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Around Thanksgiving, I often post an article about recovery and the holidays (and here’s another link if you need some holiday help). But, this year, after meeting Randi Zuckerberg at the Texas Conference for Women, I decided to share her words with you instead of mine. Yes, Randi is Mark’s sister. (Think Facebook.) But, I assure you that Randi is much more than just someone’s sister. I have been reading her new book, Dot Complicated, which is filled with both eye-opening facts as well as great wisdom. (Did you know that 90 percent of people keep their mobile phones within three feet of them, 24 hours a day?) To win a signed copy of Dot Complicated, post a comment here to be entered into a drawing.

This holiday season, I am grateful for so much, including new friends like Randi and, of course, my new husband, who I will be spending Thanksgiving with at his parents’ home (the first holiday with my in-laws!). I can assure you that I won’t be Tweeting at the dinner table. More on that from Randi below. Thanks, Randi.

 

Stop Sharing on Thanksgiving
by Randi Zuckerberg

May I so boldly suggest that this Thanksgiving, we focus on one-on-one conversations, instead of broadcasting our lives to the masses.

Dot Complicated Book Cover
Post a comment below to be entered into a drawing to win Randi’s book, Dot Complicated.

Yes, I do mean eating your Thanksgiving dinner instead of live-updating from the table. And calling or Skyping a loved one directly instead of shouting “Happy Thanksgiving” to your followers. This year, let’s take a day off from sharing our every thought and feeling with the world. Give thanks for the people in your life by giving them your undivided attention. The most meaningful thing we have to give is our time. Stop broadcasting and start listening.

In my recent book, Dot Complicated, I talk a lot about how tech brings us closer to friends but can also keep us further from friendship. Thanksgiving is a great time to let go of the constant distractions that keep us from connecting on a deeper level. When we focus on listening to others, it’s easier to break through the carefully crafted online image and get to know the actual person inside.

The tech that keeps us happily connected throughout the year can separate us come holiday season, or even get us in trouble, as I discovered this past Christmas after quickly uploading a funny family photo. I find myself robotically scrolling through my feeds rather than having a deep conversation with one of my sisters. The kids play on Mommy’s phone instead of singing karaoke or stomping on leaves outside. People share videos at the table regularly, rather than telling an animated story. And I know my family isn’t much different than anyone else in this digital era.

We spend so much of the year wishing we were together, and then spend that precious time together checking in with other people online. I don’t mean to do it, and when I catch myself I immediately put the phone down. But it’s a habit that more and more of us can’t seem to break. It’s really, really hard to stop. We’re not gonna change this behavior all at once– you might be the only one at your table who doesn’t occasionally sneak a peek at their phone. But good behavior is contagious. This year, challenge yourself to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Randi just released this children's book, too!
Randi just released this great children’s book, too.

Initially, I was going to suggest a total Internet black-out for Thanksgiving, but a tech boycott isn’t the answer. Our devices and our social networks do keep us connected, when we use them thoughtfully. It’s pretty amazing that I can see a relative’s face from across the country, or see photos instantly from a special event I wasn’t able to attend. Tech connects us when we use it mindfully.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving (and, for some of us, Hanukkah) celebrations with the people– not the things– that matter most.

What are your thoughts on social media? What are you thankful for this year? Please post a comment to be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of Dot Complicated. Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for reading my blog. I am truly grateful.   – Jenni


Randi Zuckerberg is the CEO and founder of Zuckerberg Media, a tech-savvy media company, and editor-in-chief of Dot Complicated, a modern lifestyle community. Previously, she served as a marketing executive at Facebook for six years, where she pioneered live streaming initiatives and struck groundbreaking deals with ABC and CNN. She is Emmy nominated and ranked among the “50 Digital Power Players” by the Hollywood Reporter.

 

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  • Kati Hammar

    LOVE this! I’d already been planning on taking a break from social media, other than texting and calling faraway friends to wish them a happy Thanksgiving. This is spot on! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Thanks for your comment, Kati. I actually plan to take a break from all of my devices on Thanksgiving! On my honeymoon last month, I didn’t take my computer, nor my phone. I didn’t login for about three weeks—incredibly refreshing. Not to mention, I was in New Zealand! Refreshing altogether.

  • MB

    When recovering from my eating disorder, it was often important to have my phone with me to get support around food during the holidays. However, now that I am so much farther along the road to recovery I find that my new challenge is to really connect with the people I’m with in the present and to turn off my phone and and put it away. (Probably in the car so I won’t go to my purse and secretly check it!) This Thanksgiving I’m thinking of making a new goal to help me in my recovery and put my phone away so I can learn to be more present in the moment.

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Awesome goal. Be sure to let me know how it goes with a phone-free Thanksgiving! I will be joining you in that. And I love your point about how technology can both help and hinder recovery. I will actually be writing about that topic soon!

  • Mary

    I always say I have a love-hate relationship with social media; I love the connectedness but hate how it causes me to ignore those around me.

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Great point, Mary! Randi talks about that a lot in her book.

      BTW: did you see that you won a copy of my book, Almost Anorexic!? See comments from my last blog post: https://jennischaefer.com/blog/dream-big/big-dream/ We just need you to please email your snail mail address to jenni@jennischaefer.com. Thanks, as always, for commenting. I love hearing from you!

      • Mary

        Thanks Jenni! I thought I emailed my address last week, perhaps it didn’t go through? I just resent it now. Thanks!

        • Jenni Schaefer

          Got it! I will send the book off today. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

          • Mary

            Thanks, you as well!

  • Brynna

    I find that certain types of social media (especially Facebook) often causes me to compare myself to others and can change how I feel about my ______ (day, body, current situation, etc.) within minutes of signing on. So, I try to avoid some types of social media (Facebook) and instead use other types that build me up (one on one conversations with distant friends/relatives via Skype or face time, etc.).
    This year I am thankful for finishing grad school the day after Thanksgiving!!

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Brynna – Congrats on finishing grad school this week! That is AWESOME! Thanks for being so open and honest with your comment. You are not alone in your thoughts. You might want to check out this article that includes some interesting survey results about Facebook: http://eatingdisorder.org/blog/2012/03/ e.g. “32% said they feel SAD when comparing Facebook photos of themselves to their friends”

  • M. Konstantinovsky

    Love this post and love Randi’s message (and love Jenni for posting this kind of content on her blog!). In my totally non-expert opinion, I think the most compelling evidence of our increasingly sharing-obsessed culture can be observed at two types of events: weddings and concerts. When my best friend got married this summer, I was blown away by the percentage of friends and loved ones experiencing the beautiful day through the screens of their smartphones. And every live music event I’ve attended in the last few years seems to host an increasing number of concertgoers so wrapped up in “checking in” and bragging to their networks about their whereabouts, that they’ve literally missed the entire experience. This is a great reminder that temporarily unplugging (even if not completely) can have a profound impact on our quality of life and our appreciation for the everyday moments that make life worth living (even if those moments are stress-filled family gatherings!).

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Awesome insights — thanks for sharing. I, too, have noticed at music events, etc. that many people watch nearly the entire performance through the lens of their smart phone! On my honeymoon in New Zealand, I realized that some of the beautiful landscape scenes just needed to live in my mind — rather than a photo. While I love photos, I noticed, early on in the trip, that constantly focusing on taking a great shot distracted from the entire experience. I guess it’s all about balance — yet again!

  • Shannon Cutts

    Lovely and timely post – thank you Randi and Jenni! Just last week I lost someone very dear to me, and through my grief I have also found new gratitude for my real, close-by, “here” friends and family whom I will see throughout this holiday week. Yes, I will likely have my phone with me throughout (this from a gal who can’t navigate from her bedroom to the driveway without GPS) but my eyes and heart will be trained on the dear ones standing next to me. Happy holidays to you both! Shannon

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Appreciate your words, as always, Shannon. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers over the holiday. Jenny and I look forward to our MentorCONNECT event with you this Wednesday. You and MentorCONNECT are doing amazing things with technology.

      • Shannon Cutts

        We are so looking forward to having you with us – you are one of MC’s favorite presenters! 🙂

  • Deb Trad

    I must agree, Randi! We have become socially isolated while superficially keeping in touch with people. I have a hard time with people texting instead of picking up the phone and calling! A virtual hug will NEVER replace a real live one! Blessings to you, Randi! And to you, Jenni, who will be celebrating your first Thanksgiving as a MRS!! xxx

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Thanks, Deb! You make a wonderful point: “A virtual hug will never replace a live one.” So true!

  • jenpr

    Great, thoughtful post. I will be trying to do the same.

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Thanks for your comment! I turned off my gadgets on Thanksgiving, and it was quite refreshing. I did use my phone to call my family in Texas though! I am in Florida with my new family – my husband’s great gang.

  • Heather Heling

    During my Thanksgiving celebration with friends, we all stayed engaged with each other. Nobody was updating their status or posting pics on any social media websites. I felt honored to be among people who wanted to keep our time together sacred, and not broadcast every minute of the day to the entire world.

    (My wife and I always leave our phones in the car when we dine out, too.)

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Hey Heather – Thanks for your thoughtful post. I love the idea of leaving the phones in the car when dining out. I’m going to try that! (I most often try to leave my phone out of sight while dining. You can’t get much more out of sight than in the car!)

      And congrats—you are the winner of Randi’s book! Please just send your snail mail address to jenni@jennischaefer.com. Randi is going to sign the book for you, and then her folks will send it your way.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog.

  • Carissa Eileen Mancuso

    Great post. I stayed tech free on Thanksgiving and it was quite liberating. I did call my family in New Jersey because I spent the holiday in Pennsylvania. By the way, Ed hated Thanksgiving at my boyfriend’s parents, but I managed 🙂

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Hi Carissa – I am very glad to hear that you didn’t let Ed ruin your holiday! Stay strong! Eventually, Ed won’t even show up for special events. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Shea

    I LOVE this! I traveled across the country from California to Florida to be with my family for Thanksgiving, and I made it a point the entire time I was here to Not carry my phone with me everywhere like I usually do. One thing I actually like about going to my Aunts’ house for Thanksgiving every year is the fact that she lives out on a lot of land with horses and no one ever has cell phone service at her place so it’s the one time everyone I’m around isn’t glued to their phone and I love it. I even deactivated my facebook account for a day while being here just so I would be able to focus solely on “real life”. I could write so much on this, thank you for sharing!

    • Jenni Schaefer

      I love this, Shea! My parents’ ranch used to not have any cell service, and it was so refreshing. I enjoy traveling to places that don’t have cell coverage. Some of my favorite spots are in Alaska and Montana!

  • Cindy Marie

    During our Thanks Giving (Canada) I can’t say I was tech free. I use my supports for ED to help keep me on track while my family was here. Although I know I should have went tech free I felt that it was more important to stay in contact with my support team so ED wouldn’t show up for dinner

    • Jenni Schaefer

      You are very wise, Cindy! Using technology to support your recovery is a great decision. Back when I was struggling, I think text messaging, in particular, would have been really helpful to me. These days, cool recovery apps on smart phones help a lot of people I know, too. And some Facebook pages and online forums are great, too.

  • Amie White

    Thank you for the share! Social media can be a great tool to connect people that otherwise may not have had the opportunity to benefit from each other’s light, knowledge and insight. I love it for how it has helped me to reach out to others and connect. There is a definite need to know when to “log out” and “tune in” to the live, present people in my circle. I’ve found it very helpful to set up guidelines that show the people closest to me that they are my priority. FB will never love me back! LOL Authentic connection is key to internal peace and meaningful relationships. May we all use technology to make the world a better place and know when to “log out” so that our most important stewardships get the best of us. Live, eye to eye and in real time! Merry Christmas everyone!

    • Jenni Schaefer

      Very wise words, Amie! So true: Facebook will never love us back! Thanks for reading my blog and for sharing your thoughts.

  • Jenni Schaefer

    Thanks for all of your wonderful comments here. So insightful.

    If you are in need of holiday recovery support, please join my coauthor Dr. Jenny Thomas and me for a FREE MentorCONNECT teleconference tomorrow night: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2013/12/win-a-book-by-jenni-schaefer-and-attend-her-live-free-teleconference/

    BTW: If you comment on Shannon’s blog (link above), you can be entered into a drawing to win books and music! Lots of free giveaways for the holidays!