There’s been a lot of buzz lately about turning off your buzz. Escaping from the world of technology for a defined period to re-connect with the physical world around you. Detoxes are no longer limited to fruit juices and colonic irrigation, now to fully recharge we are led to believe that you must be prepared to pull the plug. As if living in Jersey doesn’t make you feel cut off enough from the rest of the world, is a digital detox just one step too far?
I’ll try most things that offer the promise of better health and wellbeing, but this was not a detox that attracted me. As a blogger and a writer I prescribe heavily to the merits of social mediaI and was less than thrilled at the prospect of disconnecting for a whole weekend. Would my successes even count if they aren’t posted and shared multiple times? How will people understand what I’m saying if it’s not punctuated with emojis? Will I be liked if I can’t be ‘liked’?
I fall into the same camp as the average person, who checks their phone every six minutes and would feel limbless if I had to go a day without it. Rumours of life revelations and boundless creativity from a detox were enough to wet my appetite and I fully expected to finish the weekend with my first complete novel or a euphoric experience over Jersey’s sunsets.
Sadly this was not the case and in fact being phone-less was more of a distraction and nuisance than being glued to it! The only way to swap contact details with someone was to scrawl them on a scrap of paper, leaving me longing for Facebook. I was incapable of making plans with anyone and felt as if I had been transported back twenty years to a time where you are desperately hunting for near-by phone booths to make contact (of which I can tell you there are now none!)
Ed Sheeren has publicly slammed the use of social media, claiming he was starting to “see the world through my screen and not my eyes.” He was closely followed by Kayne West who also needed “air to create.” Experts claim dependency on social media can stifle creativity along with increasing stress levels and distract you from your job, family or education. We all know that the world portrayed on our screens is not real, it is carefully controlled and manipulated, but does it then follow that it should be abandoned? Treated with caution, why can’t social media be our dirty pleasure? When did escapism become so bad?
For many, the world can seem all too real a place and social interactions difficult. Far from unhealthy, the web can be a place to connect with like-minded people, to support and share their successes. It’s where people can learn to abandon insecurities and build confidence. Prof John Powell, a public health researcher at Oxford University claims, “social media is invaluable for people with health conditions to know that they’re not alone, that there are other people who have gone through this and got better.” For those who feel lost in the real world, it is a lifeline.
Like anything with a human element it is open to misuse and there are countless negative stories of trolling and bullying. But as a blogger and a writer I feel like I have to buy into the hype that comes with the digital age, it makes writing accessible and provides me with a larger platform and audience. And yes, sometimes I like to retreat to a world that is filtered. One that is perhaps unrealistic, but makes me feel so good. Like me, tweet me, follow me, just please don’t try to turn me off!