Just a month back, I made the decision to stay away from social media for a month. Well, here I am, typing on my netbook, that I’m still happily alive and that the past month has been life changing – one of the most successful month of my existence.
These days with more and more people havng access to internet and smartphones and eventually joining Facebook, the site is full of happenings, updates, news, gossips, spam and much more. I considered myself more of a modest user of Facebook who always screens his updates to be suitable for the broad audience well before posting. Just like any other day, I pulled up the site and boom it was full of updates from my decently long list of Facebook friends (includes friends, juniors, seniors, relatives and so on…). I noticed a picture was posted by one of my close friends of school time. He was on a trip to a marriage function of another mutual friend of us, whom I was not in touch with for several years. I peeked on some more images, and could refresh several other faces along in the same set of pictures. It’s just a coincidence, that I latched onto the update that day, which in turn reminded me of several other friends and a slight more of research lead to have a clearer view of their whereabouts too.
There were a lot of things for my surprise and may be even more to smile at. It felt good. Those moments I experienced were the returns of my 5 minutes spent on Facebook.com. I learned so much in just five minutes. But was it all, what I would have had wanted to get from Facebook? Do I miss out on making the most out of this large social network? Or do I overdo just in the attempt of making some real use? Its not just about Facebook, I do spend a good amount of time on other popular social platforms like WhatsApp, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, Hike etc. The times I have heavy work load, I barely check all these out. However at moderate work load, I do it and I do it more, quite like an avid user.
But, I do not just take it all for granted. I love digging, and more of reasoning. This lead me have a thought of taking a break from social networks and all kind of communications except Email, SMS and Voice Call. I was supposed to be on an artificial outage of social netowrks in my life, then. Coincidentally but accidentally, I broke the display of my smartphone this February beginning. And, I was feeling like one of my hands was gone for the first two days. I was a handicap without a smartphone. I had no Google maps to roam around in the random streets, I had no Uber or Ola to have those easy car rides… neither had I had Facebook or WhatsApp to talk to those hundreds of people, and yeah none of those fancy and cool games like Asphalt or Sudoku or Temple Run or even Candy Crush, to have those pass moments pass on. All I had kept with me was a decent Samsung Metro feature phone, which had decent multimedia capability, to allow some decent music experience when paired with my Sony XB earphones, and also I could take occasional photos through that basic camera on the phone. I loved the keypad on the phone, which is absolutely tactile and clean even now after one whole month of heavy typing. You really know, that you are dialing a number, when you dial a number. Finally, I was using a phone with Keypad and a small non-touch display after several months.
The first couple of days were full of withdrawl symptoms - I’d open a new tab in Chrome on the desktop or laptop and start typing facebook.com without even thinking about it. I missed my constant entertainment from Twitter. I missed all the fun of WhatsApp group messages. However, it got better. I forgot all about Twitter within days. I still missed Facebook and WhatsApp, mostly because it came up in conversation all of the time. The benefits were immediately apparent. With a mind free to wander and explore, I started to experience things, to make moves, rather than suck down a never ending stream of information. Not knowing what your friends are doing every second is liberating. It’s amazing how much you have to talk about when you don’t have a constant plug into their life. I built stronger friendships and forged a couple of new ones.
What’s my plan now? Well, I’m back on social media. It’s nice to finally see “that picture that Ramesh tagged me in”. But I don’t want to go back to my old routine, the new one is so much better. I love creating things - code, art, writing, whatever. I want to keep doing that, because the act of producing, being a maker, has changed my life. If I want to read or post on social media, I will do it consciously and thoughtfully - so I won’t be using Twitter or Facebook from my phone. I love the information diet that I’m on and all I need to do is not plug back in. Meanwhile, I have got a new social hub to stay hours on and yet never misuse or underuse it. And that’s, Quora.com. It’s a wonderful place to get all your answers from experts.
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