What I learned having a time out from the Facebook bubble

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind. The tech age has made us even more visual. With the expected speed of stimulation being what it is, is there any surprise you’re forgotten as quickly as you’re remembered? And while we’re talking visual, what is this selfie culture where even a beautiful piece of art isn’t safe from your mugshot in front of it?
  • Friendship has changed. The ‘arms-length’ connection you get from social media doesn’t replace real connection and yet it feels like we’ve forgotten this at times. The number of friends and family who asked if I’d upset them because I disappeared from Facebook (i.e. may have ‘unfriended’ them) was startling. Likewise, the small number of friends who sought to seek out connection another way!
  • Fakery. Surely, we all know that a Facebook status is only the cream on the top not the dregs at the bottom? Filters suck. No one and nothing looks like that in the harsh light of day! Is Facebook just all fake news?
  • Not so smart phones. It’s not the app, it’s the medium for the app. Turning off email and notifications from all social media including mainstream media on my phone had already been done. But it’s so easy to check them on your phone without these on. Dopamine rush aside – yes, even the cool bunch who claim they’re not after the number of ‘Likes’ on a post, are junkies for them in reality – this isn’t smart.
  • This is addiction – pure & simple. Who hasn’t felt like a numpty while the friend they’re meeting picks up their phone mid meal/ conversation to respond to the dreaded ping? What is this doing to us, our friendships and our kids? Shouldn’t we be role modelling tech boundary setting or are we comfortable with those around us having to compete for our attention with that bloody thing in our hand? How can we expect our kids to levy some restraint if we don’t? On my weekly commute to the smoke I was literally blown away by the amount of phone addicted zombies. From the platform, to the walk to the tube, to the lift to the office everyone is glued! Digital wellness is a thing – just look at Google! I won’t raise the issue of whether the whole point of smartphones is to get us addicted to them in the first place. Certainly, I hadn’t realised how much I used my phone until I set limits on it.
  • We’ve lost the ability to single task, focus and enjoy the moment. To truly be in the moment – with a loved one, a work colleague or while doing any task. Do stillness and silence even exist anymore? Silence really is golden in all this “noise” as is doing more of what sustains us and less of what drains us. I’ve never been more creative. A 4 hour commute spent thinking, reading, doing absolutely nothing has this effect on you! Is there really any reason to document everything with a status update or picture? What’s wrong with just smelling the coffee and drinking it rather than posting a photo?
  • ‘Mystery’ and deep connection should not be a rarity. Before all this madness, we would find out about how our family and friends were from real conversations, sometimes on the phone, usually face to face but with no other ‘noise’ at the time. I got fed up with being asked questions in the real world (and by the way, Facebook is not the real world) like “so don’t you ride much these days?” just because I don’t post a picture every time I ride my horse! The best parties are the ones where sharing photos is banned. And, on that note, thank god none of the parties we went to up to the age of 25 have any photographic evidence whatsoever! Over exposure is over rated.
  • Social media can bring out the worst in people. The smug ‘I am’, the passive aggressive competitiveness and one-upmanship. The jealousy. The cliques. Don’t miss them. At. All. Likewise, the ‘pretend friends’ and those who daren’t like something because of their social anxiety or inferiority complex. I won’t be coming off Facebook but I will be culling these folks and groups once and for all. They won’t miss me and I won’t miss them! Final note on this – “comparison is the thief of joy”, Theodore Roosevelt. Let’s not get into the relentless self-promotion and living vicariously through offspring, etc. Status anxiety and the fear of missing out are undoubtedly exacerbated by social media.
  • Fundraising/ asking for sponsorship was much harder without the ‘arms-length’ medium of social media. I’ve raised half of what I did this time last year from chugging friends on Facebook!
  • I did miss picking up a bargain on the horsey forums. My husband not so much. Likewise, animal adoption forums. Note, we haven’t adopted anyone new this month!

8 thoughts on “What I learned having a time out from the Facebook bubble

  1. I’ve been looking forward to this Jo. Pretty much nailed it I reckon. I’ll wave from t’other side of hill and then I’ll pick up the phone and connect properly. Xxx

  2. Good on you Jo. I am appalled by the number of people who feel it is perfectly acceptable to sit glued to their phones at the table, totally ignoring everyone. More powerto you.

    1. Thanks Parvana, really depressing particularly when I took a step back & realised I was an over-user too!

  3. Great piece Jo, I particularly like..”The best parties are the ones where sharing photos is banned. And, on that note, thank god none of the parties we went to up to the age of 25 have any photographic evidence whatsoever! ” This is something I am VERY grateful for! There are pictures for nostalgia a memory of what was but not a thousand selfies! I couldn’t agree more around social media and the tedium that comes with it. I try to keep our children in control of their usage but it is tough and there have been MANY an argument over it, but we crack on.

    1. Thanks Oj! Quite a scary prospect for our future generations that’s for sure. Hopefully not a population of zombies!

  4. Completely agree about digital addiction Jo – battling with the girls and their very limited access to it at the moment – seems we are one of the few families who limit access strongly. Hope you are well – sorry we haven’t managed to connect without FB! Hope to soon ;o)

    1. Thanks for commenting Becky. You are not alone on the battle with tech boundary setting. Ours are the only ones in their classes who don’t own their own tablet or phone. No need for it at this age. If we could travel the world without one, they can manage a school day without one! Catch up soon!

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