Hi! My name’s Corrine, and I’m an internet-o-holic. It’s trumpeted that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and that the next is quitting, so after being inspired by Vanessa’s account of her digital detox, I enforced my own. For 48 hours.
Now, before anyone snickers “pft, a two day social media sabbatical… somebody get the violin out, this story’s making me weep!”, think about it: how often do you use the internet in a day?
My phone is always at my side, and it’s often vibrating. “Someone sent you a Direct Message on Twitter.” ” ___ posted on your timeline.” It’s my fault, I’m the nitwit who has their notifications switched on, but I enjoy being in constant contact with my loved ones.
No relationship is flawless though, and my courtship with the wired world is no different. It ignites insecurity. One female friend admitted “I’ve asked my husband “who’s that Carrie chick that you’re talking to on Twitter, and why?” before.” Another confessed “that’s why ___ and I have a joint Facebook account; so there’s no trust issues.” And it’s not isolated to women; Richard, Charlotte’s father, rang me one afternoon while I was overseas, furiously demanding to know why “some random” was draped over me in photographs. Mystified as to who he was referring to, he then sent me one of the images. Oh. THAT. From six years ago. He’d been sifting through my snapshots online, and neglected to observe the date.
But it didn’t stop there. “Why do you still have photos of your ex-boyfriend on Facebook? Delete them.” He’d thunder. (I’d forgotten they were there.) “Why do you keep ‘like’-ing photos of tractors? It’s weird.” (It was a friend’s excavation company and I was trying to support them.) “Who’s this guy that ‘liked’ your status?” “Why is this dude still on your friends list if he’s “just someone you worked with once”?” The interrogation never ended, but the relationship eventually did.
The digital day and age has added TREMENDOUS pressure to dating. Once upon a time we’d meet a prospective partner and love and learn about each other organically, but with the proliferation of social networking websites, we now have immediate access to our potential spouse’s every thought. It’s said that knowledge is power (in fact, I echoed that exact sentiment the other day), but at what point are we in possession of TOO MUCH knowledge? Whatever happened to finding that out that her favourite film is Finding Nemo or that he collects vintage cars the old-fashioned way, over dinner or a coffee?
So what were the positives that came from my 48 hour digital detox? For starters, I felt infinitely calmer without a steady stream of (everyone else’s) thoughts in front of my eyeballs. My apartment mysteriously became cleaner (funny that!), and I read a book. I sat still (it was delightful) and felt complete clarity… and realised a few sorely needed truths. I took in the sights of a train ride – the way we all used to! – instead of clutching my phone and refreshing Twitter.
I did feel lonely occasionally. As antisocial as cradling a device is, the reality is that when we’re doing so, we’re usually communicating with friends, and I missed the conversation of mine. Where were they? What were they doing? How could I cope without hearing about my best pal’s day? THE ANGUISH!
Sorry! Couldn’t resist. (Does anyone else remember Abe’s Odyssey?!)
It was an eye-opening challenge. While the internet is revolutionary (and this may be sacrilegious for me to affirm as a blogger), to be honest, I’m a tad fearful for the next generation. What will become of our technology addicted society? Will we ultimately be born with iPhones?! Cyberspace is a glorious place, but it doesn’t hold a candle to what’s outside…