Thanks to social media, a day after birthday is also exciting. I had hundreds of birthday wishes and comments which I had to read and reply. I was really excited to see comments from people whom I never thought think about me. While going through the list of my well wishers, I noticed that one of friends who was a Facebook buff hadn't wished me. From what I knew of her she used check Facebook status more often than she used to breathe, as she would put it. I thought she would be the first one to wish me but she hadn't.
I saw her the next day, she was looking a bit dazed, but warmly wished me ,"Happy Birthday, Vivek" She said with a smile and warm handshake.
"Thank you so much", I replied but I could sense something was different.
"Its so nice to wish in person, rather than Facebook", She said.
I could not believe my ears. My facial expression could roughly be translated as "you too Broots". "What happened? Talk to me", I said as we walked towards our pantry.
"I have quit all social media. Since yesterday" she began.
"What happened?" I genuinely enquired.
"I realized that social media is becoming an addiction. I didn't realize till because it slowly grew on me. My friend gifted me this book Palace of Illusions which tells the Mahabharat from Draupadi's point of view. How exciting I thought. But I just could not read it beyond a single page. The story was interesting, language was lucid, I wanted to read it but it just wont happen"
"Aha! Why? Sometimes it happens to me too" I confessed.
"After a bit of soul searching, I realized that it was all due to my social media addiction. I had just lost the ability to concentrate. I had become a very distracted person. My daughter had started complaining about it but I had ignored. But it was hitting me back. I realized that my friends who were half a world away knew more about me and my daily life more than my family who were off social media. It felt so wrong." She said.
"Ya it happens to me too. But I never thought about it that way", I agreed.
"In our last vacation we landed up giving up a hotel with good view and facilities in favor of another hotel which wasn't so good just because it had wifi. This just didn't make sense. My younger daughter swears by her ipad and would not go anywhere without it. She has speaking difficulties. The doctor advised us to take her away from Ipad and ensure she speaks to real people more often."
This was real but getting really serious I thought.
"My elder one is very good at written communication but he struggles big time when it comes to talking face to face and interacting in social gatherings. So I thought I have had enough and I just gave up virual world for real world"
I was quite moved by the story. I was not that addicted but I was getting there. I didn't see a need to give up the social media completely but I thought of 3 things I would do to keep my social media at sane level.
1. I plan to check my social media only at specific timeslots. Rest of the time I just log off and keep all notification off.
2. When family is around, dinner times, vacation times there is no social media allowed for anyone of us.
3. I want to pickup a new hobby may be golf or gardening to gainfully use my time.
What do you plan to do?