Life before social media

Life before social media

I joined Facebook in 2007. I didn’t really want to sign-up, nor did I particularly understand what it was used for. Especially when people I had not seen or heard from in years started poking me.  But then some of the kids I went to school with started friending me, only they were no longer kids; they were proper grown-ups with jobs and families of their own. I trawled through their photos to see how kind time had been to them, and I was careful to only post my most flattering pics, in case they were doing the same with me. I was giddy with excitement as I poked, sent gifts, and played scrabble with friends I’d lost touch with years before, many I assumed I would never see again.

And, many I have never seen again, in person, but I love how connected it is still possible to feel with friends who live on the other side of the world. How easy it is to share photos with family you might only meet up with once or twice a year.  Not to mention the old friends I HAVE seen again after finding each other on Facebook.

As someone who would rather not speak on the telephone unless absolutely necessary, it is much easier for me to ‘like’ a friend’s photo, comment on their status, or send a quick message to let them know I am thinking of them.

Although, this general acceptance of social media as a valid form of communication has made me a bit lazy with my nearest and dearest.  Instead of calling, we send text messages, IMs, DMs, PMs or tweets.  It is much quicker to ping a question to the Greek God(zilla) over IM than it is to call him, leave a message because he is busy at work and can’t talk, wait for him to call me back and then have a 20-minute discussion about it.  This way, I can just message ‘chicken tonight?’ and he can ping back ‘sounds great’ or ‘not again?!’ depending on his mood.

Being able to send text messages is a fabulous invention for us phone phobics, of which there are more than a few in my life!

Before social media, I had to put in a lot more effort to keep in touch with family and friends, but in many ways I think my relationships benefitted from this.  A smiley face emoticon can not possibly release the same endorphins that laughing for 20-minutes down the phone with your best friend can.  And, an ‘I’m fine’ response to ‘how are you?’ can be easily recognised as ‘I really am not fine’ when you hear the true emotion in someone’s voice.

A dinner out was a chance to relax, unwind and talk about your week, not to instagram your food.  Cameras were only taken out on special occasions and you’d ask a waiter to take your photo, not to be in selfies with you.

The end of the working day was just that. The end. You logged off your computer and went home and did not look at it again until you arrived back into the office the next day. Evenings were yours to do with as you pleased and there were no distractions or interruptions.  I could invite friends over to drink wine and watch a film without feeling the need to send a single tweet.

Now it seems all the moments of our life are recorded and shared for everyone to pass comment on.  There is no such thing as total and complete privacy anymore… says the blogger! We have conversations with each other in public view of everyone on our friends lists. And, as frustrating it was to have to go to a shop to develop camera film and wait DAYS to see the finished photos, at least the truly awful ones were not posted online and tagged before you had even finished your main course.  You just tore them up and threw them in the bin.

I also had more time to myself before social media. Now I am available to everyone on my contact list ALL of the time. I am constantly accessible to everyone I have ever known, and a few thousand twitter followers that I have not.

There’s also the pressure to respond quickly online thanks to visible notifications stating the exact time the message was delivered and opened.  Whereas, taking a day or two to reply to an old-fashioned email is unlikely to cause much offence.

I enjoy social media very much when used at leisure, but it can feel overwhelming to be so switched on all the time.  I’ve definitely taken a step back recently and feel better for it.

There was life before social media and there should definitely be life after it too.

11 Comments

  1. May 25, 2015 / 9:19 AM

    All so true Sarah. It’s a massive double edged sword isn’t it? I sometimes wonder what would happen if I came off Facebook completely (and then remember that I can’t since I run Facebook pages for a number of brands). It’s so hard to take time out and switch off completely when everyone you ever met can DM you or tag you – and like you say, it shows you when someone has read a message so you feel obliged to reply. I managed to switch off on holiday recently because the resort we were in charged for wifi everywhere except the reception area. It was nice to just receive messages and emails once a day as we passed through that area of the hotel. Great post lovely x

    • Grenglish
      Author
      May 26, 2015 / 5:48 PM

      I love holiday switch off time, really feel like I have had a proper break without it. I don’t think I could come off FB completely though – think of everything I’d miss!! xx

  2. Those of us that remember life before SM can appreciate this in a way that so many younger people can’t. Being away and not having access always comes as a bit of a relief and I always forget to go back on properly afterwards. Good points, well made X

    • Grenglish
      Author
      May 26, 2015 / 5:45 PM

      I think I just get overwhelmed but how much time and effort it seems to take to be on all the time. I switch off completely most evenings now and have started insisting the Greek God(zilla) does too!

  3. May 26, 2015 / 1:53 PM

    over the past few years I have become so protective over my social media accounts – i refuse to have ‘old’ friends from school and definitely love shutting off from time to time.

    • Grenglish
      Author
      May 26, 2015 / 5:43 PM

      I never thought of not adding old friends to start with, although I am very particular about friending people I have never met!

  4. May 26, 2015 / 6:03 PM

    Happy Memories! As much as I love Social Media, there needs to be a limit, definitely! I know a few people who are backing away from it now and deleting a lot of their online presence…

  5. May 26, 2015 / 8:44 PM

    I was almost disappointed on holiday that the wifi was so good, as actually it’s sometimes a relief to have an enforced break.

    I quite often feel completely overwhelmed by trying to keep up with social media, then I make myself take a break and step back to realise what’s really important and it’s not SM 🙂

  6. May 26, 2015 / 10:17 PM

    I love social media – as well as blogging I have a job as a social media manager but it shocks me how open some people are on there. People share so many details about their lives. I saw someone sharing that their child was ill and they were taking them to hospital the other day – like their concern should be getting it out there on Facebook rather than actually taking them!

  7. May 26, 2015 / 10:44 PM

    Well done you, so important to keep it al in perspective, as otherwise iek you say ti can become too encompassng. Mich x

  8. May 27, 2015 / 6:56 AM

    These days is so much easier to contact someone by text or messenger rather than by calling. And…unfortunately a lot easier to talk with friends you found online rather that friends that used to be good friends Life…and the way we live it’s changing unfortunately 🙁

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