Did you miss me?
In 2006, my boss in the time invited me to Facebook. Back then, it was a service you could join only on invitation. (Like LiveJournal, remember?)
Maybe he thought it wasn’t such a good idea when, like many people around the world, everyone at the office got hooked on updating their status and trading photos of themselves doing what everyone does. (Other tidbits of nostalgia: the narrow page layout with the nudge on top, and status updates all beginning with a name followed by is.)
Years have passed, and many things went through our heads, then on Facebook. Twitter joined most of our games too, as many other social services piggybacking on these big two.
I used to treat my status updates as a diary, despite the warnings of many, writing personal events of my life. Maybe it was too much for some, but it was still interesting for others. Some thought I should just stop altogether and they erased me from their lives, while others got engaged in what I said and came forward to become closer friends.
When I’ve hurt the feelings of one person too many, publicly and online, it made me think about changing my ways. This couldn’t go on. I was tired of just writing everything that came up in my mind. It was like an addiction. That is the time when I started writing about my private life where it belongs: in a journal, a log of my daily life that no one can read. I used to keep one with pen and paper when I was a child; I don’t know why I gave it up.
That prompted me instead to share thoughts, facts, photos, and loads of links to many sites about things that I like, my hobbies, my interests, my career… Those turned out more interesting, at least to me, and certainly more favourable to my own character, on both personal and professional sides.
With all my efforts to better control my online presence, there is something I didn’t expect: I grew tired of it all. Everyday, I’m notified by various channels of everything. I gets dozens of messages about what my friends are doing daily.
I woke up one morning and grabbed my phone…
Someone changed her relationship status. Someone shared six photos. Someone tagged me in those photos. Five people commented on what I wrote. Five other people commented on something where I also commented. Someone whom I forgot about wants to add me as a friend. Someone wrote on my profile. Someone sent me a message. The same person sent me another message asking if I read the first message. And on, and on, and on…
I unlocked my phone. In an instant, I deleted Facebook and Twitter off my screen.
Sweet, soothing silence.
That morning, I also blocked my computer from accessing those two. I didn’t want them anywhere.
Finally, no gossip about my friends, no viral videos, no brand trying to make me like something, no pointless banners with pointless text written on a picture background, no invitations to events or parties, no necessity to tolerate slow or unstable applications, no photos of food, drunk people, fashion, or anything else.
Simply, no more.
A sudden nothingness that brought pure bliss.
For a week, I barely touched Facebook or Twitter. I uploaded three photos, liked five or six things, and commented once. That’s it. Compared to my usual vast participation on the network, that’s a huge difference.
It was a difference that should have gone unnoticed, I thought. There are many other people on there.
Yet, the first day, someone realised I haven’t written anything and asked if I was all right. The following days, people went through my profile to see and share things I’ve posted days or weeks ago. It was as if people missed me, even those who never or rarely met me in person, and that somehow surprised me.
When I met my friends, they were all asking why I suddenly didn’t appear on their feeds. I was muted, and they were curious.
I turned to blogs and Reddit for material to read. It seems I can’t survive a day without reading something. I never plunge into a book, but strangely enough, I like to read.
The same goes to writing. This entry looks like I’m making up for all times I haven’t wrote anything this week.
If you wanted to know what I’ve done this week, trust me, you haven’t missed much:
- I got angry at my phone and computer for being slow.
- Working out.
- Eating food.
- Seeing friends.
- My usual breaks on the stool.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
Giving an impromptu break to my online life was a nice escapade. Very cheap too, and well appreciated since it gave me time to breathe years after my move in Japan still without any paid vacation.
But, as July begins, it’s good to be back.
And to be honest, after all, I missed you too.
Have you ever wanted to retreat from your online life? Is it too much to handle sometimes?