I’d like to begin this month’s post with an enormous (and here I shall justifiably use capital letters) THANK YOU. Why? Because my commitment to writing it has thrown me the virtual equivalent of a life line – a social media life line, to be specific. Allow me to explain. I am currently five days into a 26.2 day sponsored social media silence – ‘social media’ having been defined by the (evil) friend who coerced me into this challenge as being Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Why 26.2 days? Because the marathon for which I’m raising money is that distance in miles (and also because in suggesting it I was cunningly making it less than the originally proposed month).
In truth, I’m interested to see how I get on from a psychological perspective. Whilst I’ve never seen my love of social media as being a problem per se, I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been times when I’ve struggled to work out where my online persona ends and my offline one begins. Because that’s the beauty of social media, right? No matter how bad a day you’re having in the ‘real’ world, you can always spin it into something more exciting in the ‘fake’ one (or, if not spin it, at least ensure that others will share in your misery). With social media you’re never alone and you’re almost never bored. There’s always a Buzzfeed list to browse, a cute cat video to watch and share, a status update to make you chuckle or a photo album to make you jealous. Well, for me, that safety net is no more.
It’s true what they say: Reality does bite. But thus far – and I’ll admit it’s still very early days – its bite is rather less fearsome than I’d, well, feared. There are frustrations to not being constantly online, granted (particular thanks today to Facebook for the email hinting at all the exciting updates and notifications I’m missing out on), but already I’m noticing some positive changes – my ability to concentrate on tasks rather than constantly flitting between them being one of them. I’m actually relishing this opportunity to eschew my inner egotist and get back to a simpler way of being.
Now I come to think of it, life before the invention of social media wasn’t half bad. If I wanted to contact someone I called them on the phone, or maybe dropped them a text. If I was bored I read a book or sometimes wrote a story. Existence without cute cat videos and missed-the-bus status updates was, in fact, possible. Not only that, it was productive. So here’s to the next 21.4 days – not that I’m counting, obviously – without social media. I’m ready for it. Now how do you LIKE that, Facebook friends?