Social or anti social networks?

So I’ve heard lots of views around social networks and their use. The thoughts and feelings expressed are diverse from loving them to hating them and some have taken the decision not to be part of them. I’ve also noticed in how many times I look at them and how much attention the screen in front of me seems to demand. So I thought I thought I’d try a digital detox and last weekend I decided I would log out and stay off the sites and put my phone out of immediate reach.

I was surprised at how I felt, from an initial loss, from habitual browsing. Then wondering what I used to do before, to enjoying the freedom and focus. I spent the weekend doing the jobs that I’d been putting off, organising and cleaning the spare room which seems to accumulate everything from motorbike gear to dvd’s, books and pots of paint. I also spent time talking to family and friends and felt truly there, It was so refreshing to just be doing one thing and not being distracted.

I thought about how much technology distracts from experiencing every moment, remembering the sea of tablets and phones when on holiday watching a show. I remember feeling sad that people were immersed in the images on screen and not in front of them and how much else is missed whilst looking at a screen. I remember feeling sad that the screen has become such an integral part of daily life when it actually puts a barrier that distances us from experiencing it.

Daily life for some seems to revolve around what’s on the screen, what can be videoed and shared or twittered and not in enjoying what is going on in front of us. Clients have despaired about social network sites, at the arguments, at broken relationships, at new relationships, at images portraying perfect lives – reinforcing depression at imperfect lives. Feelings of pressure and inadequacy and feeling bullied or in fact of being bullied have also been experienced.

Reflecting at how assumptions are made from what is displayed on networks and how much of an effect it can have on relationships of all kinds, from deep conversations you can have via messages to barely speaking in person, to sharing every feeling, meal, experience with friends and friends of friends and wondering if there is a need to share everything? To feel bombarded from daily information, sharing and notifications, does it distract them from their own experience too?

This reflection made me aware that social networks can have their good points, being able to talk with friends and family around the world is a good side. Sharing community awareness of events/ and fundraising, helping people. Share articles and images that can raise awareness or make people laugh and smile feels like a positive use of them, so I think my choice after my digital detox was to take back my control of how and when I wanted to go on them, to use in moderation, to enjoy the moments as they happen and share with the people that are there and if I take a picture it will be to share with them alone not necessarily through social media.

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