1 month off social media- what’s learnt?

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When I mentioned I was going off social media it wasn’t a grand statement, and I wasn’t fishing for people to say – “ooh stu we will miss you,” etc but I felt an obligation to say it so it didn’t seem rude, if people were trying to get hold of me. 

Personally, I think I feel pressure on social media to like and respond.
I don’t want people to think bad of me, but in truth, when you think in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably not that imperative.
This was one of the reasons I came off social media.

I found I was spending (nay- wasting) too much time going on it. Just aimlessly scrolling. Especially when you watch a video, as then it just brings another one straight to your attention – what we call a ‘scroll hole’. (It can go on for a while).

Of course that’s what social media is designed to do – keep your attention- and if you look at the social dilemma on Netflix, you will learn that companies pay huge sums of money to learn what you like/love/have interest in, from the owners of such platforms.

Of course I was aware of this, but not quite to the scale at which your viewing is doctored/tailored to you so individually.

Take Google for instance, where more information of stuff that you are interested in is sent to you at the expense of excluding other things. So for instance, if you believe in conspiracy theories then more of that information will be presented to you and less of the other stuff.

The first week off social media was tough! I found myself grabbing my phone to check, and then realising i’d turned the apps off!

Interestingly, after no social media,  I became a lot more interested in the news, perhaps to keep in touch with the world outside but also to get a ‘fix’ of looking at my phone?!

I think we have created an urgent, instantaneous world. It’s an incredible resource we have at our fingertips but we seem ‘hurried along’ with it.

Previously we’d go to a library to search – a book, research paper or even using microfiche (I’m showing my age now!!). Now we just look on Google  and get answers in Nano seconds. Incredible!

I guess it’s a personal thing, but to me it quickens and builds anxiety within, at a time I actually feel that we all need to slow down, appreciate, and to use an up to date term – be mindful.

We each hold incredibly powerful technology in our hands but I also think we need to use with caution, and a heightened awareness.

Not that long ago I remember (ok a little while 

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) I remember one of my professors saying that the first computer he used was the size of a small room!

We now hold infinitely more power in all of our hands. It’s a tool to use wisely.

I’ve realised that I did miss the friendship and camaraderie that social media brings.  Perhaps it heightened my sense of F.O.M.O. ?

Without doubt, there are positive effects, but I feel it’s very important to have an awareness that too much is not a good thing. Of course all our levels are individual.

Why do we use social media? Why is it such an integral part in many of our lives?

Personally I think a way forward is just to use it in a fun, lighthearted way to build friendships and stay in touch, BUT built within Facebook, Instagram, etc there are people with many different agendas.

We now use it for business and networking, not just for fun. We have alongside this targeted advertising, with advert pop ups, not only from what we’ve looked at, but talked about and listened to by microphones, on our own phone! 

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Over the last month I’ve definitely achieved more at home but it’s also coincided with lockdown, so I’ve had a lot more time to do stuff!

Currently I’m more used to not being on social media. That might build up again but at least I have a heightened awareness of its effects.

Without a doubt i felt like I’d missed out a lot with my kids, as it’s the main way they communicate.

My kids tagged me, and then thought oh he’s off it!!

Whilst I didn’t see all what they were up to I did message and ring them (Tom and Ella being away).

My kids have grown up with social media but for us older adults, it’s a new phenomenon.

All I asked was for them to watch the social dilemma and to be aware of its negative effects.

Don’t get me wrong there are positives,  but I think each individual has to be aware of how it can affect them for their overall well-being.

Best wishes
Stuart

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