I never thought I would say this. I experienced what it's like to have social media withdrawal today. I did not plan on being socially silent, it just happened. I got to work, became intensely focused on a project that required 100 percent of my attention. For someone that has ADD (I like to call it creative intelligence), it is incredibly rare that I ever focus on one thing for more than an hour. I soon realized that it was nearly 1pm and I should take a break. I figured that during my lunch break I would easily find time to look at my phone, scroll through some blogs and emails, respond to some posts, add some credible responses, apply some deep digital thoughts, and then get back to work. This is a routine I have enjoyed because it keeps me sharp and feeling connected to the world I live in. But it didn't happen this day. Before I knew it, I was back at my desk focusing on accomplishing what I needed to get done before the end of the day. Soon it was 5:45pm... whoa, I thought. I never had the chance to connect with my "friends" on Linkedin and Twitter like I usually do. No reading my favorite blogs, no scanning current digital marketing events and trends, no quick responses to followers, no reading the digital pulse -- nothing. Suddenly, I felt like a social misfit; someone who isn't plugged into the social world at all. Is this what people call social media withdrawal?
I Am Even More Dependent On Social Media Than I Thought
As I sat at my desk in front of my 27-inch iMac, I just stared into thin air as I thought about why I wasn't able to plug-in to the social world I now realized I was so dependent on. I had a moment with myself I never experienced before. It was like being in a car, and in a split second, barely escaping a major automobile accident. My body and brain exited reality, looked at the situation from another perspective, assessed, and came back all in a matter of about two-tenths of a second. Maybe I had a social media accident? Hmm, I haven't heard of that before, but one never knows what life has in store for us. Weird.
The Physical And Psychological Reality Of Being Socially Silent
As I continued to stare into space, eyes glossed over, not hearing one sound around me, I wondered, how did this happen? What seemed like hours, I know was only about two seconds. My brain took me back to when I was a kid in a junior high classroom sitting in a chair at a desk. I was one of those kids who loved to tip back in my chair and see if I could balance as long as possible without falling over backwards onto the floor. Teachers always yelled at me for doing this. Just imagine that feeling of tipping back in your chair, precariously balancing on two chair legs just so far to the point where you are about to fall over backward. Your heart races, your eyeballs nearly pop out of your head, you break out into a cold sweat for a second. You take a deep breath in. A long exhale...this is the physical and psychological reality of being socially silent.
What If Withdrawal Symptoms Happen Again?
Now I feel stupid. What do I say to my employees when they ask me, "What's wrong Scott? Why are you so pale?" What in the world should I tell them? I know this sounds crazy, but it's real. Social media withdrawal brings on feelings of being inept, empty and unconnected. It's also feels like a cold sweat, or hanging on the edge of a cliff and suddenly pulling yourself back to safety. This is a very strange state that only lasts for seconds. This is not normal for me. I am always hyper-connected, full of energy and confidence, always learning, and have a zest for life. So how did social media withdrawal creep into my life and how do I prevent it from happening again? That's a very good question. I really have no idea. But, I do know that I can't wait for my new iPhone5S to be delivered to my office along with the new Keurig 16 ounce cup coffee maker. Hey, maybe I just solved the mystery.