July 11, 2011, 4:47 PM —
I was recently chatting with a fellow at work who told me that he was in the midst of a colon cleansing. For two weeks he wasn't drinking booze, eating meat or otherwise abusing his innards in an effort to purge his body of all sorts of gunky stuff. He never felt more alive, he said -- or sounded more insane, I thought.
When he told me this, I smiled, nodded and wished him a speedy recovery from the head trauma he had clearly suffered and then I got back to tweeting about how gassy my lunch had made me.
A couple of days later, while taking a break from posting pictures of my recently deceased cat's post mortem paw prints to Flickr, I found this Pew Internet study on how social media affects our lives. The following quote caught my eye:
Some worry that as a result of using these services, people may become more isolated and substitute less meaningful relations for real social support.
Wow - social media use can be a bad thing? That made me wonder: do I have a problem with social media?
Well, let's see: I have my personal Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts, two work accounts I tweet from and the corporate Tumblr account I maintain. I rarely go more than five waking minutes without tweeting about the crappy Boston weather, posting unflattering pictures of myself or checking the Facebook statuses of vague high school acquaintances to see what they had for lunch. Finally, my wife recently interrupted my tweeting to ask me pick our daughters up from school and I responded with, "We have daughters?"
Clearly, I realized, I was in need of SMA (social media anonymous).
So, I decided to give myself a social media colonic. I'd go one whole week without social media to (a) see if I could even do it and (b) reconnect with my family or, at a minimum, remember their names. I would do no updating or checking of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube or LinkedIn, for work or personal use, Basic online necessities like email, web browsing and pornography downloading would, of course, still be allowed.
After enjoying one last Sunday night social media orgy, I posted what would be my final social media update for one whole week: