Facebook Fasting

Today I seemingly signed away all my hopes of a full and functioning social life. Don’t worry, facebook, as I told you when I clicked “deactivate my account”, it’s only a temporary measure.

I am taking a brief hiatus from the world of (some) social media, having been inspired to get back to basics. For a long time now, things have been missing from my life, things that used to be a huge part of who I was, and along the way have been waylaid and put aside in favour of other distractions. I have forgotten how to write for fun. How to snatch up a pen and a notebook and spend hours obsessing over a suitable line to rhyme with “the statue in Trafalgar Square” (in the spirit of honesty, a genuine recent attempt). How to curl up in a corner and get lost in a book for hours. How to really, really try to complete the Radio Times cryptic crossword.

Facebook has not been the only distraction, but it has been one of them. Perhaps as a symbol more than anything else I am temporarily giving it up in the hope that it will free me up for other, more creative, activities.

In the short time since clicking “yes I’m sure I want to deactivate”, I have already learnt things about myself. I have noticed how often my finger ticks towards the facebook app on my phone. I have noticed how many times of a morning I open a new tab in my browser and press “f”, waiting for facebook to automatically load up. I have noticed a distinct lack of “notifications” popping up in my inbox, but equally, I haven’t been devastated by their loss.

There is something at odds, or at the very least ironic, with my then choosing a public platform to announce this. But there is also something social about what I want to embark on as an alternative and I therefore need people to hold me accountable to it.

Me, writing, on the Eurostar on the way to Paris. Seven years ago.

Me, writing, on the Eurostar on the way to Paris. Seven years ago.

A while ago a good friend asked me what was inspiring me on a daily basis. At the time, my answer was a blank, bottomless pit of nothing. Well, I have boxes full of writing materials, cards, pens, paper. I want to be able to use them. I used to have overseas pen-pals. I want them again. I used to spend hours writing hideously emotional, self-involved poetry. (Perhaps the world could do without me taking that up again.) I want to rekindle old friendships, nurture the ones I have, and not feel like we’re competing to find our 401st “facebook friend”. I want to send greetings cards, handwritten letters, postcards. I want to pick up the phone and natter about nothing until the cows come home. Facebook is free, yes, and stamps and phone bills aren’t, but I think my life will be more enriched and real by taking the time to share things on a more personal basis. And I’ll try to use this blog to let you know how I get on.

 I am not making some sort of political anti-facebook statement or suggesting that we should all abandon our accounts forever. A more balanced person might be able to find time to juggle all of these things. However, I am engaging on this by way of an experiment. If you’d like to join in, maybe send me your address (privately!) and let’s spread some love the good old fashioned way…

Thanks to some very truthful friends and the blog
60postcards.com for encouraging me to resurrect my creativity and get inspired again.