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A week without Facebook, and other Social Media sites: Lessons Leared

April 16, 2012 5 comments

What would happen if you woke up one morning and couldn’t sign on your favorite social media site like Facebook, Twitter, Google+?   How would you feel?  How would you communicate with your friends?  How would it change your life?  Most importantly what would you learn from it?  That is exactly what happened to me.

For the last 2 years,  I have decided to give up Facebook Mobile on my phone for the Lenten time period of the 40 days before Easter.  Now while some of you may be laughing inside at the lack of relevance doing so has to everyday life, I’m sure the majority of you understand how not having mobile access to a major way of communication can affect you once you have already had it.

Did you know:   Over 700 Billion minutes a month are spent on Facebook, 20 million applications are installed per day and over 250 million people interact with Facebook from outside the official website on a monthly basis, across 2 million websites. Over 200 million people access Facebook via their mobile phone. 48% of young people said they now get their news through Facebook. Meanwhile, in just 20 minutes on Facebook over 1 million links are shared, 2 million friend requests are accepted and almost 3 million messages are sent.

via: Facebook Statistics

Now, I didn’t give up FB entirely, I could still go on my computer and catch up with everyone later in the day, so it was really no big deal. Having said that, I decided to take giving up Facebook to the next level for this year by giving up Social Media Entirely for 7 days!  Check out my previous blog on the subject, Giving it Up.

For the 2012 Lenten season I decided to go on a week-long Social Media Detox.  The Social Media Detox consisted of 7 days of absolutely no Social Media, including Facebook (except for my farm Page) Boucher Farms, Google+, StumbleUpon, Twitter and more.  I also decided to give up Social Media based online games such as Scramble, Words With Friends, and more.   In order to eliminate the temptation of playing a game or signing on the sites, I simply deleted the apps from my phone.  As you can imagine, staying away from social media for a week wasnt the easiest thing to do, but I am proud to say I did it and learned a few things from it like:

  1.  While it is nice to keep up with friends on FB and other Social Media sites throughout the day, there is really not a need to be constantly updated on my phone about whatever it may be.  It can wait till later.
  2. While I may missed out on a few things here and there on FB and other Social Media Sites throughout the day, I quickly discovered how much time I actually had during the day when I didn’t sit down to mess with my phone or computer.
  3. While I missed conversing with my Social Media Friends, I found myself spending more quality time with the ones who matter the most to me, my family.
  4. Social Media based games are a blast, but I didn’t really miss them.
  5. Since I deleted the social media apps from my phone, I basically turned my smart phone back into a regular phone.  I discovered after being used to having the world at my fingertips, having a basic phone is NOT an option for me.

So what are the lessons learned? 

  1. Social Media has its very important and ever-expanding place in today’s world of communications, however it also does not have to be constantly “checked in on.”  The viral video of the day can wait till the end of the day.
  2. Quality time is quality time.  Weather it be on a Social Media site  or with family and friends, make the most of the time you have and try not to mix the two together.  Honestly,while there are times when they work well together they usually interfere with each other like oil and water.
  3. Social Media games like Words With Friends, and other fun apps are great, but only use them to pass a few minutes of time.  Dont let time escape you while you are using them.

It’s easy to sit here, typing on my computer and state the lessons I learned, however as we all know actually living by them can be difficult.  So here’s my plan. 

I plan on checking FB, Google+ etc in the mornings, and at night, after the kids go to bed.  This doesn’t mean I wont post a pic or two from my phone throughout the day and check a notification or two, from time to time, but it does mean I wont be on as much in the heart of the day. 

Like I stated above, It can wait. 

“Letting it wait” has proven to save a lot of time which I can use to achieve other things in life including the most important thing, spending time with family.

I should add a note too,   I’m not against Facebook or other types of Social Media, in fact I believe they are a great communications tool which when correctly utilized has unlimited potential to bring people together and make the world a smaller and smaller place.  However, it does have some side effects like pulling the Social Media contributor away from the people who are around them, physically.  Achieving the balance of the two is the challenge.

As the old saying goes…”Everything in Moderation”

Thank you for reading, and God Bless!

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Giving it up, a 40 day Facebook and other Socail Media Detox

March 21, 2012 3 comments

Since I was a child, I was always taught that I should give up something for lent, which I do to this day, and I am not alone in this philosophy.  Most people Ive talked to about it say they have given up one of their favorite things such as certain type of Soda Pop, a type of candy or candy all together.  Some others have instead pledged to do something positive for the season.  For example, spending more time with family, a young sister being nicer to their brother, etc.

So I asked myself, what should I give up for this Lenten Season this year?  I tossed a few ideas around, but then I came back to what I gave up last year, which was my Facebook Mobile ap on my phone.  I understand some of you may be laughing right now, some of you may be rolling your eyes or maybe you get it.  Yes it sounds silly.   However, I found that I was spending an, well lets call it, unhealthy amount of time on FB Mobile.  The result was less quality time spent with my family and less day-to-day productivity on my farm.  So I decided to give up Facebook Mobile again this year for lent.

Now before you say, boy that’s easy, I will honestly say it’s not!  Picture yourself staying in touch with your friends throughout the day every day, then all at once, nothing.  Only phone calls, no FB texts, no profile updates, no viral video recommendations from that kid you went to grade school with who you don’t really know at all and so on.   We all know how Facebook can suck you in, and its hard to ignore.

As of today, its been about 3 weeks since I’ve last been on FB Mobile.  At first I was concerned I would be missing out on all the stuff going on on FB every day.  I thought Id miss out on the news and pictures my friends post.  What I found was that I was actually missing out on more when I was on the Ap as much as I was.  I missed out on family, on work, …..on everything.  Now I’m not saying FB or other social media is bad, in fact it has its place, but in moderation.

Going into the week before Easter, I plan on taking another huge step.  For that week, I have decided to delete my Twitter, Google+ and FB aps from my phone and will not be on their websites unless totally and absolutely necessary.  I call it:

The Facebook and Other Social Media DETOX Project.

For those 7 days.  I will fall off the social media grid in every capacity except for this blog.  Thats right, No FB, No YouTube, No Tweets, No Words with Friends, No StumbleUpon, No…well you get the idea.    For those 7 days my smart phone will basically be used as regular phone, with only Phone Calls, Text messages and a few (non online) games in use.  After being an active part of social media for years now, this wont be an easy thing to accomplish.

 I encourage you to join me in this Project and post your thoughts in the comments below.  

It all Starts this coming Monday and ends on Easter Sunday. 

Feel free to check back to this blog often as I will periodically post how things are going and post a summary after Easter is over.

Thank you for reading and God Bless!

As a disclaimer: I must say I dont believe Social Media is bad in any way, in fact it has become an awesome force in changing the world of communications, however, I believe sometimes, we need to step away from it to see what is physically around us.

Are College Degrees Surrounding Food and Animals and Plants Really “Useless”?

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

While doing my usual scroll through the social media landscape yesterday I discovered Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to be abuzz about what College degrees were useful in today’s society and which were not.  Having a Degree from Iowa State University myself, I found myself interested in finding out what degrees were deemed useless based on facts.  So I clicked on the article that everyone seemed to be talking about

http://education.yahoo.net/articles/most_useless_degrees.htm.

The Yahoo article turned out to be a blog post of sorts citeing info from the Department of Labor (indirectly) with quite a few of the authors opinions mixed in and few real facts.   So what were the top five listed “Useless Degrees” you ask?

  1. Agriculture
  2. Fashion Design
  3. Theater
  4. Animal Science
  5. Horticulture

Judging by this list, apparently no one needs to :

  1. Eat
  2. Wear Clothes
  3. Watch Actors on TV or Broadway
  4. Have pets care options
  5. Have any Landscaping around their houses, Golf Courses, Football Fields, or local Flower shops.

From a guys point of view, we need all of these!  WE love to eat good food provided by farmers and others in the Ag industry, we can’t live without a good pair of Jeans and a T-shirt, there are few things better than watching a great action movie, mans best friend needs a good vet like Kata Nichols (a vet with a Animal Science Degree) to go to once in a while, and sometimes most importantly us guys need a good local Florist to provide us with flowers for our wives/girlfriends or both (just kidding) from time to time.  Not to exclude the girls, but lets face it, while the the above could be said for you too gals too, I doubt you buy flowers for the guy in your life.

After reading the article I began to think about the value of my degree I worked hard to get, a Bachelors in Agricultural Business.  While I was fortunate enough to be able to come home to work on and eventually take over the everyday operations of our farm, there were many other job opportunities along the way that my Ag Degree allowed me to pursue.  I recall going to an agricultural job fair at ISU where countless companies from all across the country were actively seeking those with Ag Degrees to work for them.  No Degree…NO Job.  It’s that simple.  I wonder if going to the job fair was “useless”  hmm….  NO.   Like I said above, I didn’t take any of those 9-5 jobs which my degree allowed me to enter into, however I do work in the AG field on my own farm.  While I may not need a degree to run my farm, I value it and the education I received greatly because it helps me everyday, in every decision I make which in turn makes my farm better than it would have without a degree.  Many others in my situation would agree.

AG FACTS:

  1. Nearly 30 percent of today’s farmers and ranchers have attended college, with over half of his group obtaining a degree. A growing number of today’s farmers and ranchers with four-year college degrees are pursuing post-graduate studies
  2. Agriculture employs 17% of the U.S. workforce, or about 23 million people.
  3. Agriculture employs more than six times as many workers a the U.S. automotive industry

Back to the original article,  In response to the article a Facebook Page was quickly created appropriately named

“I Studied Agriculture, and I have a Job”

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Studied-Agriculture-I-Have-A-Job/306700539376086?sk=wall

 Almost immediately the page took off and was running…well sprinting…well…something faster than that, maybe like a speeding Indy Car.  It seemed to be gaining exponential popularity as the day went on.  As of this morning, less than 24 hours into the pages young life it had over 2500 likes and growing.  As for the time this post was written, it is boasts over 2700 likes.  Countless posts on the page have stated what degree the posting person has, how they use it and why they believe the article to be in error.  Recently other media types have even picked up on the flaws of the Yahoo Article like those listed below:

The Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allen-s-levine/useless-college-majors_b_1217401.html

And AG DAY on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l_d3zdx0jI&feature=share

And even other media stations like WIBW.

http://www.wibw.com/blogs/melissa/Useless_Degrees_This_List_Doesnt_Sit_Well_137706603.html

An Agricultural Photographer https://www.facebook.com/#!/lens.of.a.farm.girl Posted these pictures

https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=314532528589459&set=a.314531975256181.70626.309663002409745&type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=314532841922761&set=a.314531975256181.70626.309663002409745&type=1&theater

In the end, if the author was looking for attention he got it.  But in the end, which is more useless, the degree or the article?   In my honest opinion even this flawed article wasnt totally useless because it had 2 items of value.

  1. It brought the AG, Animal Science and Horticulture (all 3 of which are Agriculture Based) together
  2. It proves just how important the AG industry is to our world, and how many jobs are out there for those with AG Degrees.

So, I suppose, in a weird way, we should Thank the author for not doing his homework, studying his sources, or filling in the blanks (so to speak) on his article.  Wait…that kinda sounds like what we all had to complete to get our degrees doesnt it?  Have a great day, and God Bless!

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