Digital Detox: Musings from a Social Media Addict
I confess. I’m an addict. I’m on social media EVERY DAY. Admittedly it is also my chosen current career. And I own the business…bit of a conundrum no? After noticing a lack of attention, time with my husband and a bit of unhealthy self-talk, I decided enough was enough. Over the recent Christmas break I chose to do something my Facebook account would not be happy about. I locked my phone and laptop in the safe before we left, packed my film camera, grabbed my favourite pen and notebook and took three books on my To Read list. Here are a bunch of things I noticed sans phone and laptop.
Filling up bored moments with the phone is a habit of mine. You probably don’t do it though. Bus stops, waiting for friends, standing in line, definitely not on the loo! Having no phone left space in these moments. To ponder. Think. Watch. Listen. Write. To really hear. To breathe. To create. To be aware. I noticed the shift. Like blinkers being pulled off my eyes and ears. Probably a good thing whilst travelling in Vietnam given their pavements and traffic rules (i.e. none).
Despite not taking and using my own iphone and laptop, my husband took his iPhone and iPad. Whilst I was happy writing on paper and reading books, the “i’s” have been so very convenient. For booking tomorrow’s accommodation, for finding the best noodle place, for checking the weather. Just about everything has been reviewed on TripAdvisor everywhere! All of these things could probably have been organised prior however, we were very far from being organised before we left often booking hotel’s on the way to them. Convenient!
I remember when my mum and dad went on holiday to Tahiti. Valmay at the local travel agency had organised the entire trip and itinerary. Dad had printed it out for our sitter whilst they were away in case of emergency. Hotel names, numbers, check in, check out dates. Very thorough. We don’t have kids so we’re probably not quite thinking like dad was but if anyone needed to contact us, Facebook messenger was available. Like talking to family on Christmas day in two different states and three different countries! Grandad. Mind. Blown.
I took my film camera on this trip with me. It’s an old Olympus thing I purchased on eBay a few years ago. I certainly don’t profess to be a photographer in any way, shape or form and I barely have a grasp on how the thing works. But I love the feeling of that camera. The weight in my hands. The time it takes to focus, to find the right shot. That satisfying click of as shutter opens and closes letting in that letting glimpse of light, capturing that moment. Now that’s precious.
However, I forgot how to rewind the darn thing, thought I had and opened the back. Rookie mistake! So i have no idea how many of the photos will work but them the brakes. Left open to chance. Love it! Saying all this, hubby did bring his digital camera and iPhone so we still have holidays snaps but they’re not nearly as satisfying as ye ol’ film snaps. PLUS my olympus is so heavy. This might also fall under convenience. I’ll still take it next time but i’ll learn how to use the darn thing first!
Have a missed have my phone in my pocket? Not one little bit.
Did I survive two weeks sans phone? Yep. I’ve felt free and a whole lot lighter.
What ever did I do with myself during those nothing and waiting moments? I thought and thought and thought.
Surrounded by opportunity and a heightened sense of ‘anything could happen’ and I might actually be present in the moment. Maybe some moments are just for me! So what’s the point? Why detox from technology, what are the benefits and how will I use what I’ve learnt in my everyday life?
In my line of work. it’s pretty easy to get so gosh darn sucked into the alternate, shiny, parallel universe that is social media. Rose-tinted, filtered snap shots fill the menu satisfying the junkie voyer in all of us. “Just one more scroll. Just one more hit!” Complete with built in search functions perfectly designed allowing us to realise exactly how we are not keeping up with the Jones’.
Putting down the socials gives you:
- Greater awareness
- Better sense of self
- Better sense of place and space
So here’s the plan. This involves discipline. Something that (I think) I’m getting better at as I get older (we’ll see).
- Tool’s up at 9am. Tool’s down at 5pm. I guess this is more about having a bit more of a daily/weekly scheduled routine. Learn how to put down my iPhone and have a real conversation at the end of the day with my husband. Priceless.
- Making a technology detox a yearly event. Pretty self explanatory right? Maybe even twice a year?! The optimist in me screams “AMEN SISTER!”.
- Recognise patterns
- Stop the scroll
Sounds pretty easy in theory? I’ll let you know how I go.
In any case, at the time of writing I’m still in Vietnam with two days left of unadulterated, un-technology time. I have coffee to drink, noodles to eat and words to play with. And it’s almost time for lunch. Hubby is researching noodles on TripAdvisor. I’d better go.
More on detoxing from those pesky digital things