I’ve bumped off of social media after foraying back into it these last few months. I am happy to instead make this site my ‘nest’ for the foreseeable future. Having just one place to call ‘home’ online is appealing to me. Too much time is wasted when you have posts all over the place to monitor. Just writing those words made me cringe. When did social media become a task we need to see to each day?
I have to say, although I made many new connections with fellow creative-types, good people, and local businesses during these crazy times thanks to Facebook and Instagram, the slightly sick feeling in my gut remained. I rarely ignore that feeling. Something has gone so wayward with all of this. I am fortunate to be a Xennial (look it up, it’s a thing!), which means I came of age in an era without smartphones and techno-fever. I know the difference. Friends who are only a few years younger, maybe late 20s, early 30s, have never BEEN without a smartphone or social media. So how do they know that it’s not good for them? The way we interact with the world and communicate is different between us as well. I see it.
I was definitely at my happiest when I was 20, had just moved to Europe, and had nothing on me but a backpack and a book with lists of hostel names in it. Oh, and an email address. For an account I needed an ‘Internet Room’ in a hostel to check. Remember when the Internet lived in a room?
It took me about six months to buy a mobile phone, and I don’t recall feeling lost without it. I went out with people for drinks, we were fully tuned in to one another, we wrote things down on napkins, turned up at meeting points at the agreed time….it just felt so free. I haven’t had the smartphone for a few years now, and recently my workplace bought on for me as we are now working remotely….I have to admit, I hate turning it on. It feels like a leash is being clipped on to me.
Saying that, it is now a task I have set myself to find other ways of creative social networking. If we weren’t in lockdown at the moment, in-person would be ideal. The old fashioned way! However, the current times require a bit more alternative thinking. Personal websites, I hope, will make a comeback. When you hit that Deactivate button, you really are stepping out the door in many ways. But I find it becomes unbearable to stay ‘inside’ for more than a few months.
I was watching some of Jaron Lanier’s talks lately. He said something very powerful. That his proposed mode of fixing this mess requires some of the population to remain outside of social media, and that that is the starting point for finding a way to turn it around. If you are on social media, you are ‘under the spell’ and not able to participate fully in the change that is ahead.
I continue to be surprised at the depth of my internal response to the effects of social media. Both on my own brain, as well as society at large. It terrifies me. And ‘terrifies’ still isn’t the word I am searching for. Maybe the word hasn’t been invented yet.