Back in August 2013, I stepped away from social media to take a digital detox for the month. At the time, I was active on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other platforms whose names I can’t remember.
When I decided to do this, it was kind of a new thing to step away.
Social media was a darling, and using it kept the dopamine faucet open, but I was finding it to be damaging to my health. So, with my friend, Sophia, I came up with an idea that I called The Silent Treatment (I’ve republished the original 2013 post).
I created The Silent Treatment to be an event of sorts. Of course, I had to brand it (eye roll) and share with others. In my defense, not that I need it, I was working as a social media manager for several clients, so I was deep into posting and maintaining an online presence, blah blah blah.
Now, all that activity horrifies me, but it’s kind of fun to look back to see how far I’ve come with online participation.
As a part of The Silent Treatment, I invited others to join me, and to my surprise, many people did!
If participants wanted, they could download one of the two badges that Sophia designed (I really loved the color orange) and could use it on their own blogs and websites.
Choosing the month of August was easy. I was always in love with how most Europeans lived, specifically the French, who took the month of August for vacation, so I decided to follow suit.
Now that I find myself actually living in Europe (good luck getting anything accomplished in August in Portugal), I’ve decided to revive the tradition of The Silent Treatment , which led to my eventual departure from nearly all social media platforms.
You can read my thoughts that led to my reduced social media activity from the 2014 post Lessons from the 2nd Annual Silent Treatment if you’re curious.
I left Facebook for good in 2016. Or at least that was my plan. I wrote about it in a post titled Everything Has a Season, Even Facebook. I never liked Facebook. I called it a necessary evil for my business at the time.
As an American abroad, it’s once again a necessary evil.
I rejoined Facebook in 2018 when I moved to Portugal, but instead of using it for business, I use it as a tool to understand what’s going on in Portugal (events, etc.), what I might need to know, like imminent fire danger, COVID-19 regulations, etc. The difference now is that I look at it maybe two or three times a week for about 10-15 minutes each time.
It would be difficult and time-consuming to determine what I need to know if I were limited to using Portuguese language sources.
I try to read about events and news in Portuguese. I understand the gist, and I can always run it through a translator app, but when I want to know if a concert this weekend is still happening, Facebook is the most efficient way to do that.
Also, most Portuguese businesses use Facebook as their website, which is super annoying, but websites cost money, and many are struggling to stay open. So, Facebook it is, much to my chagrin.
Social Media Now
In addition to my minimal presence on Facebook, I post once, maybe twice, a week to Instagram. Once to announce the weekly publication of this newsletter, and sometimes another photo of my ramblings around Setúbal. Also, I have a LinkedIn account, which I rarely use, but I occasionally post my newsletter there. And Substack, if you count that as social media (I don’t. It’s a newsletter platform, although I do engage with my readers, there/here).
I don’t see myself embracing Tik-Tok or any new platforms that hit the market. Maybe I’d join some obscure poetry social media channel, but that’s not likely to be a successful venture, so I won’t hold my breath waiting for that one :)
I did create a Setúbal-focused Instagram account but haven’t had the interest to do anything with it yet. For now, A Vegan in Portugal is where you can find me on the ‘gram.
I decided to revisit the Silent Treatment idea for August. So I‘ll take a break from Instagram and this newsletter, and while I will check Facebook, I will not make any posts (I rarely do, anyway).
Time away will allow me to work on other writing projects and my new small group Discovery sessions for my Move to Portugal program.
If you are curious about moving to Portugal and haven’t done a private session, a Discovery session might be for you. Drop me a line if you want to be on the interest list.
You can also reply to this email (or leave a comment if you’re viewing this on the web) and let me know what topics you’d like to see me cover once I emerge from hibernation.
Lastly, I am so grateful to you—to all my readers. You make writing gratifying, just knowing you’re out there reading! See you in September!
My new friend, LaDonna, is a fine writer—and lucky me, she now lives in Setúbal! Here’s her latest —> Learning to Live without Urgency
Via the amazing, lovely, and talented Sadia of Pick Up Limes is her recipe for Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk. Just 2 ingredients—two! Add to espresso, pour over ice, and drink. Can someone fall in love with a recipe? I think I just did!
Thank you Michelle & Lou, Janice, Roselle, Bryan, Alan, Iris, Roxanne, Lynn, Nuno, and several anonymous someones for your support.
You, too, can support life: examined, this weekly letter, through Buy Me a Coffee. Absolutely no obligation, but if you do I appreciate it!