The Day I Switched Off my Whatsapp!

6:57:00 AM

Social Media is probably one of the most important communicative tools present out there today. Not a minute goes by without someone going ‘online’. Thanks to its growing demand and competition, we have many platforms to voice out our opinions today.

I am known among those close to me to take my sabbatical on Fridays. Being privileged to own my own clinic, I am allowed to take off from work and focus solely on spending time at home with my family. Last week however, I decided to take it a step further. I decided to go offline completely for just that one day. What I wasn’t really prepared for was to switch off my whatsapp along with it!

As the day progressed, the temptation to go online and see if there were unread messages kept increasing. I would spend time with my son and my wife and yet after a few hours I would want to go back and check it. 

I did go online two to three times during the day to see if there were any personalized messages and I even took time to reply to those. I stayed away from groups but I could see the messages were piling up.

Needless to say before I went to bed that night, I opened it up to find 250 messages from over 18 conversations!

I replied to whatever was necessary but it got me thinking. I realized that being online was a part of my life and that I couldn’t really stay away from it.

In a world today where many businesses and meetings takes place over social media than face to face, switching off in an online world would seem impossible! Everything happens online today. We book our tickets online, we buy things online (veggies included!), we pay our bills online, we even read newspapers online! Imagine how many deals would not take place if go offline? Only when we pause and think about it do we realize how dependent have we actually become to the online world!

Here’s one maybe we’ve never thought about: we prefer to talk/ chat/ communicate online!

Earlier simple texting would do. With the advent of emoticons however, online communication seems to have gone to a whole new level.

One would have to ask though: Are our voices heard anymore when we come face to face with an individual?

We love to take selfies and pose with people we meet or socialize with, we take pictures and flash it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter etc. We can spend hours chatting with people online. It would make it seem like we are very social.

But are we really that social?

For instance, I know those people who can chat online more than talk! They can text you many things online and hold up the conversation for long but won’t say much when you sit with them over coffee.

Most of the studies on communication as a whole states that body language accounts for more than the words we speak. I think Will Smith in the movie 'Hitch' summed it up perfectly when he said, “Sixty percent of all human communication is nonverbal, body language; thirty percent is your tone. So that means that ninety percent of what you're saying ain't coming out of your mouth.”

If the words we’re saying only accounts for ten percent of our communication, you begin to think if real communication could ever take place online? 

Can today’s online platforms actually replace old school, sitting across the table conversations?

Director of Communications Donna Whitten from 12 Stone Church writes, “Social media is the modern-day watering hole. It's where people gather to talk about their day, show a photo or share a joke, a news item or a bit of wisdom. People crave connections these days and while not a replacement for true community, social media is a great opportunity to create conversations.”

So that would mean that while communication on a whole couldn’t take place via social media, we can at least use it to create conversations.

Creating and building up conversations can help in connecting with people to a certain level. So how do we create conversations online? Donna suggests two ways:

1) Ask questions
People love to weigh in, comment and give their opinion. The responses are a valuable insight into the people in your sphere of influence. A prompt and conversational response tells people you care and that you're listening- that makes it personal. 

2) Equip people to share. 

People love to post videos, songs, quotes, pictures- you name it. You put tools like that in their hands and they are going to share them. These tools help in creating conversations with people.

Honestly, I do not know if real relationships can work online. While connections can happen online, I still believe you would have to go offline to take your connections to a real relationship.

So here’s what I want to ask you: 

Would you be willing to switch off your whatsapp for a day? Could you go offline for a few hours without having the urge to go back on?

You could ask: Why should I?

That’s a legit and a very valid question. After writing down the pros of social media, we wouldn’t want to switch it off!

I did it for a day and if you would ask me, would I switch it off again? My answer to that is I would!

Why? Because the first time I did it, life happened.

Call me old school but I think there are some things in life that the online media can’t replace, well at least for now!

The day I switched off my whatsapp, I went out with my family to the beach. We played in the water, we built sand castles, we played ball and even flew a kite and had pani puri! I know I wouldn’t want to miss those things no matter what!

Was all of that worth it going offline for a day? Oh yes, absolutely!

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  1. Switching off whatsapp for a a day seems like a good idea. I switch it off at night as earlier I was checking messages in the middle of the night. Now, let me switch off for a day. The world will survive, I hope.

    1. It's quite challenging but really worth it! You find more time to spend with those you are meeting and also do a lot of other things!

  2. Hey.. Bro.. totally agree.. I switch off every night.. I even put my phone on flight mode.. reason.. scriptures tell us..'Be still..and know that I am God..' Psalm 46.. I feel cutting off my phone allows my soul to be still ..quite.. no distractions... Also.. it says..'you shall search for me and find me.. when you seek me with 'all' your heart..' Jeremiah 29:13.. when I cut myself from the phone.. I feel my heart is not longer divided between man and God.. its like solely focused on the Lord.. it really helps..

    1. Hey Matt!
      Never thought of the flight mode! But yeah that's a great way! It's amazing you do tend to look more at your phone when you are trying to spend time with Him! And you said it right when you say cutting off really helps!

  3. Great blog Danny!! I will try to switch whatsapp off for a day.

    1. Try it out Geny! You wont be disappointed!

    2. You too Betty! One would never consider switching off from it since it's become such a part of our lives!


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  5. Hey Bro,
    Such a simple, Yet very difficult.
    But as you said, It's Worth It.
    Article Offline - Article Of Life.

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