095. Go without Facebook for 2 weeks – completed!
This was difficult. Mostly because I felt completely out of the loop socially, especially in terms of the Swansea Feminist Network, as most of our organising takes place in a private group on Facebook. I kept worrying about the things I was missing, and worrying that I’d have a mountain of notifications and unread emails to greet me when I returned (embarrassingly, I had five emails and ten notifications, and it took me all of 15 minutes to “catch up”).
Social media has become a part of everyday life for me. As mentioned before, I use it as a quick distraction in queues or sitting in the back of the car. I use it to publicise myself. Without Facebook and Twitter this week, I only had about 8 blog views, whereas usually I’d have near 60 a day. Before I even get out of bed, I check my Facebook and Twitter timelines – not only to stay in the loop, but also because if anything happened overnight that I need to know about, it’ll usually be in my feed. I’m ashamed to admit that I learned of many major world events of the last few months, such as Bin Laden’s death, via social media.
I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way about social media. Some people whom I’ve spoken to about my little challenge have said that they could never give up Facebook, that they find it difficult to avoid reading through other people’s Facebook profiles all the time, that their social lives are constructed via Facebook, and friendships maintained via Facebook. As a society, we’ve come to depend on these everyday forms of communication. On the one hand, it’s reshaping our brains and forcing our minds to think differently than they used to (as illustrated by my finding last week that my brain began thinking in tweets), and it’s leaving us with less private, contemplative time. On the other hand, there’s so much information that I now have access to, that would not work as well offline – the Swansea Feminist Network, Carmarthenshire Musicians’ Network, Facebook event pages with all the info you need, as well as sharing important news stories and being able to gauge public opinion on said stories by what your listed friends are writing/tweeting. So I suppose it’s all about striking a balance, isn’t it?