About a week into lent, I decided to try giving up social media for the remaining five or so weeks. I was inspired by a friend who has a three month old baby and found that herself and her hubby were glued to their phones while a beautiful girl was gurgling and discovering the world for the first time. I don’t really know where I’m at with my faith but I try to honour Lent and make a bit of a sacrifice. I was already off chocolate and popcorn (!) which I have become obsessed with the last year or so.
To be honest I was excited to try it and test the freedom. I deleted the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram apps from my phone. Just so that I wouldn’t be tempted. I really feel that constantly checking facebook or updating instagram can really cloud my thinking and distract me from my life. I hated that I was checking all social media apps before I had even got up to go to the loo in the morning.
When you look around on a bus or in a cafe, there are so many people scrolling through newsfeeds, captivated my a little ‘world’ on a tiny screen and missing all kinds of experiences around them. It’s such an unfulfilling use of time, and generally can be awful for self-esteem, I find. No one feels better about themselves or their lives after a three-hour facebook binge/stalk. There’s too much comparing, too much nastiness, too many people or situations that should be left well alone but it’s too tempting to peek and cause yourself hurt or grief.
Sidenote: what is up with people commenting when a baby is born, tagging the parents and trying to get in first when the new parents haven’t had a chance to meet their baby never mind put it on Facebook? You were lucky enough to get a special text or for someone to entrust this happy news to you, now please just be reverent and respect that the news is not yours to share with the world. Same kind of goes with engagement news and sometimes wedding pictures.
I have definitely have had more time to read, and I’m flying through books at the moment.Last three books: Ancient Light by John Banville, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. All excellent in their own way, and I do have plans to do some reviews.
I don’t have a TV in my room and my family is so big I don’t really attempt to watch TV at home. I have been a bit at a loose end at times, but I have recently started writing letters again and as I say, just feel better having a clearer head and not loosing hours in an unnecessary time suck.
Music of late is Stay Gold by First Aid Kit and still The Take Off and Landing of Everything by Elbow.
Unfortunately, blogging hasn’t really been affected! I should have been using the time to blast out at least several more posts per month. I’m really dying to do an overhaul but I don ‘t know where to start and I am disheartened by my ancient unreliable laptop. I do love this old blog though and it’s my only link with the writing world at the moment.
Interesting the things I have missed, also. Baby news of an old friend, new car news of my best friend, new cafe news from my very good other bestie and her hubby, a lot of breaking news stories, both at home and abroad as facebook was evidently my main way to see headlines. Facebook keep sending me emails with how many notifications I have which is terribly sneaky of them. And several people have commented that they miss my Instagrams which I am quite proud of. I think I miss Instagram most of all. I generally see facebook as a necessary evil.
I’m disappointed that I couldn’t share in my brother’s engagement photos and news, and share photos such as my selfie with David O’ Doherty today ! However, I have found myself sending individuals certain photos and funny videos, and others sending me stuff ‘since you’re off facebook’ so in a way it has encouraged more one to one personal connections and messages which are so valued and important. I have probably had conversations that I would never have had because it would just be assumed I would see it on Facebook. My friend took me to Starbucks one evening to update me on a mutual friend’s shock announcement which was quite exciting! It kind of calls into question the way people announce things and the priority that is given to social media.
So, with one week to go, I am glad I did it. It got easier and easier and it’s a relief to me not to be constantly checking and updating. It’s a few less ways for people to contact one. I think I will feel a bit of pressure when I go back on it. I do want to get rid of Facebook some day. I have a new phone with a brilliant camera so there have been plenty of missed Instagram opportunities, but equally plenty to look forward to! I think I have achieved all my aims of thinking clearer, reading more and trying not to miss life! With the added bonus of connecting in more real and personal ways with people and shaking myself a little freer of a modern addiction.