A penny dropped for me last week which should have dropped before. I was reading your book and came to the social networking chapter, and it was basically about me!
I had misplaced my phone the week before. It turned up after a day, under the car passenger seat, but for that day I was beside myself thinking that it had gone forever.
What had I become?
During that day I realised how addicted I had become to constantly checking messages, tweets and everything and anything online – it was unbearable to be without my phone, it was like I had lost a physical part of myself and just couldn’t be ‘me’ when I couldn’t check what was going on.
I felt so scared that I might not find it, and might not be able to afford to replace it. I couldn’t focus on anything else except where my phone might be, and finding it!
What had I lost?
Feeling so lost and vulnerable made me look at myself. Why was I so affected by losing an ‘object’? 2 years ago, before I started blogging, I would barely have noticed where my phone was, now I can barely move without being sure where it is.
After I found my phone I viewed it differently, I knew my social networking had been getting in the way of my real-life relationships, but it wasn’t until reading your book that I truly saw that fact and understood why it had become that way.
What had I been avoiding?
I feel like my partner and I have been drifting apart recently. I realise now that I have been avoiding thinking about this by spending more and more time online. Last night, for the first time ever, we went out for the evening and left both of our devices at home, and it was wonderful!
We talked like we used to when we first got together, and sat in silence without separately being on our phones. We listened better and talked about things we just wouldn’t have thought of if we had had messages to check.
I even went home and didn’t update my status or twitter feed to tell everyone what a great time I had had, I knew we had a wonderful time, and that was enough.
I still love social networking.
I just wanted to say thank you for being part of the ‘penny’ that dropped. I still love blogging and social networking, but I have also remembered the life I had before. I have recommended your book to everyone I know, not just for the social networking chapter, but for all the other chapters.
It has definitely changed my life, thank you for writing it and I hope you get the word out.
Best wishes, Nikki.
What a wonderful message to receive!
Thank you so much for getting in touch. I am so glad you like the book and that part of it particularly resonated with you when you lost (but thankfully found again!) your phone. Good for you for taking time out to reconnect with your partner, I wish you both all the best for the future.
I am also struggling at the moment with the addictive nature of social networking and blogging.
As you can tell (from my less than perfect previous posts!) I am new to blogging and twitter, so I am learning how to manage them as part of my life.
I enjoy blogging because I am hopefully assisting people in difficult situations, as well as sharing my thoughts with the world. Twitter connects me with new people and gives me a buzz every time I get a new follower, or a new personal tweet, RT, or DM (terms I didn’t know a few months ago!).
The reason I blog and tweet:
1) to raise awareness of my book ‘Stay Calm and Content No Matter What Life Throws At You’ (see Amazon link below)
2) to raise money for counselling charities by giving 50% of the profits away
3) to spread the relationship counselling word and make it a more accessible option, rather than a last resort which I think it can sometimes be seen as.
4) I admit, it is self-indulgent and addictive seeing how many visits my site has got, or how many new followers I have.
What about my family time?
What did I spend my time doing before I knew about blogging and twitter? How do I manage my time now that these new hobbies are starting to matter to me?
What about my children? Both my children already use the word ‘IPad’ more frequently than I want them to. Already there are complaints when I restrict their time spent playing games or watching programmes, and my husband is even worse!
I will have to work on these questions in order to find the right balance for our family, I’ll keep you posted…
Why do we social network?
We are becoming addicted to blogging and social networking because it raises our self-worth and self-confidence in some way, otherwise we wouldn’t do it.
The internet offers new ways to feel connected and in control; to feel like we have something interesting to say; to basically feel that we matter.
We might have lost these feelings to a certain extent in our ‘real’ lives, so we find them online instead.
What about our ‘real’ relationships?
These can suffer if we forget to nurture them. It is easy to escape from real-life problems by going online, but if we constantly do this then we are denying ourselves the chance to reconnect and build stronger relationships with the real people who surround us.
…your house had an ‘internet failure’ starting tomorrow and so did everyone else you know? What would you miss doing most online? How would you spend your time? Would you be a different person after a month being “internet-free”? Would you feel more or less ‘free’?
What did we used to do?
Before the internet, computers and TV’s, think how much more time we used to spend showing those we care about that we do actually care about them.
Surely we did more talking together, more cooking or eating together, we played games, had sex, slept for longer – probably all things which we could do with more of right now!
Don’t get me wrong.
I love how the internet makes the world a smaller place. It can forge previously impossible friendships and connections, it can teach us almost everything we might want to know, but…
What if we decided not to check any device for an entire evening, or day, or weekend, or week – could we do it?
This may be patronising, but its worth saying…
We mustn’t forget about the people that we care about most, especially when our relationships with them might have hit a bad patch. Our families and friends are the ones who actually know who we really are, they are the ones who can love us the most and who deserve to know we love them in return, by receiving the majority of our time, focus, love and affection.
‘The grass is always greener where you water it”
As I learn more, and probably become more obsessed, with blogging and twitter and everything else, I am going to try to remember to water my own ‘grass’ most of all, I hope you don’t forget to water yours!
Best wishes, Cat xx
Review copy? If you would like to review ‘Stay Calm and Content’ for your blog I would be very grateful. I am offering a free pdf copy to anyone who gets in touch via Twitter or my contact form. Here is the Amazon link with multiple 5* reviews
Guest blog? I can also offer guest blog posts on almost any personal or relationship dilemma. Please see my previously published articles on the main page of this website for more ideas. I would be very grateful for the opportunity to spread the word.
Relationship dilemma? Do get in touch if you have a relationship dilemma on your mind. I change all names and identifying details so that those who contact me remain anonymous.
“Dear Cat…my step-sister has just got engaged and has booked her wedding 4 weeks before mine. I have fallen out with my family over this and am so upset, angry, and embarrassed. My wedding has been planned for over a year and it feels like its been ruined. What do I do?”
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