I spend a lot of time browsing Twitter, checking my emails, creepin’ on my Facebook friends, reading blog posts and writing comments, and looking for new Instagram accounts to follow. But it wasn’t until recently, when I was heading back to uni, that I realised just how much attention I pay to social media, and electronics in general. I was stuck in my Travelodge room with no WiFi (they did have it but it cost extra, and going back to uni is expensive enough already) and, I thought initially, nothing to do.
I’ve always thought of myself as being pretty balanced when it comes to social media. I refuse to get Facebook on my phone, for example, since it means that once I’ve left the house I can only be reached via call or text.
But lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been spending a lot of time staring at one screen or another, and I’m not sure I like it. It used to be that I worried my online presence wasn’t great enough; now I worry that by focusing too much on the virtual world I’m missing out on the real one.
Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a wonderful thing. I keep in contact with family and friends over Facebook; when I’m scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard I can see a photo that makes me laugh out loud, and then read a thought-provoking post immediately after; the #bbloggers chat is my favourite thing about Twitter.
However, during the short time I had no internet access, I devoured the October issue of Elle, which gave me a load of beauty inspiration. I was fully focused on the latest episode of Mock The Week, able to chortle at the discussions about Scottish independence, Boris Johnson, and, of all things, Facebook and Twitter. I finished the the ebook I’d had on the go (Panic, by Lauren Oliver). I sorted out everything for the next day. And then I sat down to scribble this post.
There are things I want to achieve, and they won’t get done if I am constantly glued to my newsfeed. There are a tonne of books I want to read – really read, not half-heartedly flick through.
I want to explore more of my uni town, and get to know the area the same way I know back home.
I want to socialise with my housemates and have proper conversations with the people I meet, instead of having one eye on my phone all the time.
I want to develop the short story I wrote for my portfolio last year, and maybe even turn it into a novel one day.
I’ll be trying to find a way to do all these things and more, while reducing the amount of time I spend on social media. I want to get the balance right again.
What are your thoughts? Is your life ruled by social media or have you struck a good balance? Do you like to switch off now and then? Let me know in the comments.
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!