Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Staying Connected or Disconnecting?

There's been so much talk lately about turning off, or at the very least, reducing our time on social media that it's got me thinking about the time I spend online, or on-phone; what I'm doing and what I cold be doing if I wasn't online.

This one has been doing the rounds on Facebook. It's emotionally brilliant, pulling at our heart strings, making us wonder what are we missing out on? Do we care? What did we do with out technological support every minute of every day?

“This media we call social is anything but, when we open our computers and it’s our doors we shut”… Click here and find out what we're talking about. 

It suggests that because we have our noses in our phones or laptops ALL THE TIME we are missing out on what's going on right in front of us. Maybe that's true. Maybe I've been guilty of it at times but are we as bad as the video makes out? Is it an age thing?

I genuinely believe I use social media to my full advantage. I love having an app on my phone for maps (means finding my way around a new city easy), or dining out, or music. One thing to replace the job of several.

On Facebook, I participate in several groups ranging from a book group, to a photo club, Ikebana groups and the IWCD. Some are public groups where anyone can join and share, while others are closed which means they are invitational only. It's a brilliant, easy way to stay connected with friends who share your interests, or make new ones you'll probably never meet but their passion inspires you.

I tried Pinterest but found it too hard going, while others love it to bits.

LOVE my blogging buddies! A whole new world has opened up for me as an individual and a blogger. How I yearn for thousands of followers worldwide, with numerous comments attached to each blog.

The worst thing I did was add Skype, Facebook and emails to my iPhone. It meant I was always contactable. I didn't like it at first, but like most things, I have no idea how I ever managed without it before. A few friends still live without a mobile (how do they manage?), and MrsP admitted to using her phone as that, a phone. No FB, Skype or emails will be received by her unless she is online - and she's self employed! So what the hell am I doing?????????????????

The first thing I do in the morning is check to see what everyone's been up to while I've been asleep. You see, living in Ireland, with friends in Australia and S E Asia, our time zones aren't conducive to real time conversations, so this is the next best thing. But I'm starting to think, do I have to start my mornings in this way? What would happen if I waited til 9am or even later to find out?

Last year, I consciously decided to leave my phone next to my bed in the morning and not have it with me while making breakfast and school lunches. It was also left in my bag between the time MissM came home from school and the end of homework, so I could focus on her.

Having Skype on my phone is brilliant as MissM and I can call her cousins in Sydney while we drive to school and know we've a good chance of catching them. It's a quick call, a simple HELLO, what's new kinda newsy conversation and is good for the soul. If we waited for the right window of time to benefit everyone, someone has to stay up very late!

Like all technology, emails, texts, voice messages etc can be ignored .... and are, sometimes.

G often referred to FB as Divorce Book until a few months ago, when desperate for more lives on Candy Crush he joined FB and has become an expert in posting comments and threads, LIKING pages, and posting pics of 'stuff'.

I play SCRAMBLE and WORDS WITH FRIENDS with friends in Sydney, Winchester, Tokyo and more recently G, who's either at work, or next to me on the couch.

It's time consuming, and does take me away from where I'm at, but I'm WITH friends, they just aren't with me! When the time zones work in our favor, and we are online at the same time, we chat via messages which is great fun.

Am I ignoring the people I am with? Yes, but not for long. It's no different to taking a phone call, or going out for a few hours, is it?

Another emotive suggestion going around social media is this one

G and I always have our phones with us - I've no idea why I do as I'm not on-call; and with his new role, he's not anymore. Obviously, if MissM's home with a sitter, we have them with us, but do we really need them on the table when the 3 of us are together?

We went for dinner on Saturday night and for 'fun', we didn't pull out our phones. We still chatted as usual, had quiet moments when no one spoke, ate and had a nice night out. We actually don't play games on our phones when we're out'n'about. But they are present.

We've lived thru periods of time when G's phone has rung and he's answered it, interrupting dinner, a movie, he even missed touring the Book of Kells due to a business call he HAD to take.

His role has changed, and this doesn't happen (as often) anymore.

My phone is always with me - in my bag, or in my back pocket, in my hand, or next to me. It's always charged, ready to go  ............... why????????????????

I think my fear is of being uncontactable by family in Sydney if anything happens and we need to be contacted. Imagine, if there's an accident, or worse and they can't contact me/us for hours? They are stressed, we are unknowing.

I guess living in Japan for three years, with earthquakes being a constant threat also meant you needed to be immediately contactable (which in hindsight is silly as all communication stops in natural disasters).

Maybe I'll disconnect just a little bit, it'll probably do me the world of good.

Staying connected is very important, does it really matter HOW we do it?

With friendship


  1. I find it so much easier to work when disconnected. With FB and email pinging all the time and sms and phone calls I end up feeling like I have ADHD with all those distractions. Turning it off allows me to focus either on work, the kids, the house, my friends who are physically with me at the time or whatever else I've chosen to do. When I focus I enjoy whatever I'm doing more as it feels easier and I'm more engaged/connected to what/who I'm with at that time. It's also a personal bug bear of mine - people who check their phones/fb constantly when with others, I find it rude. Not saying YOU do that but others do.

    I strongly believe that if someone needs to get hold of me quickly they can call me, that's what my phone is for. So I make sure that anyone who would need me in an emergency has my handphone and home phone numbers. Anything else can wait.

    It makes ME happier to function this way.

    Mrs P

  2. Taking a leaf (or two) from you as always ...... since writing this a few days ago, I'm deliberately putting my phone down in a different part of the house to me (tho still within hearing distance just in case), I've turned off all the pings which has reduced the CALL TO ACTION I was feeling when I heard them go off. Also, put a block on all incoming emails and texts between 10pm and 7am LOL. You'd think I had some Very Important job they way I talk LOL.

    The one thing that G and I have accomplished without trying is turning MissM off all mobile telecommunications and FB - she detests them, and tells us so.