January 6, 2011 | life

Diary of a Social Media Addict

I spend so much time at my computer, a friend of mine jokes that when we meet in person, there should be a computer screen between us to make me more comfortable. I blog, tweet, email and Facebook my way through every day. Phone conversations are kept short, if they’re had at all and meeting in person can only happen once I’ve finished blogging, tweeting, emailing and Facebooking. It was only over Christmas that I realised how exhausting my constant online life has become. I’m always connected and while I wouldn’t change my life as a blogstress for anything, I gotta admit, it ain’t always easy. So I decided to unplug. Yup, I would go cold turkey. No social networking for a while.

Truth be told, I was going through a bit of writer’s block. I reached a point where I honestly felt I’d said everything I needed to say. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to talk about. My usual methods of twitter conversations, following links, checking online versions of mags and papers for blog ideas were yielding nothing. Could it…is it possible….did I need to step away from the computer and actually….*gasp*…get a life? Then I might possibly have something to write about? Say it ain’t so!

I am a pretty prolific tweeter, guilty of tweeting whatever mind numbing nonsense comes into my head, so switching that off was pretty hard. Admittedly, I did roam around the house for a few hours just saying things out loud and expecting people to hold up an ‘@’ sign and reply to me. It was all a bit weird.

Right, I’ve unplugged from Twitter – what do I do now? Well, how about read a book? Heck, with everything I’ve had going on, it’s been a while since I did that. I picked up a big hardback and tried to dig in. Reading sentences that are longer than 140 characters is hard. I kept having to fight the urge to check Twitter. I felt I was missing out on whatever conversation might be happening over there. Before I knew it, I was 20 pages into this book with no idea what had happened. Clearly, I tried to do too much too soon. A meaty book with an interesting plot line was too much. There was only one thing for it, I had to go with something easier – ChickLit. This was an awful moment of realisation for me. I’d been sent a tacky ChickLit book a few months ago, so I dug it out and got to reading. It was every bit as terrible as I expected, but at least I could whizz through it.

Waiting at a bus stop, being on a bus, fighting through crowds of sale shoppers, enjoying a quiet hot chocolate in your favourite cafe, wanting to share a hideous fashion faux pas you just saw – all of these things are startlingly different when not shared on a social media platform. I only had myself to share my mundane thoughts with – and I’m a pretty harsh audience, I don’t laugh as much or anything, so the whole thing was unrewarding.

However, I did start to get some ideas and all of a sudden, I could string a few words together and write them down. Offline life ain’t all that bad after all.

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8 Comments

xobolaji

i relate! i relate! i relate! and i think you are brilliant. the biggest part of “addiction” is admitting that you have a problem and finding ways to fix them. of course, i say this with tongue planted firmly in cheek. because you clearly have some semblance of “life balance” because you exercise, you tweet about optimism, and you tell it like it is. all that action both physical and intellectual relieves stress and is a kind of therapy that always you to be a successful contributing member of society. suffice it to say you’re aces in my books.

keep on keepin on’–and if u think this post went down like a “lead balloon” you’re mistaken, you’ve shed some light on a very REAL issue for many of us, and i think folks are simply taking their time to digest and savour the goods. have no fear!

cheers, and muchos muchos gracias for this!
xobolaji

Claire Nelson

My name is Claire I’m also a web-a-holic! I don’t do New Year resolutions but in general I have (for a while now) resolved to “unplug” more often. I totally know what you mean about having the urge to share every little event in order to make it more amusing/exciting/shocking (the @ reply thing made me howl) but after a while it’s easy to see how addicted you’ve become. When I started Twitter I went through a stage where for a whole year I couldn’t finish a book. (A big deal for me!)

I’ve now taken up knitting which means I HAVE to switch off. I can’t knit AND tweet, and since I don’t have a TV it’s totally just me and… my knitting. And my thoughts. Wow. I have a lot of thoughts, and I forget that I don’t HAVE to share every single one of them!

Thanks for highlighting how easy it is to get so wrapped up in the online world that one forgets how to just BE.

Fashion Limbo

did the same thing during xmas. Left some scheduled posts (was so amazed I actually wrote something that was planned, not last minute, doubt it will happen again though) and it was a nice refreshing break. It felt like something that should be done now and again. I am struggling with it, but every weekend I try to go social media free, at least from saturday morning, til Sunday evening and if you push me, Monday morning. Feels healthy

OMGTre

*stands up and looks around* My name is Tre(maine) and I’m also a web-holic. I’m 25 and I got addicted to forums aged 15; whatever I was going through, I found a forum for that, whether it was being preggers, having a dog, student etc lol.

I moved with the times though and as the internet evolved so did my web-needs ( I sound soooo sad!) LOL. Forums, Face-pic, Hi5, Myspace, FB, Meet-up, Formspring, YouTube, Twitter and then those platforms weren’t big enough for my rants so I created my own damn soapbox!

I’m a recluse so naturally, I’m drawn to things that I can do ‘alone’ – ie websurfing. I love nature, art etc but after I see something awesome – I want to tweet/blog it! I just can’t help it and I don’t need a cure.

*Pumps Fist* Vive l’internet!!

The Jaded NYer

Recently, it’s been too cold to walk & tweet. But the faux pas don’t end just because it’s 30 below outside. IT KILLS ME!! I don’t wear gloves so sometimes I have to negotiate with myself- How bad is that lacefront wig really? Enough to peel my fingers away from my makeshift shiv, take my hands out of my very warm pockets, and get frostbitten for a lousy tweet? *sigh* My life is so hard… (that’s what he said!)

Go-Go Rach

My name is Go-Go Rach, I am also TWADDICTED! I cannot even leave when I say I’m leaving! Great post. I’ve missed ya.

Have Fun, Dahling!

XXX
GGR

Lisa Sherratt

This really made me laugh, especially the part about walking around your house saying things out loud expecting some kind of reply, I quite often think of status updates or tweets that would just be a little silly to post and then shake my head at myself as some of the stuff I want to share is just utterly mundane!
I did a day without my phone or internet last week and it was amazingly refreshing, however because I was away from home and my family tried to contact me they all got themselves worried that I was stuck up a mountain (I was staying in Scotland) so when I turned my phone back on I had voicemails and texts asking whether I was ok as they hadn’t heard from me – due to my usual instant replies they found it very odd that I had not replied!
Love the blog so I’m very glad you got through your writers block πŸ™‚ xx

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