in the door and engaged you is vastly more important than a ringing phone (which should also be answered, but not by YOU).

Social media has become like the incessant ringing phone clamoring for somebody – anybody – to answer it. This week, I’m choosing to ignore it and pay attention to the people and endeavors before me.

Today’s show is about why I’m going to avoid social media this week.

NOTE: If you saw a Tweet about this post…I must confess, it was automated. Thank you for visiting this post. I sincerely appreciate  it.

11 comments… add one
  • hilarymeltonbutcher Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:13

    Hi Randy .. it sure was dark .. and I missed the yellow. I so agree with social media .. it’s inanity most of the time .. people think it’s clever, but it’s serving no purpose … however if you have a business, or contacts far away – then yes. But being interrupted because the mobile goes off is the pits .. constantly looking at it .. and because people are bored they’re playing games on it … there really is more to life = I agree!

    Actual landlines – if you run a business have a management system and let everyone know you’ll ring back very shortly .. you could and should become known for the first class service you provide ..I’m the customer that stands by the desk .. saying you’d better answer that! It stops the noise and the salesman is grateful .. I am …. depends on my mood.

    We need space, we need air, we need to interact and we need life – not connected permanently to ‘something’ .. there are people that manage these things really well .. but most people it’s unnecessary to be connected all the time.

    Cheers – I am really a happy person .. just the twitter or chit chat for the sake of it beggars belief .. and I’ve listened to you and commented .. good for you – stay away for 5 days … then what? – delete all your RSS entries?

    Hilary

  • RandyCantrell Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:22

    @hilarymeltonbutcher Hilary, yes – I’ll likely delete everything in my Google Reader come Saturday morning. Boy, you’ve got more patience than most if you’d prefer the person help the phone rather than you. Not me! And I never tolerated that in any business I operated, HOWEVER, I had systems in place for somebody to answer that phone by the 3rd ring.

    When it comes to my comparison of that ringing phone with social media though – as solopreneurs (which is what I am) – I’m not convinced I need a system for social media. Other than to have blog posts auto-Tweeted, simply to let folks know a new post has been made, I’m a real person Tweeting in real time. But that’s more of a proactive social media interaction. My main point this week is to eliminate CONSUMPTION – the listening, the getting distracted part of social media.

    Thanks for stopping by and starting the conversation. Hope you have a productive week!

  • hilarymeltonbutcher Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:37

    @RandyCantrell @hilarymeltonbutcher well it’s easier – I can tell you I get quite cross too – and they’ll lose my custom and I walk out. Well that ringing tone is awful – hence my need to get away from it .. so it needs answering! Most businesses don’t think like you – sadly.

    I agree .. that’s why I’ve never started -when I do get myself up and running .. I’d like the social media interchange to have validity ..

    Thanks – enjoy the downtime .. and I do agree about getting rid of waste .. cheers – I hope I do too .. Hilary

  • annedreshfield Jul 11, 2011 @ 14:40

    Fantastic post. It’s amazing how often the ringing-phone situation still happens, and it’s appalling how many people pull out their phones in a social situation like you described above. I’m a college student, so you can that I see it all the time in the dining halls. I’m living with my grandparents for the summer, so it’s refreshing to actually sit down and enjoy a meal with people who aren’t checking their email/text messages/Twitter feed/Facebook/Words With Friends, etc. Sometimes we need to take a step back and see just how distracted we are by social media, and how to detach from it!

  • RandyCantrell Jul 11, 2011 @ 14:50

    @annedreshfield Anne, thanks for stopping by. Glad to know I’m not suffering from old-fogeyism. Well, I may be, but this week I decided I need to assume the role of CREATOR more than CONSUMER. There’s little doubt in my mind that we have many more distractions than ever before. It’s easy to fritter away hours, days, weeks perhaps years with no meaningful accomplishments. Sadder still, are the people right here, right now who sometimes suffer our lack of engagement because we’re chained to a 2.5″ screen (or a 27″ screen).

  • annedreshfield Jul 11, 2011 @ 17:05

    @RandyCantrell To be honest, I’m surprised more people don’t speak up about it when people pull out their phones blatantly. It’s rude and should be pointed out as such. You can bet people make a mental note of the rude behavior, so why not let the person know?

  • Daniel M. Clark Jul 11, 2011 @ 17:47

    Just don’t let it stretch from a week to a month like I did, or you could miss some important things. I went off the grid for nearly six weeks, only checking on Twitter sporadically, only recording one of my four podcasts once a week (and even then, we skipped a couple). I came back feeling better for the break, but I missed the announcement that article pitches were being accepted for a magazine that I’d been consistently published in for over a year. It’s my own fault, but it’s hard to plan for being off the grid sometimes.

  • RandyCantrell Jul 11, 2011 @ 17:54

    @Daniel M. Clark Daniel, that’s what happens to you popular kids! I don’t have to worry about such things. 😀

    Your point is quite valid though. And it brings up the vastness of all the information coming at us. If we could only filter it in more meaningful ways…but as our networks grow (more friends, fans, followers) it becomes increasingly hard to sift through it all. It’s one reason I still find email so valuable. It’s targeted.

    I’m still learning though. Guys like you have a lot to teach old dogs like me. Thanks for stopping by.

  • kaylabarrett2 Jul 11, 2011 @ 22:07

    Thanks for the video. Important and critical reminders to staying on target. FB, Twitter, blog feeds, etc have crept into daily routines. Oh, if we simply tracked the minutes (or hours) we spend on these tools. Without a specific purpose in mind, you are right, we can meander in the social media universe until actual productivity suffers.

  • RandyCantrell Jul 12, 2011 @ 7:38

    @kaylabarrett2 My craving for it is what prompted the decision. I began to ask myself why I was craving it? What’s it giving me that is so powerful – so powerful that I waste precious time CONSUMING rather than CREATING? Consuming rather than contributing. Day 1 wasn’t easy. I was tempted throughout the day to check in, but other than blogs mentioned in emails – I resisted.

  • jasfountain Jul 23, 2011 @ 21:56

    Great stuff! I loved your rant on the back-up drive – I had a good laugh. No doubt, social media can be a time- and energy-sucker. Great points you make. Keep the great stuff coming!

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