Reflections on the Facebook/Twitter Holiday

Ok, so in the grand scheme of major trials in someones life, and its very much a ‘first world’ self created, reaction to a personal challenge, having a self-imposed holiday from facebook and twitter is hardly anything. Its not like giving up something for lent, or living below the line, however, it was something that i needed to do, and these are my reflections.  With the caveat that i have used a couple of apps to upload to these sites, (such as this, Strava, and news sites) but what i haven’t done for this period of time is maintain an up to date knowledge of the news feed, or likes, or notifications. A hardship you might say, but doing this has been a regular feature of my information gathering and keeping up to date for a considerable length of time. And, its only because of work, that tomorrow ill head back onto them. It would have been easier to deactivate the accounts, but i didnt do this, instead i logged off and moved the apps on my phone, and just logged out on the laptop – which ive hardly been on. My reflections:

  1. This 15 days has included both my childrens birthdays, my wedding anniversary, family days out, a family holiday. Nearly all of which i would have commented, referred to, uploaded photos of and shared on Facebook. It felt almost unnatural to not do these things, and similarly to not comment ‘Happy anniversary to my lovely wife’ could almost be said to be rude or unromantic, i couldn’t even like her photo of us together enjoying a sneaky pint at a local pub, whilst we were on holiday. Ok, so not torture, but a reflection of the new expectations of the public disseminations, affection and communication that Facebook creates and is to be abided in.
  2. Because I didn’t inactivate my account, those lovely people at Facebook, and lesser so on twitter, would send me emails, almost twice a day, telling me, especially, after the events described above, that i had __ notifications, or comments, or comments on a tagged photo. Normally i wouldn’t see these emails, normally id have checked the little 1 in the world symbol, long before an email is sent, but no, to keep me thinking about what i was missing out on, the email would list the pending notifications, the comments, the conversations. I didnt realise how hard it would be to ignore Facebook, knowing that the world of it is going on and the bit of me in it, with the people i know in it that are talking would be as challenging to disengage out of.
  3. I thought id spend the time doing something more creative, but instead i spent some of the time on news websites, this blog, emails, and thinking about preventing myself from being on facebook and uploading comments, checking twitter etc . i did read one book. I did spend alot of time watching other people using their phones to be on Facebook. But that’s because i was with other people who were doing the thing that i had decided not to do.
  4. I think id find it incredibly difficult to not be on social media as a youth worker, theres not many of us in the country, and the Facebook groups/ twitter conversations are a life blood and conversation provoker. which is great to have a break of for two weeks, (though this blog is probably testament to the reality that i dont stop thinking about youthwork..)
  5. I haven’t missed not knowing what various friends, and people i want to know about on twitter are doing/saying/being on holiday or their photos. Sorry to sound rude, but it has been slightly cathartic, and easier to think and relax and be content in the lived space and time, without consuming the information, 140 character opinion that others want to share.

Just a few reflections on this, i guess all the things that i have shared here, you could probably say the same about me, which is fine, but these are the things that ive learned after a self-imposed exile from social media. Its not been missed but at times ive realised quite how natural/normal it is to construct life in two spaces.

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