Hi folks, I’m back online! Yes, after four whole dry weeks, I’m diving into the murky waters of social media again. So, how did it go?
Well, I did it – I’ve checked neither Facebook nor Twitter, I’ve stayed clear of Tumblr and WordPress, I’ve watched no YouTube videos unless you count that 22-second clip of a skylark in flight which was linked from the RSPB website. Which I don’t. To my surprise and relief, I didn’t feel any great compulsion to look at all these things, and I’m not desperate to go back to my old ways. But nor did I feel any real temptation to make abstinence a way of life. Social media is, after all, great for certain things – like keeping in touch with friends and relatives who live long distances away, and connecting with people who share common interests – which I would definitely miss if I stayed off long-term. And a couple of people told me they missed my online presence, which is always nice to hear.
I had hoped to free up time for other, more important activities. Perhaps predictably, this didn’t really happen – I found it all too easy to find other ways of frittering away those precious minutes, although I did succeed in getting off Wikipedia and into a book at least a certain percentage of the time, so I’ll count that a partial success.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was the extent of the electronic conspiracy trying to undermine my best efforts – emails with the latest tweets and status updates, my phone’s various underhand ways of showing me notifications (‘Ha! You may have stopped me beeping at you whenever something gets retweeted, but I’m still going to show you a Facebook message when you try to look at your calendar! Mwa ha ha!’). The emails are now directed straight into my junk folder, and all the notifications are switched off, but it took quite a lot of effort to disentangle myself from that sticky web, and I don’t really want to get re-entangled.
So what next? I’m coming back online, but I’m determined not to get back into the same bad habits I had before. I’m happy that I’ve proved to myself I can live without social media, but sometimes, like the former alcoholic who’s now teetotal, abstinence can be easier than moderation. Now the challenge is to enjoy social media sensibly – to have an online self but not let that become my whole self, to resist the temptation to believe that ‘pictures or it didn’t happen’, to have experiences without tweeting them, to spend time with someone without tagging them in a status update, and to live life – sometimes – without turning it into a blog post. On that note, I’m off to do some stuff, and I’m not going to tell you anything about it.