I knew it would be, but still, I don’t like it. I am a “sharer” in life: I like to share joy with others. I like to tell stories. I like to make eye contact and smile at strangers I pass on the street or in the hallway, sharing a brief moment of human connection. I like to go, “Isn’t this cool?!?” when I see something cool and there are people nearby. And I am still very much in love with and inspired by the island I live on. By Cape Breton, by the everyday things.
Social media and the Internet taking off like a wildfire has changed the word “share,” though. It’s made it an “action,” something you click to do, something you almost impose on your friends – “Here’s this thing I liked! And this thing! And this thing! Read it read it read it!”
And I’m getting burned out on it. I’m sick of reading news feeds, of staring at a screen, of waiting for statuses to update or messages to come in. I’m sick of the way it makes me expect immediate responses, the way it discourages me from waiting, from pondering. And I’m sick of how I get distracted in the middle of a task because I hear a noise from the phone or the computer, or I see the little number of messages or notifications change, and then twenty minutes later I come back to whatever I was doing before, feeling discombobulated.
I want the real world. I want birds at the feeder, snow on the window, cuddling with my honey, visits face-to-face with friends. I want walks around the neighbourhood. I want slowness. I want space to stare off into.
Last weekend I didn’t sign in to Facebook at all. I took it, and Instagram, and email, off my cell phone. I turned the phone back into … a phone. What a novel idea!
It felt so utterly good. I felt free, and private. I felt like my home actually had walls again, and people couldn’t see through them. That the reality I was in was the only reality, and my focus wasn’t split between it and some bizarre world of information bursts.
Maybe I’m over-sensitive, and maybe not everyone has this same reaction to social media – if so, you might not feel the need to limit your use of it. And, maybe not everyone uses it as much as I did.
But, oh well. That’s other people. I’m me. I follow my gut and my gut is telling me, privacy. And quiet. And solitude. And community, the old-fashioned way – in person. At least, for now.
I’m still using Facebook (and I feel like a drug addict, using the word “use” in that sense), but I’m using it less. I’m changing the places I use, making them fewer and far between.
So what does this all mean for a blog about following your dreams, and building community? For this writer it’s definitely pertinent. I mean, you’ve got to follow your gut on a long journey, where you don’t know how it’s all going to pan out. You’ve got to start the journey because of where you want to end up, certainly, but in order to get there you’ve got to do things sometimes that seem like they might change the dream. Like they might postpone it.
Because at the end of the day, the still, small voice inside of myself is my best guide.
Til next post, I’ll see you out in the real world.