The internet should be a brilliant thing shouldn’t it? Indeed it is. All that information at our fingertips. The whole world is in there. I have been led to some fascinating articles. I used to love social media. I liked the way you could connect with people from all over the world. I am on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp.
Recently I have become disillusioned with it all. Facebook in particular is the one I have issues with. I like reading the articles it brings up for me. It is certainly right about what interests me. It is more the personal interaction that is the issue. I am mainly only in contact with family and a few old friends on there. I live at a great distance from most of them. I begin to realise that most people are being disingenuous. A couple of incidents recently brought this home to me. The husband of a family member recently went into hospital to have an operation. It wasn’t serious and he came out in a few days. When looking at the feed there was no mention of this at all. Only photos of a recently completed garden project praising the talents of said husband. This strikes me as weird. If one was having genuine interactions with people one would be sharing sorrows as well as joys. Very few people seem to do this. Facebook is life airbrushed. It is for bragging only. Bad things don’t happen in Facebook world. I think this is artificial and dangerous. It is not real life.
Another incident made me think. Another more distant family member recently had a baby. I had felt a part of the whole event through Facebook. I sent a baby hamper through the post via my mother. She told me on the phone they had received it and liked it. No mention was made of this on Faceboook. No small message of thanks. These are people permanently attached to their phones, documenting minutae of their lives on Facebook. A thank you would have been the work of moments. I realise they just don’t think of me as part of their circle. They don’t see me. I am just a Facebook friend. I don’t really exist. This is symptomatic of the whole thing. None of these people are really your friends in any real sense of the word. If they were they would phone you, come and see you, spend time with you. By spending so much time on our phones we are living in a world of illusory connection.
Twitter is different. In many ways I prefer it. There is less bragging and more discussion of thing that interest me, particularly politics. Often it just descends into a bear pit of trading insults. This can be entertaining if you are in the mood but it is at heart negative. The connections with famous or nearly famous people are interesting at first but you soon realise they just need followers to fawn over them and flatter their egos by agreeing with everything they say. There is no real connection yet again. Some people with fake identities can be very funny and this is entertaining but again often cruel, not coming from a place of love.
I found it useless for promoting my book. Everyone just scrolls past the endless authors touting their wares. I gave that up a long time ago.
I think I must be addicted to it as I keep going back to peek even though I know it is bad for my mental health. I need to get off technology and out into the real world. I know this makes me a luddite. I think it’s the way to go though. Buddha did not achieve enlightenment sitting on his smartphone. I could be like the Dalai Llama or the Pope and just use social media to issue the occasional pithy wise statement.
Today I switched my phone off. I am not sure I am switching it on again. If you want me come look for me on a mountain in Tibet.