My friend Simon and I have given up social media for Lent.While Simon has had a blanket ban on all social media, I've been banned only from interacting on social media - so that I can still post links to the blog and suchlike (yes, I was worried about my stats ok!)
You can read our first post about it here.
Because I am still using Facebook to promote the blog and to run my clients' pages, it's a bit tricky - I am still logging in every day, and catching glimpses of my increasing number of comments and friend requests... I seem to have become very popular over Lent, with a lot of people I'm not sure I know attempting to add me as a friend.
I find though, that as Lent draws to a close I'm not really looking forward to trawling through 60+ notifications and fourteen friend requests. No offence to people who have left comments and suchlike, but I doubt much of it is of any substance.
Being away from social media for Lent has meant I'm away from all the drama, and the people who tend to thrive on it. It's so nice when people say "did you see what she said on Facebook?!" to say "no, and I don't much care!" Life is easier when you're not involved in drama - but it's also less stressful when you're not watching it, not even vaguely aware of it. This is similar to the day I realised I was wasting large chunks of my life with watching soaps - I stopped watching all of them, and my mood instantly improved. I do think there will be a fair few deletions when I return to Facebook - and the people I can't delete (for political reasons) I will be hiding from my newsfeed. I don't need to see it!
What I have really missed about Facebook recently is that it was S's birthday, and I know people will have
|S appreciating the Minion birthday cake |
her auntie made for her
Another reason I'm wishing I'd been paying attention to Facebook though - something very odd happened with the blog this week. I wrote a post on Monday about nurseries and pre-schools, and how I think we expect too much of the staff. I'm not sure at what point one considers a post to have gone "viral," but at the time of writing, that post had received something like 17,000 hits. To put this in perspective - the second most popular post on my blog (the nurseries one is now most popular) is from July last year, and has 2300 hits. From what I can tell, the majority of people finding that post, have found it through a link on Facebook. I'm really not sure I've ever attracted that many people to the Facebook page for the blog (what do you mean you don't already like it? Go and like it now please!); I'm thinking someone somewhere has shared my link somewhere and I really would love to thank them for that. I'm utterly gobsmacked by the traffic I've received over the last few days!
How is Simon getting on?
Easter is just over a week away, and with it the end of my social media ban for Lent. I felt ready to return for a week or so, but have not let curiosity get the better of me. I miss keeping up with my friends, but they will still be there when I get back. I am looking forward to seeing what they've been up to, which was after all the original reason for me getting a Facebook account after resisting for so many years.
Aside from that, I have not missed Twitter or Facebook at all. I imagine there has been a lot of comment on both networks, following the passing of Peaches Geldof. Social media allows everybody to become a columnist, and to pass comment and opinion on everything. As a radio presenter I am taught to be relatable to our audience by doing just that. But this week I found myself ignoring it all together. Not because of a lack of empathy but because I honestly felt it was none of my business. A father has lost his daughter; children have lost their mother; it is unquestionably sad when a young life is lost. But I didn't know her personally and I felt it was more respectful to allow her family the privacy they deserve than adding even the slightest contribution to the media fire that burned around the story.
And it always burns. The thirst for fresh content from newspapers is insatiable now they are online and essentially 24-hour news organisations like our television channels. I was horrified to see that in an attempt to find some fresh content one newspaper turned its attention to Katy Hopkins. She famously sparred with Geldof in the past, and according to The Daily Mail Online was guilty of "failing to acknowledge" the news of her death by passing a comment.
A woman who has become infamous for generating attention by polarising the public with her opinions stepped away from the opportunity, and I have a little bit for respect for her for in doing so and for once maintaining a dignified silence.
One of the first bits of advice I was given as a broadcaster was this : it's not about what you say, but what you don't say.I think I'll be considering that more with my use of social media when I'm back on it after Easter Sunday.
Our Final post is here.
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