An unintentional social media break for me from 1:36 pm to 6pm the next day. I called my provider to upgrade my system and they ‘accidentally’ turned off the wifi until I could get the technician who was upgrading me in today at 6pm to fix it.
No internet. No TV. Not even on my phone because apparently without the wifi my phone has nill coverage in the house. The novel that I am working on is in Google docs, so that was a no-go.
I had these problems:
- No idea what was going on in the world. Could have been a zombie apocalypse and I would have been utterly unprepared.
- I suffered the withdrawal of not letting everyone know every little thing I am doing.
- I suffered withdrawal of funny cat memes. I had to actually watch my cats, but sadly they just slept and refused to amuse me.
And so it was a Movie Marathon night! And catch up some reading in the morning.
I’ve been having a lot of consistent vertigo lately, so reading is actually impossible most of the day. But I found I could for a bit in the morning and that was a great thing to discover.
And, you know, the world didn’t fall apart without me being on social media. Weird, right? I guess it continues to keep on keeping on without my attention. And not everything needs my attention.
You may feel like you are ‘missing something’ but the fact is, nothing that cannot wait. And not an activity that cannot be easily replaced. And that was nice to know. That I could entertain myself without connection to social media and find a number of things to do. I did exist at one time without it and I still remember back then what it was like. Did all my research papers without Google as well. I know. It is impressive. But things change and our lives alter with new tech.
Social media can be great. But it also can be just a lot of time wasted for little return. I tend to think tech is all awesome, as long as it isn’t a barrier to experiencing the world. From smartphones, social media, that new App you love, or game systems… everything we use is tech. In the sense I am using it, it is an all-encompassing term. So clearly, tools we use, are not innately problematic. As long as we do not let technology consume our lives, then it is in many ways beneficial.
It is like this old text-based game we had when I was a Freshman. It was great when you played it in your spare time after your day was done. I loved that game (MUDs). It was multi-player and there were a few of them, designed by other universities, but just text based. I was really into it. But, I knew someone who was addicted to it, to the point of not going to class, ignoring everyone around her, and ultimately dropping out. I think of her sometimes and what more I could have done to help her, but not grasping how it could be a problem or how to help her pull away from it. What we know now as video game addiction. And video games are beneficial to the brain in moderation according to a study I read not so long ago (which I do not remember the name of but this article refers to some of that research) but addiction is when it is a barrier in your life to the exclusion of other things. Escapism is a delicious temptation. I am well aware of that as a writer. But it can be an addictive reality that interferes with our lives. And that is how I see all tech. Functional, a tool, or entertainment. But not impairing our connection with reality. Or as Heidegger would say, not impairing our Being in the World.
And when you get a break from it, it gives you perspective on the reality of it. I use social media more than most, due to being chronically ill. It is a tool to fend off the isolation I feel from being unable to do a lot of things. And I feel I engage with it too much. I liked that wee break because it reminded me, there are other ways to engage with reality I am capable of doing and are worthwhile. Also, apparently, more housework gets done. Which actually isn’t much because of vertigo. Nevertheless, I got rid of that thick layer of dust in my office that piled up from winter.
I think it is great to give ourselves a break and test the shape and depth of a day without any social media.
And if the thought gives you any anxiety at all, then it is all the more important to do it. I am going to limit my time on social media, I think. There is a lot of isolation with chronic illness, but I know research says when we engage in Too much social media activities, it can be mentally and emotionally detrimental due to the fact it is just a positive reflection of reality that can make us feel worse about our lives and self-worth. That I do not need as chronic illness already does a number on self-worth.
So have you tried a social media break? And what did you think of that time away from it?