I sent out the CTG newsletter this morning.
You should sign up – I only send out the email once a month and it is packed with things I’ve been thinking about or have found interesting over the past month.
I completely dropped social media four years ago. Deleted Facebook. Deleted Twitter. Shut down the blog.
I was a power user. I cultivated an online presence. (It felt like) people wanted to hear what I had to say.
And then I decided to pull the plug. 100%, full stop.
I was ready for the fallout. I was ready for the text messages and phone calls. “What happened?” “Are you ok?”
Instead, what I got was silence.
It kind of reminded me of the scene in Bettlejuice, after the Maitlands try to frighten the Deetzes at the dinner party by having them sing and dance to “The Banana Boat Song.” Afterwards, they’re just looking out the window, waiting for the Deetzes to come rushing out.
“Any second now.”
With the exception of a handful of emails over the course of the first year, most folks didn’t seem to notice.
For the most part, pulling the plug meant more time, less distraction, and less frustration. Sure, there were opportunities I may have missed, people I failed to meet, and certainly interesting things I didn’t read as a result. But honestly, I enjoyed the break. Most people will admit that they feel locked into it at this point and they can’t escape.
Pulling the plug and taking some time allows us to reset the relationship.
The truth is, when it comes to social media and whether you’re on it or not, nobody really cares. The thing people notice most about social media is their own presence in it – not the lack of someone else’s.
It’s not going away, but you can choose how you participate.
By the way, if you’re curious about why I pulled the plug in the first place, sign up for my newsletter. I lay it out.
Today is the one year anniversary of the blog. A year ago today, in a stuffy central London dorm room I started this blog with the intent of using it as a clearing house for stuff that I found interesting, but had no place in my graduate thesis.
Writing here has been a good experience for me, and is serving as a kind of methadone for the more intense writing I was doing in graduate school and on veterans issues. Once I started OCS, I didn’t really have the opportunity to write much. I managed to pick up my writing during IBOLC, which allows weekends and nights off (when not in the field). I expect the next year will be exciting, because I’ll soon be out of TRADOC and back in the force. I’ve made a pledge with myself that I’ll mostly sit and observe while in TRADOC. I’ve been out of the Army for five years so lots of things have changed. But once I’m out of here, I’ll push a little harder in my writing – both here and in other places.
I’ve run into some of the people who follow this blog – many who are young infantry lieutenants as well. And I know that some of the things I’ve written have sparked tough discussions on important topics, which is a good thing.
According to the site stats function that WordPress.com provides, my three most popular posts are: The 3 things you can’t talk about with military folk, Enough with the ‘infidel’ stuff. Seriously, stop, and Life in the Army – the ‘I Love Me’ book.
The post that I wanted to be more popular than it was: “Black Swan, The Hurt Locker, and the strange intersection of ballerinas and soldiers.”
With nothing to compare this year to, I declare the first year a brilliant success!