As we were getting ready for bed last night, my iPhone pinged, as it so often does at random times throughout the day. And dutifully and almost compulsively, I reach for my phone to check it.
“I hate that thing,” Lil’ K muttered in disgust as she flopped her head on her fluffy pillow.
That was a wake up call. Clearly, I have been paying too much attention to the many distractions contained within that little device in my hands. I put the iPhone back on the nightstand and continued our bedtime routine. After story time and snuggles, our adorable little 5-year-old lay cuddled in the blankets. Her breathing slow and steady as she slept. During those quiet moments after she went to bed, I thought about the impacts of being too “plugged in.”
After talking with Hubby, I decided that a fast from social media was in order. I went on Facebook and posted:
I received about a dozen “likes” to my status and a few comments from family and friends. Here are a couple of my favorites. Both of them from my cousins living on the mainland:
Lil’ K is sleeping. I’m catching up on my client work. It’s raining outside and I’m drinking a cup of hot tea and enjoying a Hokulani Bakery red velvet cupcake. I feel like posting a Facebook update about it, then remember I’m not going there.
When I really stop to think about it, I don’t know why the ordinary things of life become fodder for status updates. Perhaps it gives us all a common ground upon which to relate. Maybe I just want you to be jealous of my delicious cupcake. Or, quite possibly, I am seeking attention and crave your validation in the form of likes and comments. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other forms of social media have become so commonplace that it is considered normal to post photos of your feet and status updates about our pets. But does this practice help to nurture deep and lasting relationships, or are we just cultivating a superficial and mostly false view of the hundreds of people that grace our Facebook timelines?
Social media is so deeply entrenched in our society, it’s a ubiquitous fact of life in this generation. I’m not sure how long I can separate myself from it, but I know that I need to do it long enough to break the addiction. Admittedly, I will miss hearing about your day and seeing photos of your cat. I’ll miss out on the selfies, the witty anecdotes, and drool-worthy pictures of your dinner/artsy, filter-treated Instagram sunsets/so-cute-I-could-die snapshots of your kids.
But where that void is left, I will be filling it with real life, resisting the urge to over-document the ordinary to publish it for your likes and comments.
Thus begins my social media fast. It could last a week. It might be a year. We’ll just have to see how it goes.