Social Media and me

I’ve been ruminating over the last week and a bit on me and social media. I took a week off. I was on holiday and access to electricity was limited, it was a decision both dictated by circumstances and by a desire to see if I could actually do it. My relationship with social media is primarily one of lurking less sharing. I am a bit of a voyeur. I tell myself it’s about keeping informed. Initially, I considered a week off an easy prospect but decided to remove temptation and delete the relevant apps on my phone.
The temptation didn’t materialise.

Circumstances contributed to that, less the lack of electricity more sunshine and blue skies. We spent a week away and I wanted to concentrate on family, grab every last moment of my last week with my boy before school. As it was he found a pal in the family sharing the field with us and once he was out of bed he was gone. Running races, exploring, building sand castles in the sand pit, towing his new friend around in a trolley. Simple golden pleasures, away from TV’s and computers. Picture postcard childhood activities, the things as a parent I wish for when despairing over another ‘discussion’ about the TV. To have been ‘catching up’ with the world of social media beyond our bubble of holiday loveliness would have been wrong. It was good to just be in the moment. Enjoy the space in front of me, watching my son play from behind a cup of tea, rather than trying to see a whole world of other stuff, other lives via an app. I didn’t wonder, as I do at home, what might be happening on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. On one or two occasions I thought it would be nice to share a moment via instagram but instead kept things close rather than broadcast outwards.

Once home I expected I’d itch for information from the super highway, but there seemed so much to do in gearing down from a holiday and gearing up for school it felt good not to throw into the mix the juggle of adding social media and gave the days a lighter feel.

I missed writing, for sure and catching up on the blogosphere. I crept on to Facebook late one evening after my self-imposed week had passed. Seeing all that others had been doing over the week induced a crisis of blogging confidence and wondered if it was worth returning to my blog. It’s my small space and comparing and contrasting isn’t always helpful. I did miss my blog, enough to know how important it is for me. Space away has inevitably given a fresh perspective and I’m hoping to find sometime over the next while to think about this blog; it’s shape and form. I imagine it will just trundle on much as it always does, just one small space on the internet.

It’s good to put the phone down and live in the moment and I’m trying to do that more. A few days later and I’m back in the swing of the everyday, browsing and checking and lurking on social media is a diversion from chores and a window on a world beyond the grey of September. I’m catching up with the online people I’ve come to consider friends. It’s been interesting to consider how in the last week I’ve quickly returned to the place I was. I feel, slightly, that I spent too much time on social media but yet I don’t feel that I spend enough time, make enough of a contribution to it all. I don’t have enough conversations, usually because I lack the time. Or respond enough to others tweets. My updates aren’t that interesting or funny, more random and infrequent. It’s an awkward relationship and yet one I don’t want to give up on. Social media and me. The odd couple.


I’d be interested to know how other people manage their social media habit? For good or bad?

34 Comments

  1. Jules

    I am a social media addict, I don’t mind admitting it. However, I have started having two social media free days a week to make sure that I’m not just repeating myself or being dull. I mean who really has enough interesting things going on in their daily life to warrant being on it 24/7? I’d seriously question someone who thought they did……
    I see social media as a coping tool for my illness, a creative outlet/networking thing, a way of getting to know amazing people that I may never have come across in my everyday life.
    Really, it’s a big part of my life but it doesn’t rule it. The day that happens is the day I leave it alone. :)

  2. Asturian Diary

    It’s a hard balance to strike. I’ve been mainly offline for the last couple of weeks, partly through holidays away and also the simple desire to give my full attention to the moments I was living. I did miss blogging though and got in a mild panic about it as the longer I left it the more tongue-tied I got about returning to it. Ultimately I think it’s a useful thing to take the occasional step back and check where your priorities are. Oh, and I also owe you a FB message owing to same thing. x

  3. Ally Bean

    I wish that I had the answer to your questions. I find myself dithering btwn wanting to be online for hours at a time to not going near it for days. I believe that there must be a better way to approach social media, but I seem to tend toward extreme behaviors. Which is odd because in the rest of my life I’m very balanced. Go figure!

  4. Super Amazing Mum

    I have regular breaks – every 6 weeks or so where I get bored by the whole thing. I think there is something quite sad about a lot of people tweeeting/blogging/facebooking/interacting without actually being in the same room. Saying that, I have met some lovely people (yourself included!) but really are we no more than “work” colleagues?? I wouldn’t for example go on holiday with you (nor you me!) but would want to know about your holiday….nosy? Perhaps.

    Like Jen, I now have “rules”. No computer on when kids are around (I had got so bad at one point, I was ignoring them whilst I kept up with twitter – SAD) and no computer if HAW is home early. I like my blog as a journal, a history of my family. I “may” even do it as a hidden one soon……..

    I’m putting all my efforts now into the people that matter – my kids and hubby as I had neglected them!!!! I have also stopped reviewing, now just something that would make a difference, at one point I was getting parcels everyday – consumerism at its best (as the kids were going, is it for me, is it for me, the magic had gone!)

    Now, rather than sorting out the kids wardrobes I am”surfing”.

    I’m waffling, hope you get the gist!!!!!

  5. woollyandred

    I am on Twitter far too much, and, because I read rather than talk, I can’t even pretend that it is “social”.

    I’ve used forums & FB in the past, but Twitter is a revelation. I’m quite isolated (none of my other friends have little children any more, and I am a SAHM who does bits of freelance work from home), so, although I’m not lonely, it gives me access to ideas & discussion I wouldn’t get anywhere else.

    I should reduce it, though. It does take my attention away from the children, and the endless nature (refresh, refresh, refresh…) means it’s never “done”.

    1. helloitsgemma

      Like you, I read rather than talk and I find it really useful/positive for the same reasons you do. I’ve got much better at reducing and focussing on my son more, but there have been times, for example; 6.00 am starts sitting on the sofa while cbeebies chirps in the corner and it’s felt like a life saver.
      I very much know the endless ‘refresh’ my phone makes a satisfying noise and then more ‘stuff’ appears…..

  6. allotmentmummy

    To me, it seems social media is a necessary pain-in-the-blog. I just want to write, and read other good blogs. But it seems if you want a ‘successful’ blog you need to engage with G+, SU and all the rest of them which I struggle to get my head round (I’m useless at technology.) The irony of social media is that it’s not very social at all. But I still think I need to get more involved, just not when the kids are around …

    1. helloitsgemma

      Twitter has been really useful for me in terms of promoting my blog and discovering other blogs. I refuse to get involved in promoting it via other mediums. I’ve tried, I have pinterest and G+ but not enough time and so they are generally abandoned after a brief flirtation. I’ve learnt from this and so SU etc I’m not even going there. I can think of plenty of bloggers who don’t use all the tools and just blog on – and it works for them.

  7. bavariansojourn

    There’s something in the air I am sure of it… I find myself on twitter less and less. Same with facebook. My group of “friends” now also consists of family members who I don’t really consider to be friends to be honest, and I find myself hovering over the “delete account” option more and more. But I don’t do it, because living abroad it is also one way to keep in touch with those that are important to me. I am not on Google + that much at the moment either… But I will keep blogging, and I hope you do too! I would really miss your blog! :) xx

    1. helloitsgemma

      Please keep blogging! I guess blogging works as a good ‘sharing’ tool for you as your family read it, whereas I try not to share mine with real life people (not with great success) and so I feel I need Facebook for that connection and it is a wonderful tool for that.
      Like you my twitter life has become less and consequently I seem to lurk, often due to lack of time and feel I’m not contributing and yet lurking takes time….

  8. Actually Mummy

    I switch off at school pick up, and back on once they’re in bed. I never get the early night I crave because the SM drug kicks in and I can’t stop myself. It is no surprise that mental health experts are predicting a massive rise in mental illness due to the popularity of constantly being on the laptop, never feeling like you have done enough, learned enough, engaged enough…

    1. helloitsgemma

      Really? I’m shocked by that! I’ve learnt that if I carry on to late into the evening I can’t sleep and so I do something else (read/TV) between laptop and bed, but I’ve been guilty of getting into a conversation just as I’ve decided to go to bed and an hour later am still tweeting.

  9. Bibsey Mama (@BibseyMama)

    Hello Gemma! You’re back and it sounds like you had a lovely time away. So much of what you say I relate to. I love the blogs and blogging, but I struggle with the rest of it, Twitter especially, as I find it just too time consuming. Sometimes I have my back to my child, looking at my screen, when I should just be watching her. Because she won’t be there playing with lego forever.

  10. Very Bored in Catalunya

    Holidays should be a break away from everything that is normal and routine, and that means your internet use. You wouldn’t check in with the office every half an hour on holiday, so why should you check into Facebook/twitter etc.

    A break means that you come back refreshed, with something to say and actually having miss people a little bit.

  11. Older Mum (@Older_Mum)

    I really enjoyed this post. I too have just come back from holiday, and there, like you, I switched off everything. And it was wonderful. Like you, it also gave me some healthy time out from the blog. As for social media, I have minimal time for it – I mainly use it to pimp the blog and chat a little once in a while – I dont use it that well. I prefer to spend time on the blog just writing. But I also think something is in the air at the moment – I am aware that a number of bloggers have stopped, taking a break, and rethinking their blogs. Glad you still want to continue writing … X

    1. helloitsgemma

      Thank you and I’m glad you had a good holiday. I am beginning to think a regular break is the way forward. I think blogs are very much an extension of our selves and our circumstances and as a consequence change is very much part of that and it’s the autumn. Autumn is about change.

  12. Mayfair Mum

    Know the problem. Seem to have taken a natural break as I’ve focused, like you on enjoying the last few weeks with the Little Chap “at home” before he started school this term. Once we get settled in the new routine I hope to find the right balance again and get back to my poor neglected blog (though I’ve been on Twitter through the Olympics in particular!). Perhaps its only natural that social media habits need to change as do our offline habits when we face a big life change like kids starting school? Thanks for this post Gemma, as its made me feel a bit less guilty! LOL x

    1. helloitsgemma

      Ah don’t feel guilty! It is the time of year for re-gigging things and starting school and adapting to that is a big change – if you don’t get the balance in ‘real’ life right the rest of it isn’t going to feel right. Hope school is going well.

  13. Emma

    My job pretty much means I am on the internet for a lot of the day therefore I do find it unhealthy how much I must be present on social networking sites ( I have a work facebook and private account too for example) I have noticed that I have become slightly become “addicted” compared to other people who, well, don’t use the internet that much. By addicted I mean I want to share information and have people share it back, on my work facebook this is starting to happen but with my private account I am surrounded by people who couldn’t even log into anything other than facebook so they don’t understand the medium and get offended easy ( how many of us have shared an Ecard and had an elderly aunt who we completely forgot had a facebook berate them in public..yup, I am…and my boyfriends stepfather turns out some people get offended by what appears to be the most innocent of things to the younger generation.) One thing I do to separate work and pleasure is that I don’t have a mobile phone ( yes odd but true) so social media is not available on the go, therefore out of site out of mind :)

  14. nickygrace

    I like your post. Very true and honest. I’ve only recentley started in the world of social media and that’s because I feel I have to for my work. I’m a self employed textile artist. I like twitter but there are so many blogs that it’s mind boggling especially as I’m not much of a reader. I don’t even know how to follow blogs that aren’t wordpress. I thought I could follow any blogs. Someone’s just told me about ‘Google reader’ so I shall investigate.

  15. Molly - Mother's Always Right

    I have to admit to a bit of social media fatigue at the moment. Or rather, a bit of Facebook fatigue. I think the juggle of the various accounts I run means the pressure to consistently come up with witty content and updates is tiring me out! But, more than ever, I have a few Facebook friends’ whose updates have the ability to deeply irritate me. Showing off and constant bragging on Facebook does. my. head in. But then I think I need to get over myself, pledge not to go on for at least 48 hours – and then find myself getting irritated all over again within a few hours. I’m a lost cause!

  16. Pingback: Reading by torch light | Helloitsgemma

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