How to Etiquette-fully Go "Off
the Grid" of Social Media

Off the Social Media Grid

The many platforms of social media offer a variety of opportunities to connect with people online.  And there are also a variety of reasons for using it - marketing a product, sharing family photos, bragging about your latest vacation.  It is a meaningful way to connect with customers, business contacts, friends or family members when used correctly.

However, as with many habit-forming things, there is a down side.  Social media can add stress and self-imposed requirements of time.  It can add to a negative self-image or sabotage relationships. Stories abound regarding addiction to phone usage or certain apps.

Which is why some people eventually reach their limit and decide to go off the social media grid.  A sudden disappearance may leave connections and followers with questions they need answered, but there are methods for disengaging while keeping connections intact.

Etiquette-ful Disengagement

The decision to take a break from social media can be quite liberating.  The act of doing so may have some difficulty depending on your level of and reason for engaging on these platforms in the first place.

If you were never very active to begin with, it may be fine to simply stop posting and decrease the amount of time you spend on each platform before disengaging altogether.

If you are very active, and especially if you engage with business associates or market products and services, you may need a more gradual departure or an announcement that you are going off social media platforms.  Communicate with readers on each of your social media sources of your intention and purpose for taking  hiatus.  Keep information minimal, but avoid being abrupt.

  • "I'm taking some time off for a little 'R and R'.  I'll be back before you miss me!"
  • "Due to my new roles as a family man and my desire to really be good at this, I'm taking a break from social media.  Look for more updates from me in the future."
  • "I'm treating myself to an 'off-the-grid' summer.  See you in September!"

Avoid making a dramatic or negative departure and step aside from bragging about your decision.  Departures are reportedly remembered as much as first impressions so make sure you take your leave in a way that will be viewed as positive.

While You're Away

Breaking the habit of online communication could be tough.  Be mindful of finding ways to make the switch to offline life a little easier.  Have a list of activities ready that will keep you from logging on or picking up your phone.

However, it may be necessary for you to check for direct messages received through some social media sources as some may require a polite and timely reply.  Set strict boundaries around this activity:

  • Only check messages at a scheduled time of day.
  • Set a timer before doing your check-in to keep from getting off-course.
  • If your social media habit is truly difficult to break, take a week or two completely away before beginning to check personal messages.

Just because you are no longer communicating via social media doesn't mean you shouldn't communicate at all.  Make a point of reaching out to friends and family members via texts, phone calls, emails, or even better - in person!  It may take effort to stay connected, but it is worth it.

Remain mindful of the reason or reasons you decided to go off social media in the first place.  Is it because you just need a break?  Are you looking for other ways to connect with people?  Or are you simply testing yourself to see what changes when you remove yourself from the busyness of social media?

Many people report feeling more relaxed and at ease when they choose not to participate in online life.  This would be a good opportunity to use journaling as a record of your experiences and feelings.  You may learn a lot more about yourself than you anticipated.

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