My Social Sabbatical

tincup social media sabbatical

From June 1st, 2013 to September 1st, 2013 I (William Tincup) will NOT be active on any social networks. No Twitter, No Facebook, No LinkedIn, No Google+, No Instagram, No Foursquare, none of them. I’m deleting those applications from my phone AND I will not login to the web versions of any of those networks for the summer. I won’t be blogging via Fistful of Talent, HRexaminer, HR Tech Europe, etc. I also won’t be co-hosting DriveThruHR over the summer.

Here’s the thing…

I’m NOT running away from home. I’m NOT mad at anyone. I’m NOT mad at those networks. I’m NOT tired or need a break or need to unplug, etc. I haven’t recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease. I’m putting myself on sabbatical so I can learn something new… about myself, my habits, my loves, my addictions, etc.

How did I come to this idea? I was thinking about my childhood the other day. And, I used to love the summer months. When I grew up, from Memorial Day to Labor Day was filled with outdoor play activities. Soccer, football, baseball, basketball, swimming, etc. Yes, it’s hot as hell in Texas during the summer but each day was a new adventure. A new sport to play. No schoolwork / homework. Just playtime. I’d usually leave the house in the morning and not return until the streetlights came on… and sometimes later than that. I’d return home dirty, tired and hungry.

Well, for those of us that have kids, summer is not like that anymore. Our kids have just as much programming during the summer than they do during the school year. Sometimes more programming. No judgment… we’re guilty of over-programming at the Tincup household.

But all that nostalgia got me thinking about my relationships with these so called social networks. Those that know me, know that I absolutely love social… the good, the bad and even, the ugly parts of social. I really do love Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn… I can’t imagine life without them quite frankly. I can’t imagine life without taking photos of my kids via Instagram.

And, when I say “I can’t imagine” I’m going to actually test that. Rationally, objectively, test that. In terms of time, I hate it when non lovers of social say that it is a waste of time. It’s isn’t. I know that but I also know that I spend a lot of time via social. Consuming, sharing, creating, etc. A few seconds here, a few minutes here, a few hours there, etc. No one can argue that social doesn’t consume time. Yes, robots and automation can garner some time efficiencies but overall time is used. Creating blog posts, witty banter via Facebook, RT something via Twitter… quality social stuff takes time. Period.

I think the time is well worth it btw. But, I’m worried on some level about how my brain is being re-wired… re-wired to care about shit I probably shouldn’t care about… like comments, shares, likes, pokes, favorites, RTs, etc. It’s not just me… we’re all caring about this shit. Maybe too much, maybe not… but, it’s foolish to think that you don’t care. Some of you have heard my bit on addiction before… in sum, I think we’re all addicts. Every.Single.One.Of.Us. Addicted to: work, chocolate, sex, Facebook, fast food (mine), feedback, alcohol, drugs, attention, drama, etc. etc. etc. Pick your fucking poison… we’re all addicts… and one of the games of life is to trade your addictions from something destructive to something less destructive. That’s the bit.

As it relates to social, I’m not sure what addictions I have versus what behaviors I’ve created. So, in a sense, I have no idea what my social addictions are and/or to what degree. And this self-imposed sabbatical is my way of evaluating/determining what addictions I have. Truthfully, I have no idea.

I’m looking forward to learning… what will I learn about myself, those that I interact with most frequently, etc. No idea. I recently re-read Chris Brogan’s “Unfollow Experiment” blog post the other day… it’s worth a read.  In that experiment he learned a bunch via unintended consequences. I’m excited and terrified to find out what I learn from this sabbatical.

Lastly, I’ll post again via Fistful of Talent in early September and give the full details of my social sabbatical. It will be interesting to see what I miss and what I don’t miss. I also want to do some old fashioned business activities like… have coffee with folks, network offline, have more business calls, etc. I might love that and I might hate the old fashioned stuff. I have no idea how this little experiment will go. It might break me but at the very least I won’t be tethered to my phone for the summer… which means one thing… more pool time. Btw, if you need to reach me over the summer… email = william@tincup.com & cell = 469-371-7050

FOT Background Check

William Tincup
WILLIAM TINCUP, SPHR. William is the CEO of HR consultancy Tincup & Co. William is one of the country’s leading thinkers on social media application for human resources, an expert on adoption of HR technology and damn fine marketer. William has been blogging about HR related issues since 2007. He’s a contributor to Fistful of Talent, HRTechEurope and HRExaminer and also co-hosts a daily HR podcast called DriveThruHR. Tweet him @williamtincup and check him out on Facebook and LinkedIn. Not up to speed in the social media game? Reach out via email. William serves on the Board of Advisors for Insynctive, Causecast, Work4Labs, PeopleReport, Jurify, TrackMaven, SocialEars, AppLearn, StrengthsInsight, The Workforce Institute, PeopleMatter, SmartRecruiters, Ajax Workforce Marketing and is a 2013 Council Member for The Candidate Experience Awards. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Chequed and is a startup mentor for Acceleprise. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned a MA from the University of Arizona and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

16 Comments

  1. Leo says:

    I love this, except my blog views will now crash without your RT’s. You know what though? The rock will keep spinning. I hope your trip gets more interesting by doing this.

    Reply
  2. Kyle Jones says:

    William,

    You are right. We.are.addicted! I am curious to see what this summer brings you and what the outcome will be when you post about it in September. Will you miss it? WIll you decide at the end that you enjoy the things you “lost” because of social? Again, anxiously awaiting.

    Good luck and happy summer.

    Reply
  3. Hallie says:

    GOOD JOB! I just deactivated my Facebook account (the only social media I really used) and it’s been so peaceful.

    Reply
  4. Good for you William! The game this summer should be to take pictures of William whenever he is spotted so the rest of us know what he is doing :)

    Reply
  5. Marc Effron says:

    and I’d guess your business won’t drop by 1%, which suggests that the actual, measurable, incremental business value of social media in most industries is . . . .

    Reply
  6. Good for you! Enjoy the summer. I look forward to your recap.

    Reply
  7. Michael Haberman says:

    I am doing the same thing right after I win the lottery.

    Reply
  8. MIke Hunt says:

    He still has an army of RTers that post from the same RSS feed like clockwork. His twitter feed is so automated it makes Shally Steckerl look human. We know you are big time, try not to make those less worthy feel guilty for trying.

    Reply
  9. As a result of circumstance, I now also have a pool and have had some of the same feelings as you’ve outlined in this post. I also agree with your take on addiction, (brilliantly clear observations) … and I’m in my 22nd year without alcohol. With the pool open, I’ve noticed myself naturally gravitating towards the sunshine instead of the monitorshine. Though, I’m not ready to do what you’re doing… I can’t wait to hear your perspectives from the other side. Safe journey. (It will be interesting to know what programs and platforms you did interact with during this “off” time. Spotify, email, etc.) Enjoy your summer!!

    Reply
  10. Martin Burns says:

    Very cool – logging out of this stuff can be very good for you… We shut down all screen time for the kids over the summer (minus the occasional movie night), and tell them to get the hell outside. No camps, soccer clubs, etc etc. Just mud, pick up games, and skinned knees.

    I think they’re happier in their natural habitat.

    If you get the yen, we’re up in Maine for July, right by the water with a little rowboat we sling a 2 hp motor on the back of to get us out to some of the harbor islands to look for interesting critters. Would love to have you visit & be unplugged with us (to tempt you: it’s $12 for a softshell lobster & a bag of steamers from the fishermen across the bay, and we eat that far, far too often… :)

    Reply
  11. Elizabeth Borton says:

    Bravo for you! Although I’ll miss seeing you online. I think you’ll find it quite peaceful. I did when I semi-unplugged while living on our boat for a year. Amazing how many messages bombard us in regular life. It’s great to unplug.

    Reply

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