"It's the whole world and without it you're amish."
This has just been the week for discovering a lot of really poignant commentary on social media, the internet, and how both have impacted and changed relationships.
If you have an interest in the topic, I can recommend the following. All three of these are "neutral"---meaning that they are not coming from any specific religious or political point of view.
This 13 minute documentary: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/rtv/documentaries/no-internet-week
This 4 and half minute video: http://vimeo.com/70534716
This article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wait-but-why/generation-y-unhappy_b_3930620.html
The last one has a few issues but overall serves as an example of what is perceived as generational differences, an increase in overall loneliness, happiness, and the increase of depression.
As for me,
I love technology. I'm extremely dependent on it and wouldn't want to be without it. I love the convenience, the access to information, and all the other benefits it gives me. I like that I can verify the time of a party or get ahold of someone very quickly. I like that I don't have to worry about getting lost or stranded. I love that I have a space to share thoughts and ideas with other people.
I also hate technology, especially social media. I hate that it can effect my mood. I hate that it can create insecurities in me. I hate when I'm having a conversation with someone and they're looking at their phone. I hate how tempting it is to use as a coping mechanism. I hate how it's used to share opinions that would never be said to your face. I hate how much time I waste staring at a screen.
I've given up social media for a specific period more than once. It feels good and it feels bad.
I feel better, generally speaking. I feel less stressed, less upset, less insecure, less intimidated, less angry. I feel like I have more time and that I fill it with more valuable tasks. My spiritual life, my confidence, my relationships, and the quality of my work all improve. I think my health might even improve because I seem to be more active and more aware. I'm just generally happier without social media.
But I also feel disconnected. I feel like I'm not staying on stop of current events/issues. I feel like I don't know what's going on in peoples lives or even what community events are happening. I feel like I'm falling behind, being left behind even. The documentary above has a quote about social media that describes how many feel when they try to walk away from social media: "It's the whole world and without it you're amish."
It's crazy to me how quickly the internet and social media has pervaded all of our lives. It wasn't that long ago that life moved along normally without cell phones, Facebook, or email.
I've concluded that going without social media (walking away) would be healthier for me, but unless everyone does it, it doesn't work. I just end up feeling like a reclusive back woods weirdo who has nothing in common with anyone.
Unless I can convince a group of friends to all move into the same neighborhood, sell their smart phones, and delete all their social media accounts then it seems it will just continue to be an endless cycle. I'm not sure I can ever escape. All I can really do is try to control and limit it.
It truly does feel like an addict's problem---having to find ways to moderately enjoy my habit so that it doesn't hurt me, but I also so that don't have to give it up completely.