Tuesday 15 September 2015

One week without social media: Will the world end?

Is it possible to switch off?
The last straw didn't break the camel's back. The last straw WAS the camel. It popped up in my Twitter feed. A picture of a creature with big black eyes full of terror, surrounded by people gathered to witness its sacrifice.

My mood went downhill from there. With a little help from Facebook I proceeded to get myself worked up about factory farming, Taji dolphin massacres, Shell's deafening blasting in the arctic, bull-fighting, Spain's gag laws, and of course, the awful plight of refugees.

Before anyone says, you can't compare one with the other, I'm really not trying to. Unlike many of the people posting online, I believe it's possible to care about more than one thing at the same time. You can care about the poor and unemployed in your own country PLUS all the people escaping war and tyranny elsewhere. Whether you can do much about it is another matter.

Never read the comments! I tell myself. But I keep being drawn to them even though I know the avalanche of bigoted and cruel voices are going to play on my mind. It's even worse when you discover a lack of compassion in your own circles. My finger hovers over the unfriend option. I step away. Wait for myself to cool down.

It's common for people to take a break from alcohol, to have a little week's detox after a period of indulgence. I suspect taking time off social media is as beneficial, which is why I'm proposing to take a week off.  

I'm tired of experiencing so many emotional reactions every moment of the day. Since I'm constantly checking my phone, there's always something which evokes an emotion in me. Being upset isn't going to help anyone. Being pro-active is. I'm thrilled that I won £250 from a video competition I mentioned in a previous post, which I'll be donating to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).  

While I was writing #PleaseRetweet I could justify being online all the time. It was like research. I was tweeting and facebooking and instagramming until I started getting headaches like my main character, May Sparks. But now I'm curious to know what it would be like without all the online stimulus.

My plan is to have a social media blackout for one week. You probably won't even notice, but I know I'll find it really tough. I can already hear a little whining voice saying, but surely Instagram's alright? That's just pretty pictures isn't it? 

I'll let you know how I get on!


Samantha said...

I quit social media forever just over 2 weeks ago. Facebook being the last to go. I am loving life away from it. Enjoy your break

Emily Benet said...

I did think of you and was wondering how you were getting on! (Oh and commenting on my blog is allowed in my rules). I find I'm automatically composing tweets and Facebook posts in my head, then I remember I'm not going on either network and I just dismiss them. Really quite nuts how brain has adapted to social media interaction. Not missing it yet though seem to be replacing with whatsapping friends abroad!