Social media and the Amish

If you're reading this post, you found it because you spend time online. Chances are you saw a tweet, a Facebook update, or some other social platform with this link on it. Frankly, I'm grateful that you're here. But, you know who won't be stopping by my blog today? The Amish.

This month, my power got knocked out for two days because of a wind storm. My landline and cell phone were both down, too. For more than 50 hours I didn't have technology and it reminded me of how life might be for the Amish. After the initial social media withdrawals subsided, I actually felt really relaxed. Nothing to log in to, nothing to maintain. It was liberating!

In this uber-connected world, more and more people are complaining of social media burnout. Too many platforms to update and a plethora of needless information. If you're Amish, however, your days are busy, but lack the ever-growing demands of technology.  Just think about it.

If you're Amish:

You tell your family that it was a good meal. 
Tweeting it to someone who's five feet away from you isn't necessary.

You say hello to the shop keeper to let him know you're in the store.
No need to check-in via Foursquare.

You do things because getting something accomplished is it's own reward.
Yes, actually people do things that don't earn them badges!

You write love letters to your sweetheart.
Because love means more than just changing your Facebook status to "in a relationship".

Your skills and abilities are widely-known throughout the community. 
No need to maintain a LinkedIn profile.

You sing whatever song comes into your head.
You don't have to search through other people's Spotify playlists to entertain yourself.

You do business with someone because your family has had a relationship with that person for generations
No reason to log on to Yelp to read or write reviews.
You use circles for knitting or storytelling.
Remember before Google+ when you didn't judge yourself by the number of circles you were in?

Your friends are people you know and like.
No hurt feelings if someone doesn't follow you back or accept your friend request. 

There's much to be said about living a life of simple abundance. Technology is great and social media is fantastic, but it can take a toll on our frazzled minds. So, why not take a break from it all this weekend?

Pretend that you're vacationing in an Amish town. Set down the smartphone, turn off the laptop, and enjoy the things that really matter. Have a conversation, nurture offline relationships, and focus on what and who is in front of you. After you stop shaking and sweating from the social media deprivation, you just may feel calmer. I know I did.

Disclaimer: I've always been fascinated by the Amish and this post is in no way meant to be disparaging. I understand that this post may include some generalizations that don't apply to all Amish sects. I also realize some teens who go through Rumspringa do not return to the Amish way of life and may be using technology and all the other amenities of the 21st century. This disclaimer is written by someone who has absolutely no legal training, but watched all eight seasons of The Practice.


  1. A discussion came up with a few of my friends. Along the lines of how much more would we enjoy the present if we weren't so busy taking pictures of it so that we can preserve it for the future... And I recalled many a time when I was so busy looking at something through the eyes of my camera lens that I failed to just look at the thing with my own eyes and really absorb it. I felt like the point was well made but not to have any pictures to remember anything by? I don't think so but maybe I'll take less photos and look more. :)

  2. I have been neglecting social media lately but I'm subscribed to your blog in email :)

  3. Hello Sam!

    That's a really profound comment. Makes you think.

    I remember seeing something on a TV show where the family was watching home movies and noticed the dad wasn't in any of them. He was always behind the camera, shooting the  video. He was there, but not actively engaged in what was happening. The actual activity, and subsequent memory, went on without him.

    Your point is a great one. Moderation. Document for the future if it's important, but always remember to be a part of the present. Great input, Dave!

  4. Thank you for that, Dave. Subscriptions make me and Santa very happy! #PutDaveOnTheNiceList

  5. Sounds like you had an enjoyable couple of days. Thanks for the reminder to unplug!

  6. Except for the refrigerator being out and the fear of all my food spoiling, it was actually kind of enjoyable. And, I made it to be much earlier than usual! ;-)

  7. Amber, aloha. What a great reminder of doing what's important.  We can live without being digitally connected every waking moment.

    In fact, without the easy access to everything online, we think and reflect more--both very good things to do. 

    Best wishes for a terrific weekend.  Aloha.  Janet

  8. Hello Janet!

    It really is about finding that balance, isn't it?

    I try to taper off on the social media on weekends, but when I'm forced to do without it altogether it really clears my head. I mean, I love this stuff, but it can sometimes be all consuming.

  9. Ok, I had to drop this in:

    I didn't go cold turkey, but last week when I didn't post on Monday and really wasn't plugged in for about two days; it was quite liberating. I think I commented in a subsequent post, it almost felt too good.

    I like the 'social' part of it too much to give it up but as time progresses I am finding my sustainability level; especially since I'm not making any money doing this. Maybe someday, but not for now; I have plenty to do with my day job (which I enjoy). 

    Thanks for sharing and if you want some wind experience, let me tell you about hurricanes..............:)

    Have a great weekend. 

  10. "We're gonna party like it's 1699"! Now that's a great line ;-)

    I only discovered that song when I was looking for a link for the word Amish. I saw it, but hadn't listened to it (thanks for the link). Oh, that Weird Al...

    I'm with you. I value the networking and socializing and I'm not going to give that up. I suppose it's knowing that, especially in my field, that it's a cardinal sin to leave things unattended to. Heaven forbid that something goes a day without you making your presence known with a tweet, an update, and so on.

    As for the winds, we had hurricane force ones. The city was a disaster. Never been more scared in my life. I'll take an earthquake any day.

  11. I saw one of your comments on @Disqus and had to read the rest of your post.

    I recently got back from vacation where the cost of internet access wasn't worth it. I finished a book. My acne cleared up. My kids didn't fight. And I got a decent tan. I miss being away from it all. As soon I got back I felt compelled to blog about it, and then I have been procrastinating because that's what I do when I get overwhelmed. And you know what, I don't think anyone in my social media circles missed me and I don't feel bad about it. I should unplug more often. Less stress.

  12. Great story, Annette. Thanks for sharing; it really puts it all in perspective, huh?

    The bulk of our stress about being "plugged in" is brought on by ourselves. Sometimes it's necessary, due to our industry, but, as you say, life goes on and people don't notice as much as we THINK they do ;-)

    Hope you had a wonderful vacation! It sure sounds like you did!

  13. Great post, Amber! I've been feeling the social media burn-out a lot lately. Each time I get an invitation for one more platform I wonder who has time to use another platform. I don't. Lately, I've been feeling that keeping up with Twitter and FB are hard enough. I think I need an Amish weekend. :)

  14. Oh, I feel the same way, Karen. I know I should spend some time with Chime so I know what it's all about. But, I just can't fathom maintaining something else.

    An Amish weekend may be just what we need ;-)

  15. Don't get all excited about going without electricity. I wrote about the "Chassidim" community that I come from. Without access to the internet, these people turn to abuse and incest. Read my story.

  16. Meeting your goodly neighbor ALL THE TIME will also take a toll on your nerves. 

    Social media is how a limited group of people interact with each other. That's pretty much it. Some people like to make phone calls. Some people walk up to the store clerk for a little chit chat. Some don't. 

    Bottom line: balance. 

  17. Hi Amber, Yesterday I was at an Amish farmer's market I visit every week. I shouldn't tell you this, but the butcher was having problems with his phone line so he couldn't send credit card charges through. Verizon was there to help, but I couldn't help but be struck by the incongruity of the scene.

    Being on a cruise is the closest I come to being unplugged. At sea you can get internet, but it's very slow and frightfully expensive! Better to be out of touch.

    I agree with Karen, I'm getting overwhelmed by the different social media sites and trying to keep up with it all. But then I think of the wonderful connections I make through the sites (such as meeting you, Amber!) and I would hate to give that up.

    Thanks for your inspiration, Amber. The holidays are a great time to unplug and re-connect! 

  18. Nothing like writing something telling folks to disconnect from technology and then having a technology blogger come to comment! ;-)

    I do know that the Amish can use credit cards (and most pay off the balance right away), so your Amish vendor seems to have used that "loophole" to process cards as well! There's always a rebel in the group, huh?

    And, yes, you're so right. The folks I've met through my time online are priceless, Great people and wonderful content (yours is so incredibly useful!).

    As is the case with most things, the key really is moderation. Just like with a traditional job, we need downtime to recharge. I think the same can be said for social media obligations, too.

    Thanks for chiming in, Carolyn!

  19. Just literally laughed out loud at your disclaimer, Amber...8 seasons of The Practice practically make you a lawyer...and, if you need any back up, I watched every episode of L.A. Law so...I've got your back.
    Seriously (maybe) this post profoundly speaks to me. I am far too reliant on my social media connectivity and it embarrasses me and yet it draws me.  I try to make it a point to remove myself from the computer screen for hours at a time throughout the day.  There have been some life experiences recently that have stimulated the "let's simplify our lives" conversation. There is something to be said for simplification....
    Thank you Amber xo

  20. Every LA Law episode? We are so starting our own law firm, Claudia!

    I'm trying so hard to do the simplification thing in all aspects of my life. In social media, that means only focusing on a few platforms (and dumping some others like Posterous, Empire Avenue, etc.). Besides, you shouldn't be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. At least, I don't think that serves one well.

    Thanks for stopping by and all the very kind promotion. Your generosity has not gone by unnoticed. :-)

  21. First off, love your disclaimer! It made me EH OH EL. Literally. 

    As for the post, gotta say, it feels pretty darn great to sit down and disconnect every now and then. No phone. No computer. Just you and the simple world around you. Best, damn, refreshing feeling ever!

  22. Thanks! I aim to please.

    You're so right, Ricardo. It is refreshing. We all contribute to our own burnout instead of taking steps to ensure we remain sane. If shutting down every once in awhile keeps the fatigue at bay, it's a small price to pay in the long run.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...