Goodbye Social Media, Hello Humanity
Yesterday I deleted my social media accounts. It felt liberating and yet, during the day, I’d find myself picking up my smartphone to check my now nonexistent Facebook account before remembering I didn’t have one anymore. “Oh yeah,” I’d tell myself before taking a deep breath, placing my phone back down and wondering what this new life would entail. Thirty seconds later I’d do it all over again.
If I’d been smarter, I would have pre-joined a wood working men’s shed, a yachting club or a knitting group before I axed the main source of human interaction that filled much of my life.
I first joined social media as a way of connecting people with my music and life journey. I’ve got to say that I made some great friends there, as well as reconnecting with past friends too. Some of the social media friendships I’ve made have even translated into very fun friendships in real life, as many of my social media friends have turned up at my concerts, joined my musical adventures and even stirred me about my eccentricities.
I wasn’t sure how some of these social media friends would interact with me now that the main platform for our interactions - social media - was no longer a part of my life. However, I’ve already received emails and messages from a few, checking up on me. It’s why I can say that I don’t believe that anything that connects people is inherently evil.
However, I’ve found that Facebook and the like create a false sense of connection between humans. In a world where people have never been more technologically connected, there have never been more people suffering from loneliness and a feeling of real disconnectedness.
A few weeks back as I was visiting yet another espresso bar for a morning coffee, a lady walked in and look at me with a puzzled expression on her face. I wondered if I had spilt coffee on my beard or if my shirt was on inside out. Then she pointed at me and told me, “I think that we’re friends on Facebook!”
It was an odd feeling. Should we hug? Slap a high five? In the end, she introduced me to her husband and we all shook hands.
What helped me make the decision to delete my social media was being inundated with adverts from Facebook advertising multiple times to me to advertise my Facebook page to others. I realised that in Facebooks eyes I was a simple steer and my friendships with others a commodity. In between that and my news feed being constantly filled with people’s angsts and political diatribes, and the occasional harrowing graphic image to put across a point of view, I felt that it was time to move on.
So now I’m off to examine what real connections I can find in life and music. I still have a little private Instagram account for my quirky photos, but I feel strangely free.
If you’re wanting to stay in touch, feel free to do so via email, a coffee or smoke signal. In the meantime, I’m off to write another song and look for a yachting club to join.