Social media stresses me out.
Most of the time I am a junkie in anticipation of my next fix, wondering when I can get my hands on my iPhone or laptop and fire up Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I may or may not slobber like a socially wired Cujo.
But every now and then I have to detox for my sanity. Quite apart from the amount of time I’m looking at a screen since going back to work, I’m exhausted by… everything. Every day there is a new app, a new “Week of”, “Day of”, someone posting a new photo challenge, a new fashion challenge, someone has a new linky, a blog hop. And I get stuck inside that Radiohead song:
I liked it better when life was simpler. When I could delude myself that I was an incredibly talented, creative individual. Not that I ever thought I was the only one out there (I’m not that pathological), but I am constantly being bombarded within social media with people’s passions, causes and ideas (both genuine and ploys for attention, notoriety or validation) and I, in turn, feel compelled to do the same in a way. I have a filter on that selects what I want to be involved in but there are too many races to run for me. The truth is I’m a competitive person, mostly with myself (it’s often best I work from home given my tendency to actually argue with myself. Out loud) but there is that edge to me that doesn’t want to miss out on running a race I have a chance of winning.
So I often find myself looking down the barrel of a gun at Mediocrity without my bullet-proof vest on. Disillusionment. Glaring knowledge that I no longer have to call the Patent Office to discover whether someone else has nicked my fabulous idea (or I, theirs). It’s my own fault of course, no-one is holding that gun to my head forcing me to participate, but I do enjoy it a hell of a lot, a hell of a lot of the time. It’s a conundrum.
Social media gives everyday dudes a platform that would otherwise be reserved for the conventional voices of radio, TV and film. I love the idea that people can put themselves out there and get creative in a public space, but for me it can swirl into a big heaving whirlpool of too much. Before social media you kept up with yourself and maybe your neighbours, family, friends and colleagues but now I feel like I need to keep up with the world. And the world is much too big.
[more of the time]