Yesterday, the other half and I took her son to a children’s play centre. While we were waiting for him to run himself silly through padded blocks and coloured balls I was enjoying a nice coffee and reading a book. It was very pleasant. I then decided to update the various social networks I’m on with the fact that I was, in fact, enjoying a nice coffee and reading a book. I quickly logged into Twitter through my phone and then spent the next hour on there, reading my timeline, updating and replying, and never returned to the book. Therein lies the problem. There are so many social networks now that people are attached to, any of which prove a major distraction from real-life.
Contrary to what some people may think, I have never been up-to-speed with social media, I’m always catching up. I joined Twitter in early 2009, when it really started populating public consciousness. Before that I was not, nor had ever been, a member of any social network. Twitter piqued my interest and seemed different from the rest. Since then I have dabbled in Tumblr, finally joined Facebook and recently started with GetGlue. But that’s it for me. I steadfastly refuse to join FourSquare, I prefer to be the stalkER rather than the stalkEE.
For me then, there aren’t that many ways to be distracted and yet I find myself so more often than not. Just to update them all takes time. For those who are members of a higher number of social networks it must be worse. There are those who can flit in and out easily but I find it hard to. For some reason I feel obliged, like it’s some sort of etiquette, to maintain an online presence, especially on Twitter and I feel as though I’m letting people down if I don’t. This is quite ridiculous as I say nothing interesting enough to be missed(!), but that’s just my mentality, a mentality that I know contributed to the destruction of my previous relationship as I withdrew further and further into a virtual world. Even when I’m out with friends or family I find it hard to put the damn phone down for more than a minute, which pisses them off immensely.
I, and I’m sure others, need to back away. We need to withdraw from the virtual world and actually live, not feel guilt or that we’re somehow missing a trick. Social media was designed to keep people in touch with each other and allow you to meet other people, share your interests etc. Before long, our only interests will be social networks themselves, while the world goes by without us. Not everyone is this way of course, maybe I’m just lazy and choosing a scapegoat, but if there are others like me then I hope they can try and get back to living life rather than just talking about it.
Now to share this idea with Twitter and Facebook…