The Power of Switching Off

Bred into a society where hours if not days are spent trolling business, news, celebrations, problems, arguments, relationships, employment and everything in between. When is it time to switch off?

Top rated social media sites 2017:Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, You Tube, Pinterest, Viber, QQ, Wechat, Qzone, Tumblr, Baidu Tieba, Skype, Sina Weibo, Line, YY.com, Vkontakte, Telegram, Reddit, Taringa, Foursquare, Renren, Tagged, Baddo, MySpace, Stumbleupon, TheDots, Kiwibox.com, Skyrock, Delicious, Snapfish, Reverbnation, Flixster, Care2, CafeMom, Ravelry, NextDoor, Wayn, Cellufun, Vine, Classmates, MyHeritage, Viadeo, Xing, Xanga, LiveJournal, Friendster, Funny or Die and more… The list goes on, and on, and on and on! 

Top rated social media sites in 1997:
Gone are the days of face-to-face conversation where you sit around the dinner table as a family and reminisce over the things that did happen, have happened or will happen. These enriching conversations just don’t happen, anymore. Being a Gen Y baby I grew up with many homes just like the generations before. Although I had my immediate family, I also knew our neighbours, our neighbours neighbours and most people within a 5km radius. Our time growing up was spent outdoors. 

Activities varied from bouncing on trampolines, rollerblading in the streets, horse riding, going to the park, having wheelie bin races down a hill, taking the dog for a walk or playing a street match of tennis, footy or cricket. Sometimes we’d even go for a swim in the neighbours pool! What ever it was, was done as a family. We use to know our neighbours and pop in for a cuppa tea on random afternoons. Now we either don’t know our neighbours or we text asking if they’re home but don’t get off our butts to see them. 

My first recount of technology was when we would sit at an IBM desktop computer while dial up internet made an extremely loud noise and took the time it takes to cook a meal, to connect. We were granted access to this device once in a blue moon. Probably because it took so long and no one really knew how to use it. My next encounter with technology was our home phone changing to cordless. I could now hide in my room and chat to friends rather than in the kitchen where everyone could ease drop. Next came the apple desktop computers with better screens (I was in grade 6) and easier control. Shortly after I had a Sony Ericsson flip phone (age 17) and soon to follow a Nokia 3310. Since then there has been an endless supply of technology changes run through my hands and those of my families. Here’s a rough timeline of major advances in the technology world from after I was born:

1983

* Microsoft Word software is launched.

1989

* Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau build the prototype system which became the World Wide Web at CERN. 

* WordPerfect 5.1 word processing software released.

1991

* Anders Olsson transmits solitary waves through an optical fiber with a data rate of 32 billion bits per second. 

* GSM is put into operation

1992

* Neil Papworth sends the first SMS (or text message). 

* Internet2 organisation is created.

* IBM ThinkPad 700C laptop computer created. It was lightweight compared to its predecessors.

1993

* Mosaic graphical web browser is launched.

1994

* Internet radio broadcasting is born.

1996

* Motorola StarTAC mobile phone introduced. It was significantly smaller than previous cellphones.

1997

* 45% of Australians have a mobile phone.

1998

* Lotus Notes software is launched.

1999

* Sirius satellite radio is introduced.

* Napster peer-to-peer file sharing is launched. 

2001

* First digital cinema transmission by satellite in Europe of a feature film by Bernard Pauchon and Philippe Binant.

2003

* MySpace is launched.

* Skype video calling software is launched.

2004

* What would become the largest social networking site in the world, Facebook is launched.

2005

* YouTube, the video sharing site, is launched.

2006

* Twitter, microblogging

Keeping in mind that the first form of social media networking was MySpace, and for me it was realised during my year twelve studies. I dabbled with the idea of social media in 2003. I created an account. I added about 12 friends and I deleted my account. It had played no significant role in my life at that time. Facebook being launched the year after, I still had no interest in social media as I never use to follow trends. Time had passed and early in 2008 a large number of my close friends and family were already engaged, I too decided to join the viral world of social media. Welcome to the platform! 

Having it’s pros, Facebook allowed me to connect with my family and friends back home without having to pick up the phone and have an hour long catch up conversation. At the time I lived 3783kms from home. I liked it but I didn’t really love it and I only occasionally used it to ‘check in’ or see photos as a follow up from our phone conversations. I was and still am the person who makes a phone call. 

Moving closer to home later in 2008, I got a new job, I met new people and soon after they wanted to become my ‘official friend’ on Facebook. Before I knew it, in 2011, going to university my friend list was out of control. Photographs became stories on news feeds and in 2014 friends no longer called or texted to ‘check in’. As a result of this, without restraint I culled many ‘friends’ and narrowed my list to top 100. The top 100 grew to top 1000. In 2016 I removed my friends from this networking platform again and maintained 350 virtual friendships until the beginning of 2017. 

2015-2016 I admit, I spent many hours scrolling news feeds comparing other girls to myself, other jobs to my own and reading useless information. I wasted copious amounts of time and it’s time I’ll never see again. My ‘friends’ and I starting posting photographs of what we were doing more regularly. And what for? To show the world of Facebook we look good, get outdoors, have friends and family, do fun things or, we were liked by many. It became a popularity vote. Something in which schools try to avoid. Although in a way it made us feel loved or needed knowing how many likes, shares or comments our photos or posts get. Just admit, you feel this too. 

I’ve been through stages with Facebook. At first I wasn’t really interested, then I liked it, then I thought I needed it, then I hated it. And now, I still hate it. Social media ruins lives. We aren’t living if we are constantly looking down, judging ourselves or other people, comparing relations, getting jealous of that mean girl that ‘likes’ or leaves a love heart on every post your boyfriend makes or if we have anxiety from fear of missing out. If you use it, use it wisely and be cautious knowing what it breeds inside you. 

Earlier this year I deleted my account. I didn’t deactivate it. I deleted it. 

* I was sick of receiving group messages from friends instead of a personal phone call or text

* I was sick of the arguments it caused between Bart and I

* I was sick of seeing that girl like every photo of his

* I was sick of comparing myself to people I don’t even know that well

* I was sick of being judged

* I was sick of hearing other people’s problems when I can’t even hear my own

* I was sick of him seeing posts from the past

* I was sick of wondering who he was talking to or looking at

* I was sick of feeling left out and lonely

* I was sick of sharing things on an artificial scale.

Since the deletion of my account, Facebook gave me 14 days to reconsider. During these days, I felt guilty for deleting my account, I felt like I should just keep it, I felt neglected, lonely and like I was missing out and I felt like I was mourning the death of my virtual friends. Perhaps I was. During the 14 day period, I relapsed. I logged back in on day 4 and, by doing so I had to wait a further 14 days for Facebook to remove all data and delete my account. This time I stayed strong. I still felt all I was feeling before. After the 14 days, realisation set it. I realised I no longer had an account and I tried to google how to get it back. After 3 days of realising it was never coming back, I came to terms with it. I finally accepted my Facebookless life was here to stay. And in that moment a weight was lifted off my mind… I couldn’t be happier. I can breathe again where the air is clean.

Was I addicted?? Probably and you might be too. My moods are better and I have one less worry in the world. 

Is it time you switched off too?

Please watch and share this video with your friends: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY

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