I’m back online after a whole week off work and without any tweets, blog posts, photo uploads or much action between me and the internet at all.

If you’re curious to know what it’s like to live without Facebook, Twitter, iPlayer, Digg or whatever it is that keep you stuck to your laptop in bed, at the dinner table, on the sofa, on the train and at work I urge you to give it a go. It really made me realise that amongst other things…

  • Social media is a means, not an end. I’ve always maintained this when referring to people who make social media their life, going to wanky conferences and ‘tweetups’ to try and talk to people who know less than them because it makes them feel better about their insignificant lives. But really stepping away from it for a week and seeing that it had no negative impact on my life drove the point home for me.
  • Making stuff with your hands is what we humans are designed to love doing. To my shame I’ve not really created much in the physical world in recent years. In my week off I redecorated my house (well, half of it) and was reconnected with the primal joy of just making stuff with my bare hands.
    Of course there was the odd “should that tile be 3 pixels to the left?” and “can I buy some #ffffff paint please mate? Actually make that #f7f4ea….er… I mean magnolia” moments but I didn’t miss the certainty and consistency of virtual objects and processes, run perfectly every time and rendered on a pixel-perfect LED screen. Now I see why men hit their thirties and start wanting to build their own house.
  • Email will never die. There are people who see email as a relic from phase one of the internet, soon to be usurped by messaging tools provided in social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. I see that messaging functionality within other services as a passing trend, particularly with the increasing security concerns that are being aroused by the likes of Facebook. When it comes down to it, you can’t beat email and phone (or Skype).

This doesn’t mean to say I’m ditching social media in any way. The week has merely served to recalibrate my use of it. I will be resuming service on my Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, willfrancis.com, Tumblr and the rest from the minute this blog post goes live 🙂