I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my digital footprint.
More specifically, what and when I share in the cyber world we all live in.
As you might remember, I stepped back from Facebook completely in the late summer. It was a timely decision. My career change enabled me to let go of the constant marketing and hustle that is required when you’re an entrepreneur….and an artist and blogger at that. I am seeing the whole social media thing so differently now. Not only was I able to gain quite a bit of extra time for pursuits I love (hello, reading for pleasure!), but I truly began to see how unhealthy it was for me to be involved in the first place. Well…I admit is was pretty darn fun at first…and I loved keeping up with people who were far away from me. Yet, as the years dragged on, I was finding the comparison of my daily life with the FB highlight reels of others to not be a good thing.
I’ve never been one to throw a pity party when comparing myself with others.
For the most part, I’m proficient at having faith in my abilities. I give my best and don’t try to take shortcuts (and great things have happened because of it), but I also know how easily I can get distracted by the events and accomplishments in other people’s lives. It just wasn’t good for me.
The other part of this social media equation for me is summed up by a really smart guy named Baratunde Thurston on one of my favorite podcasts, Beyond the To Do List. Baratunde took a social media sabbatical (no easy feat, as social media is huge part of his own company as well as the work he does for publications) and wrote an eye opening article about unplugging. I think the fact that this article went viral so quickly is that the topic of unplugging and stepping back from social media is at the forefront for so many of us. I do believe that within five years we will see a large shift in our digital lives…more people will choose unplugging to deprogram. In my opinion, the heavy damage is being done to our brains right now and we are allowing it to happen without a fight.
Anyway…the quote from Baratunde that hit me like a brick was:
“We’re field producers of our own lives. We caption, capture and share experiences instead of living it.”
I really think this was true for me…sad to admit.
But something wonderful happened.
When I began to enter the world of 3rd graders for 6 hours a day, my whole outlook changed. First of all, 3rd graders are not distracted by media. Sure, they play video games at home and see the digital world of their parents, but in my classroom from 9 to 3:30, they are 100% present in what we’re doing. In fact, I am too. I don’t look at my phone until lunch and then again at 4:00. I’m unplugged most of the day and I have to say, it is awesome.
Third graders want all of your attention. They will not settle for an “Uh-huh” while rifling through papers to be graded. Sometimes the situation is just short of a little hand moving my face to make eye contact so they can be sure I’m listening completely. Now, I’ve got middle schoolers at home….so I haven’t experienced this kind of demand in a long while. It’s actually very validating when someone (be them 8 or 50) wants all of you in the moment. It’s opening my eyes to what I’ve been missing…and even makes me mourn a little for the past few years.
What did I miss while documenting this lovely life?
You’ve probably seen this video. I watched several times and it made me sad enough to step back.
Of course, I do see the irony in me blogging about unplugging.
This little cyber spot has always been a happy place for me to work it out, so to speak. I get a lot of comfort in knowing others are dealing with this stuff too. This kind of support is priceless and I have found it the one eyes-to-screen experience that is positive and beneficial in my life. I also have figured out a schedule and rhythm of blogging that is seemingly sane and fits into the vida loca we have going on over here. It’s like meeting up with an old friend once every (or every other…been a bit busy) week.
I am also aware that there are plenty of folks out there who manage their social media rather well. It doesn’t become a time-waster or distraction. I say YAY for those people…it’s a skill, for sure.
I’m interested. What are you finding with your digital life? Do you need more unplugging? Do you have moments where you want to pitch your phone off a cliff and into the jagged rocks below? Do you have little interest in ever giving any of it up?
Do tell, Lovelies!
Happy almost holidays (paper bag turkeys are being created in room 302!) and have a great week ~