Keep in the loop
I Love Being Bored!
There is a lot of discussion around the use of social media with regards to it's positives and negatives. Personally I'm only 'connected' via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter which compared to some I've come to realise is not a lot and to others quite a bit! I've never had my notifications turned on for any of the sites, I have to log in each time with my passwords rather than have the 'automatic' login, my phone is often to be found where I'm not and is always on silent (with just the vibrate option turned on) - as those who know me well will confirm. I would therefore have said I wasn't addicted. But a few things have happened recently to make me review my behaviours: the impact reading posts has on how I feel immediately afterwards, and my own usage.< back to listings
A bit of background...
My reason for joining Facebook was to connect and catchup with old friends, find out what they are doing these days, what has happened in their life story since we were last in touch and what they are up to now. I soon found that I was accepting all sorts of "friend" requests (but I only did so from people I knew or had met somewhere along the way) and was scrolling through a long list of posts: food photos, 'friends' telling me they had forgotten to make their bed, they'd burnt their toast, etc... not at all connected to the reason I joined FB. I didn't really need to know or even want to know the minute details of their day but here I was spending time reading about it. And then came the adverts on FB and people posting videos of all sorts of things. I was guilty of doing the same and falling into the addictive time wasting habit.
The 3 things that have recently impacted on my usage.
Firstly, working with clients I've seen a big increase in anxiety over the last few years both in the younger generation and even those who didn't grow up with social media. Their whole life, and how they feel day to day, seems to be decided by their viewing of social media sites: who liked and commented on what post, where they agonised over how they looked in a photo (what happened to those lovely, often funny spontaneous photos we took of friends and family!), what they hadn't been invited to - even if they didn't want to go, whose lives were more exciting than theirs, the strong feeling they had to comment on a post or a 'friend' would notice and ask why they hadn't. The pressure people feel under is quite something to listen to. It really made me look at my own usage. I noticed that in the evening, when my phone was next to me, I'd absentmindedly pick it up and flick through the sites even though I was watching something on TV or the adverts came on! I decided to really think about what I posted, particularly on FB, and to ask myself the question: do my friends REALLY need to see/know that? As a result I rarely post on FB now (last post on my personal feed was March 6th) or even look down my personal feed - I'm only on there because of the 'secret group' Janey and I run as part of Best, but we are looking to change that and when we can find another option I'll be off all together.
Secondly I read a book a friend recommended to me (thank you Di Douhgerty), "Digital Minimalism" by Cal Newport. It's a really interesting book that backed up a lot of what I already do, like going for a walk without a set of earphones with nothing to listen to except my own thoughts and nature. For me it explained the reasons we are seeing changes in behaviour since the introduction of Smart phones into our lives, what our brains are designed to do and the huge difference between 'connections' versus 'conversations'. The need for our brains to have no other human input - which includes music or podcasts, to have some down time, some time just on its own!
Thirdly I've been coaching a female in her teens. There had been a few major changes in her life and her confidence was low, she said she was not the person she used to be. We had talked about social media and the impact it had on how she went about her life was obvious, common things I hear like: worrying about how you look in a photo, comments you will or won't get, seeing other friends really enjoying themselves, learning about events you've not been invited to etc. but she had not reached any decision about what she wanted to do about it. Then 2 weeks later when I opened the door I wondered what had happened, she was beaming and couldn't wait to tell me how things had changed. She started with, "I've discovered I LOVE being bored! It gives me time to think, to daydream and clear my head". She had thought about what we'd discussed and decided to go 'old school' and come off ALL social media apps, including ones like WhatsApp. She had bought a cheap phone that made calls and could receive texts and gave her Smart phone to her boyfriend's mother to lock away . She admitted that at first it was really hard but by the end of week 1 she wasn't missing it, had stopped comparing her life to others or worrying what she looked like and realised she was feeling much happier. People had quickly realised she wasn't on their What'sApp groups and had texted her or called her instead. By the time she saw me she couldn't believe how different she felt and others had commented on it. The only thing she really missed was having the camera on her phone and she was saving up to buy a small cheap one.
What have I done?
I deleted my FB app from my phone (I don't have any other mobile type devices) on Saturday evening, following a post on the Best secret group saying I was doing so, and therefore I have to log into my laptop in my office at home to get into FB. As an occasional user the result was not what I expected! The temptation to reload it on Saturday evening and look to see if anyone had commented was huge - goodness knows how people who use it a lot would cope!? - far greater than I ever imagined. The next thing I realised was the amount of times I found myself mindlessly reaching for my phone to have a look whilst we were watching a film. After my initial thought / urge about checking FB on Sunday morning I forgot about it completely. Very bizarrely last night, whilst reading my book in-between things we wanted to watch on TV, when I'd previously have been checking my phone, I felt strangely relieved!
When I switched on my laptop this morning and logged in to FB had I missed a lot of urgent things that needed my attention? Lots of comments on my post? Absolutely not but I had started a good book on Sunday and discovered some new recipes I want to try.
I dare you to delete your FB app from your mobile devices (notice the excuses not to!) be aware of the range of feelings you go through and see how long you last before you reload it.