An unintentional social media break for me from 1:36 pm to 6pm the next day. I called my provider to upgrade my system and they ‘accidentally’ turned off the wifi until I could get the technician who was upgrading me in today at 6pm to fix it.
No internet. No TV. Not even on my phone because apparently without the wifi my phone has nill coverage in the house. The novel that I am working on is in Google docs, so that was a no-go.
I had these problems:
- No idea what was going on in the world. Could have been a zombie apocalypse and I would have been utterly unprepared.
- I suffered the withdrawal of not letting everyone know every little thing I am doing.
- I suffered withdrawal of funny cat memes. I had to actually watch my cats, but sadly they just slept and refused to amuse me.
And so it was a Movie Marathon night! And catch up some reading in the morning.
I’ve been having a lot of consistent vertigo lately, so reading is actually impossible most of the day. But I found I could for a bit in the morning and that was a great thing to discover.
And, you know, the world didn’t fall apart without me being on social media. Weird, right? I guess it continues to keep on keeping on without my attention. And not everything needs my attention.
You may feel like you are ‘missing something’ but the fact is, nothing that cannot wait. And not an activity that cannot be easily replaced. And that was nice to know. That I could entertain myself without connection to social media and find a number of things to do. I did exist at one time without it and I still remember back then what it was like. Did all my research papers without Google as well. I know. It is impressive. But things change and our lives alter with new tech.
Social media can be great. But it also can be just a lot of time wasted for little return. I tend to think tech is all awesome, as long as it isn’t a barrier to experiencing the world. From smartphones, social media, that new App you love, or game systems… everything we use is tech. In the sense I am using it, it is an all-encompassing term. So clearly, tools we use, are not innately problematic. As long as we do not let technology consume our lives, then it is in many ways beneficial.
It is like this old text-based game we had when I was a Freshman. It was great when you played it in your spare time after your day was done. I loved that game (MUDs). It was multi-player and there were a few of them, designed by other universities, but just text based. I was really into it. But, I knew someone who was addicted to it, to the point of not going to class, ignoring everyone around her, and ultimately dropping out. I think of her sometimes and what more I could have done to help her, but not grasping how it could be a problem or how to help her pull away from it. What we know now as video game addiction. And video games are beneficial to the brain in moderation according to a study I read not so long ago (which I do not remember the name of but this article refers to some of that research) but addiction is when it is a barrier in your life to the exclusion of other things. Escapism is a delicious temptation. I am well aware of that as a writer. But it can be an addictive reality that interferes with our lives. And that is how I see all tech. Functional, a tool, or entertainment. But not impairing our connection with reality. Or as Heidegger would say, not impairing our Being in the World.
And when you get a break from it, it gives you perspective on the reality of it. I use social media more than most, due to being chronically ill. It is a tool to fend off the isolation I feel from being unable to do a lot of things. And I feel I engage with it too much. I liked that wee break because it reminded me, there are other ways to engage with reality I am capable of doing and are worthwhile. Also, apparently, more housework gets done. Which actually isn’t much because of vertigo. Nevertheless, I got rid of that thick layer of dust in my office that piled up from winter.
I think it is great to give ourselves a break and test the shape and depth of a day without any social media.
And if the thought gives you any anxiety at all, then it is all the more important to do it. I am going to limit my time on social media, I think. There is a lot of isolation with chronic illness, but I know research says when we engage in Too much social media activities, it can be mentally and emotionally detrimental due to the fact it is just a positive reflection of reality that can make us feel worse about our lives and self-worth. That I do not need as chronic illness already does a number on self-worth.
So have you tried a social media break? And what did you think of that time away from it?
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3 thoughts on “Social media break”
I actually “touch base” with Facebook twice a day. Only because I’m bored and something funny catches my eye. I try to blog at least once a week, as an author, putting my name “out there”. But I’ve thought more of, well, let’s say you publish that book on Kindle, would my local library be interested in carrying it or having me do a reading? Would my local paper be interested in hearing, hey, the town of Joliet has a budding writer? I don’t know of any “local” bookstores besides Barnes and Noble. I just wondered if actually removing myself from the couch and engaging with people would be, hey I wrote a book! My boyfriend has been unemployed for a longtime and is addicted to TopBuzz on his phone. He has been working odd side jobs but sends me the funny posts from TopBuzz via email. Some are recipes, a lot on such and such based on your zodiac sign, and funny memes. But he himself says he has nothing to do all day so plays on his phone all day. I have a couple games on my phone, basically to distract me while I quit smoking. An important thing about video game addiction is to note many are saying it covers up an underlying mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. I did read a research study that millennials are the loneliest age group on the planet-due to social media, and baby boomers are the least loneliest. I joined meetup.com to actually get out and socialize since I do not belong to a church or anything and guess what? My friends are on facebook all over the country. In a couple years I will be re-entering the workforce too. Yes, there are a lot of hassles over that (depending on where I work, transportation being number one) but while everyone wants to work at home (I’ve written a novel, I’m editing it, I work on poetry) I’d like to get out of my apartment. I also have a chronic pain condition, I try to treat as holistically as possible, so joining that meetup group for a hike just isn’t happening, much as I would love it to. I read the results of a poll and over 50 percent of millennials said they would give up shampooing their hair rather than their smartphone. That’s pretty scary. I remember in my 20’s that the “cell phone” was generally used for emergency purposes (my first cellphone was the size of a sat phone in the late 80’s) and texting and gaming on it weren’t an option. We sat down as friends and family and did things like play card games. We went outside. Well, and bars too, it was my 20’s. But this is an apt post in this day and age, especially for those in my children’s age group.
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I can see video game addiction masking mental illness. Chronic pain makes me depressed so I know what it is like to try to distract from it and not face my issues. It is difficult to know our line between too much and moderate interaction on social media.