It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a wifi signal! Thank goodness! We’ve been without internet and television at the new house for 2 months (cue gasp). It was kind of refreshing — to a point. Unfortunately it has limited my blogging, shop updating, and general upkeep with the rest of society. I actually had to ask someone about the weather forecast. So today, I’m typing this from a cute little cafe with free wifi a.k.a my parents’ kitchen. We still have not committed to cable or internet at the house yet, as we are finally finishing up some renovations and slowly moving in. Life without internet as a blogger and an online store owner has been challenging. Can I get a what, what for 3G? But as I sit here online, I think something needs to be said about the connectivity of our lives.
Turn off your T.V., put down your phone, and shutdown your internet every now and then. Ignore the addictions of Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Climb down from your online soapbox for awhile and try to remember the dark ages days without the internet. Who cares what everyone else is doing? Live in the moment without being plugged in.
Do you want to know what my beau and I have been doing a lot more of recently? We’ve been listening to the radio, knocking out projects at the house, and actually having real conversation with one another sans laptops. Yes, we will eventually get internet (and probably cable) at our house. We aren’t cave men and I do have a business to run. But when we do plug back in, I think I’ll make it a routine for us to put down the devices at least once a week and tune into each other. Just some wise thoughts from my own online soapbox…
Are you overwhelmed by social media? Are you so focused on being social “online” that you’ve stopped connecting in real life? Perhaps if you’re running your own business, a blog, or just keeping up with the Jones’s this may be your life. My grandmother posed a question to me recently. She asked, “why is everyone on their devices all of the time?” I just told her it’s a modern way of life, but after further thought I started to wonder why must we be so connected?
Whether you’re posting to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or just reading an article do you have a closer relationship with your computer than your friends? I like to think not, but I know sometimes I need to take a step back. We’ve all been guilty of tweeting or just surfing the web while we’re out. It’s right there at our fingertips and it’s hard to ignore. I know I’m guilty! I got caught checking my Fantasy Football Stats on date night with my man. Oops. At least it was football and not Instagram for The Wise Brunette, haha. Guilty of that one too. There has to be a better way to manage these networks — a way of staying connected without being online constantly. Here is what I’ve come up with.
- Schedule your social networking time. Designate certain times for social media whether it’s personal or business. Many small companies use social media to grow their business. As a business owner, you can build time into your workday to develop relationships for your brand, but be sure to stay away from your personal pages. If your social media usage is personal, you can still set time limits so you don’t become overly engaged. Watch a show without the computer and cuddle up to your sweetie for some quality time.
- Write out a list of tweets for the upcoming week. This mainly applies to business owners and bloggers. You may even consider developing a standardized tweet for certain events. If you host contests often on your blog, develop wording that will allow you to insert the link for the contest and the name of the business hosting. For shop owners who like to post product updates, this is also helpful. Develop a standard way that you can announce a new item has arrived to your shop and keep it the same. Brands thrive on consistency.
- Don’t over schedule or standardize too much. You’re not a robot! You’re a real person! One of the most important things about social media is actually talking and interacting with other people. I’ve met so many interesting people and small businesses on Twitter and Instagram that I never would have had the opportunity to connect with in person.
- Pinterest is addicting, but it should also be relaxing. I choose to do my pinning at night. Not only does it boost my business, but it’s one of those mindless activities that can keep me occupied while half watching a t.v. show — much like flipping through a magazine.
- Have a phone free evening. If you go to dinner with friends, have everyone place their phones in the middle of the table. Through the course of the meal, if someone feels the urge to text, Instagram, Tweet, or send a foodie post, and they grab their phone first — well they get stuck with the bill. Obviously there are exceptions if you receive an emergency call! I can’t take complete credit for this idea. It was suggested by a friend.
As human beings, we need some down time for both our sanity and our health. In Europe, their lifestyle often revolves around taking breaks to relax and refresh. Here in the United States, we feel the need to work constantly. More on that topic later. Reading an article on my computer, iPad, Kindle or whatever device does not replace looking at a magazine or reading an actual book. I still get that little bleep if there’s an email and inevitably I end up on some other social media site. Aside from that, I wouldn’t trust reading an iPad or a Kindle in the bath tub without it going for a long soak, too! Take some time for yourself and de-connect so that you can get back in touch with real life.
Are you guilty of social media overload? Do you have a plan that keeps you off of your phone or computer or a way to decompress? Do you schedule your networking? I’d love to hear all about it!! Let’s talk about it on social media… or I guess you could call me.
In honor of Nelson Mandela, it seems appropriate that today’s Wise Words belong to him.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
Take these quotes with you and live better. Be strong, push through, and you will be rewarded. Thank you Nelson Mandela. May you rest in paradise, as you continue to inspire.