Wednesday, 4 May 2011

a reassessment of life on-line

for those of you who follow me on twitter, you might have seen my increasing uneasiness about twitter. don't get me wrong, i think there are huge benefits. i have met lots of people (in bristol) in real life through it and have plans to meet the (mainly london-based) knitters at some point. i also think it is a truly fantastic resource for new parents and for people promoting small businesses. there are lots of other plus points too.

but i do worry about the extent to which many of us perform our lives on line and think aspects of it can be unhealthy and competitive. i know i am very guilty of this since i post at least one picture a day on instagram (and then flickr and twitter), sometimes regularly tweet and also blog. i just feel, perhaps only temporarily, that i want to get back to a life before social networking.

my first experience of it was with myspace and facebook (when i started my masters at edinburgh) and it quickly became addictive. but during my undergraduate the only e-mail access i had was once a month or so to access my UCL account. and mobiles were only just starting to become popular and i was perfectly happy living life to the full, hugely sociable and enjoying taking photos for myself, not to share them with everyone and anyone. i exchanged hand-written notes (and letters and cards) with friends - in fact, i still do but to a lesser extent.

so, i'm not saying i don't want to record or document aspects of my life through photography or writing. i just want to declutter my virtual life and think it would be good to step away completely to focus on the everyday in a private way without feeling the need to perform aspects of it. because it shouldn't mean any less, should it? i guess it's like a personal experiment.

so, i have a strategy. i am going to continue taking a photo a day for my 2011 365 project but i'm going to make them private so that they are for my consumption only. i am going to take a complete month off twitter (so, no reading anyone's tweets and no tweeting myself). and i am also going to stop posting pictures to instagram. i will use the app to edit my iPhone pics as i love it but that doesn't mean i then have to share them. i might continue to still look at intsgram pics that others post though as that has nothing to do with my performance or sharing. plus it is not nearly so overwhelming. facebook, as explained in earlier posts, is no longer an issue since i quit it a few months ago and still have zero regrets.

i am undecided about blogging. i myself won't blog for a month. i have hugely reduced the blogs i subscribe to but i'm not sure i want to miss out on my favourite ones for a whole month. after all, that is not part of the experiment. it's about not feeling that i want to share things via blogging not about not delighting in the everyday lives of others. once i return i might decide to continue to blog about anything and everything. i might just decide to focus on knitting. or bristol. i'm not yet sure. after a complete break i might even decide to return to everything with as much vigour as before. i just want to see how it feels to step away.

so, back to my private life, to be enjoyed by me and by the friends and family i see in person over the next month :) and back to my thesis of course (which is going pretty well).



  1. So pleased your thesis is going well! I also completely understand that you want a break from social media. I remember the days of 3310 Nokia phones being the most sophisticated communication device. Good days. Now it's netbooks, facebook, twitter - etc. etc. REAL LIFE IS BETTER!

    However I think it is like wine. Small amounts and controlled, not binging and not turning it into a 'thing'. Sometimes you need a complete switch off for a while to re-focus on life. So definitely do this if you need to. You and your happiness take precedent over checking in on a social media bubble.

    Big hugs and luck to you, Hels xxx

  2. a belated response. sorry hels. yes, social networking is like wine - i will definitely return to sip rather than binge. but sometimes i think it's difficult to switch off properly if it's always there in the back of your mind even if you don't engage with it all the time. 10 days in and i'm definitely enjoying my twitter hiatus. will be interesting to see how i feel at the end of the month.

    cheers for the hugs and luck Xx

  3. just found your blog and am reading back through your posts :)
    i totally agree with this post. i quit facebook months ago, because i was feeling the same things.
    life used to be so much simpler, and it is hard to not give in to all of the social media nowadays. trying to live in the moment is a constant struggle, but worth it!!!