“Hello, my names Debbie and I am a Social Media addict”
So as part of the SMW Berlin Blogging team I have been evaluating my social media usage over the past few weeks and I can honestly say I have a problem. I’m sure it is the same problem most of us have and to many it’s no big deal I even have friends who don’t even notice they spend most of their time with their face in their phone even when in social situations. I have been an avid user of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Blogger and many other well-known sites for a long time now. To me it’s the easiest way to keep in touch with my friends and family here in Berlin and back home, as I have never been very good at actually talking on the phone. I like to keep an eye on current events and have a genuine interest in what is going on in the world and what people have to say. Whether it’s everyday people, Internet personalities or well-respected celebrities and public figures I believe everyone has a voice and communication is a vital part of life.
Then on Saturday night the unthinkable happened, we had a power cut! My world went dark and everything suddenly got very very quiet. Ah no worries I thought, I can last without surfing for a little while I’ll just relax. Of course the first thing that I wanted to do when it happened was post about it and then check to see if any of my friends were suffering the same outage but uh oh no Internet. My laptop, iPad and phone all had charge and my husband was already on his phone trying to find out what was going on, how long it would last and how far spread it was. My Phone! I thought, everyone breathe a sigh of relief I’m not totally cut off.
This is when I decided to challenge myself surely there is more to me than staring at a screen. I can do this. No problem I’ll just go for a nice relaxing bath and I can catch up on my YouTube subscriptions like a normally do (just me that does that then) oh, nope can’t do that. I will do some work on my blog, oh, nope can’t do that either. Never mind I’ll watch a movie I have laptop charge, hmmmm can’t get to any of my usual subscription streaming sites and this laptop doesn’t have a disc slot. Well a nice silent candle lit bath it was with lots of time to reflect and just how dependent I am on Social Media.
The whole event really made me think about just how connected we are to each other now and the mild separation anxiety I felt when choosing not to just get on my phone was quite shocking to me. I also made me realise how differently I use my phone now to say 10 years ago. Funny story, I was on the tram coming home the other day and someone pulled out an ancient Nokia and a scrap of paper with the phone number on and proceeded to dial the number, with key press beeping noises and everything. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I never actually dial a number anymore I hit a name and send a text or even better I jump on whatsapp so I can tell if the person got my message. I feel a sense of ease knowing everyone I care about is at the push of a button and have developed a short hand with most friends and family when it comes to Facebook and the like. All this seems a little strange to me as a village girl who moved away to the big city because she was tired of everyone knowing her business.
Now we are all out there in the big wide world of Social Media where we readily share what we are about to eat with people we may not have seen since high school. I have watched friends kids grow without ever actually meeting them and as I comment, rate, subscribe and like my way through my life I feel connected to people in ways I never thought I would. The power outage only last a couple of hours but it was enough for me to know I would be a rubbish recluse.