Social Media – Should I stay or should I go?
There is a darkness that pervades me at the moment. The black dog of depression is howling at me from afar, I try to ignore it, but it is a cruel beast. One of it’s biggest allies seems to be social media.
“What the fuck are you on about now JP?” I hear you say. I know I’ve been here before, and I know that you’ve heard me talk about my struggles with depression and my desire for a degree of anonymity. Yes, I probably do contradict myself and ramble on about all sorts of crap. It all comes back to feeling adrift on the sea of life, rudderless and without a gentle wind of normality to blow me towards a fulfilled life.
Social media is like a time vampire. It is also the single most frustrating thing I find myself having to deal with on a daily basis. There is a constant feeling that I am somehow missing out on something. I almost feel that my life isn’t as good as those that I see playing out on Facebook and Twitter. Why the fuck should I feel anxious about what so-and-so did today, or what car he’s got or what she just ate for dinner? It is superfluous bullshit. In the bigger scheme of things, it doesn’t matter, does it?
There is an argument that social media is “a great way to stay in touch with friends and family”, I get that. But surely making the time to visit and be with those friends and relatives is better in the long run? It is something that I need to work on. The convenience of social media has made me lazy. I need to make changes.
As some of you know, I enjoy the escape of great television drama and comedy. Losing myself in a documentary series for a few hours adds something to my life and the sense of wonder it provides me. Likewise, I love movies, I have watched thousands of them over the last forty years or so, and I continue to do so on a daily basis.
Books still elude me, but I’m trying to work that out.
And so I come back to the question of switching off all of my social media activity for a while, the final part of the experiment.
How long should this experiment last? What will happen to me? Will the few relationships that I have with friends and family wither and die? Will I be considered even more of a social pariah than I already am? Will anyone miss me?
These are tough questions to ask yourself, and can only be answered by going through with the practical part of the experiment. I know one thing; the people that do have time for me can and will stay in touch. They will message me via Whatsapp, SMS or E-Mail. Some will telephone me, and others will make an effort to come and find me and eat a pizza or drink coffee with me.
The rest, I imagine, will hardly notice that I’m not there anymore. I am as insignificant to their daily lives as the person in the queue in front of them at the bank or the girl at the checkout of the supermarket.
The thing is I’m okay with that, and I know my closest friends and family will understand my motives. Life is too short to spend mindless hours each week with your face behind a screen. I’m hoping that it will also serve as an example to my son, showing him that he doesn’t have to rush to place his footprint into the dust of the digital world.
Social media in all its guises can be a force for good in the world, but it equally produces some of the worst that humanity has to offer. I want out for now. The good thing is that I can always come back to it if I need to, but until I need it in my life, I will be switching off all of it over the next few days.
As always, you can get a hold of me via the contact form on this blog. My blog will be the place that you can catch up with me; I’ll turn on the comments for all of my posts going forward. I’ll modify the contact page to include my Whatsapp phone number.
Just know, I need to do other things with my life, like reading books, travelling, being a great husband and raising my son.
Until next time, adieu!