I blame Brexit – for everything tbh, but that’s another story – as the last few weeks my social media intake has reached another level. It’s not just me, as everyone I speak to says the same – Facebook became our saviour (everyone thinks the same, how can this have happened?) our constant news feed (sadly checking it every 10 minutes didn’t change the result) and our outlet (although I stayed away from venting my anger, disappointment and utter shock).
Instagram has been a welcome visual respite from the news and as for Snapchat -well thats just a fun filled stream of food, silly pics of friends and roof top parties in Bushwick!
I had fallen slightly out of love with Twitter recently, but I tuned back in for an ongoing stream of commentary on all the horrible news – contrasted with what’s happening with Love Island and George Lineker (what do you mean you don’t follow him – he’s hilarious!).
But enough is enough and over this last week, the ongoing bad news coupled with the extreme heat has made me realise I need a digital detox. I haven’t read an actual book all year and anyone who knows me IRL will realise this is a big thing, as I love reading. I still buy books, I just never get round to reading them, as there always seems to be something more interesting to read online. Of course reading online is still reading (as pointed out by the wonderful Diana Athill at an event I attended last year) it’s just reading in a different format. But reading digitally isn’t just about reading one thing – as we flit between FB, Twitter and our favourite websites – and I wonder if its taking away our ability to focus.
I have been fascinated to watch the recent tv programmes on C4 devoted to paring back our lives and getting back to what matters. Life Stripped Bare explores what happens when three young households have all of their things stripped away for 21 days, while Eden follows 23 strangers who are abandoned in a remote Scottish location and asked to create new society using only what they can farm and build.
As I get older I find the idea of giving up technology, getting back to nature and making things from scratch more and more appealing. I’ve been talking a lot lately about the idea of ‘peak stuff’ as we all realise we have enough of absolutely everything. But maybe we have also reached ‘peak information’ and ‘peak online engagement’.
So as Amanda and I prepare to take month off from blogging (yes a whole month – we are dear readers – knackered!) I plan to downsize my stuff and get back to living my life in real time – and possibly even reading a few of those books!
See you in September.