Friday, 5 December 2014

Back to Basics

Someone very dear to me who has had a very positive influence on my life, recently decided to scale down on social media interaction. My first thought was that this was a brave and very positive and healthy decision. However, whereas before I would interact with this person constantly and almost always receive an instant reply if I sent the first message, now the replies were more delayed. I realised that our interactions had become part of my daily routine – almost just as much as drinking a cup of coffee or tea each morning or taking my vitamins regularly. I knew I would miss our interactions, but I had no idea that I’d miss it this much and I have to admit it was hard for me to respect this person’s wishes not to interact via social media so regularly anymore. This limited interaction made me acutely aware of my flaws and unhealthy behaviours. What struck me as the most odd and shameful was the fact that I even checked my phone numerous times to see if this person had been using social media during the day. Like a freaky stalker. This actually borders on insane and I quickly came to the realisation that I am much more dependent on my cell phone and interaction via social media than I thought I was.

Technology and especially social media is supposed to bring people closer together and allow people to interact more regularly and keep in touch. However, judging from just my own experience, I am inclined to think that all this new technology is actually driving people further apart.

Rewind back to the “old days…” Let’s say you and your family went on an outing to the zoo. There were no cell phones. Your landline stayed at home. Nobody could get hold of you and for the duration of the time spent at the zoo, it was really just you and your family and you could really just enjoy each others’ company. At a family picnic, nobody had their cell phones lying around on the picnic blankets. At the family dinner table or at a restaurant, no cell phones intruded on the conversations. And when you went on holiday with your family, the only contact you had with others was perhaps through a payphone? I speak as if I was there, but I wasn’t. I can only imagine how it was way back when technology didn’t constantly intrude and steal precious moments of time spent with loved ones.

So I have decided to challenge myself. And no better time than now. Today is my last day at the office and I only return again in January. The challenge is to completely stop use of any and all communication technology that wasn’t there in the year I was born. When this thought first crossed my mind, I thought there was no way I would survive. I use my phone for absolutely everything. I love using email and not to mention Facebook. I decided to put this “fear of being out of touch” to good use by chronicling my experience without “modern communication technology” throughout this month. I will share this with you in my next post sometime in January.

To limit the temptation of engaging via modern technology, I switched my cell phone off right after accepting this challenge to myself last night. My husband took my phone with him to work this morning and he will be leaving my phone there until he returns to work in January. As far as Facebook is concerned – I am deactivating my Facebook account temporarily until I return to work in January. That way, if I reactivate it sooner, everyone will know I failed miserably at the challenge I set myself. J However, I will wait until tomorrow evening only because some of you may want to contact me via Facebook in order to obtain my slightly more antique contact details. J I will also not be checking emails at all during December. Already I have had people frantically asking me how they would be able to get hold of me during the festive season. Well, for those of you who would like to stay in touch, let me know and I will give you our good old-fashioned landline number at home. You are welcome to email me too, but I will only respond to those emails in January. For really urgent matters, my husband will still be using his cell phone and crucial contact can still be made through him.

I was also asked the question of how people can say congratulations to our youngest when she turns one year old in December. Let me know if you would like to say congratulations and I will give you her personal email address to which you can send your birthday wishes. I created one for both girls when they were born.

What do I expect to gain from this experience? I guess I just want to rid myself of any unhealthy habits I may have picked up through social media. And I am hoping that when I am “back online” in January, I will be less likely to ever use social media as much again as I had done in the past.

A little voice inside my head tells me that no relationship nowadays can survive without using social media. But I believe in my heart of hearts that the relationships that matter most, will survive. There are other ways of sharing special experiences to. A simple telephone call to say, “Hallo friend. Hey, guess what our little one did this morning?” Or best of all, good old-fashioned face to face conversation… Meeting up with a friend for a cup of coffee or visiting family and laughing and making memories until late at night. That which is most valuable and most treasured, will survive. It survived long before modern communication technology had been invented and there is no reason why it shouldn’t survive today still.

Take care, be safe during the holidays and enjoy the festive season with loved ones.

Until next time,


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