Social media retreat

Whatever happened to diaries? You know, those notebooks with locks we had as children where we wrote down our secrets or a summary of our day? We heartily guarded those books with hidden keys. Even a best friend was lucky if they could get a glance into those writings.

In the recent Internet era, we seem to have this incessant need to share. Many people who are privileged enough to have access to the net and all its information have dived right into this world culture of tweeting their every thought on justice and oppression, updating their status to show uproar or affection towards their partner, instagramming their food or outfit of the day and pinning their ideal homes and recipes.  

There is ample valuable or just interesting information that is distributed but the urge to share so much even to complete strangers intrigues me.

 I recently read an article about how people with access to the Internet generally regard themselves as smarter as those without this technological advantage. 

We have come to believe that because Google has the information available for us, this automatically translates into us being cleverer. 

Does this create the niche in which we feel others should know what we know? I got a book by Ha-Joon Chang where he breaks down how the washing machine and other household appliances have had a more revolutionary impact on mankind than the Internet. 

This book came a week after someone asked me what the one human invention  (besides the wheel and sliced bread) is that I could not live without. My answer was the washing machine.

 These reflections took place when I was on holiday for about a month with little to no desire to spend my time online.

 I travelled and hung out with people physically, read books and had great conversations and interactions. 

It was nice to be able to say “f*** that b****” without having a feminist show you the  5 ways of your male-controlled thinking, which of course renders you a disappointing feminist because your anger towards a woman resulted in your use of patriarchal construed words of expression. 

It felt good to chuckle at the wrath towards Trevor Noah for old Jewish jokes without being told that your disregard for Zionism is the manifestation of your mental oppression of Jews. 

It just felt wholesome that there was no one I wanted to share online with because I was enjoying, breathing and living with the people that I was actually spending time with. I even watched less series and consequently had even less to share with people whose relevance relies on what is currently hip and happening.

 My great love for books was also unravelled again. I wondered why I had at least a dozen books on my nightstand that have not been read. I kept buying books because I know I love them and reading. 

Then I watched them pile up as I updated my Facebook status or poured my heart out on Tumblr.

 I have started reading again, turning pages and loving the world in which I can make up my mind on topics without the bombardment of instant opinions on every event happening somewhere.

 I am starting to hear my voice again before I look at what others purge onto my timeline.

 And in between the books and the actual laughter I heard during dinners and the people I interacted with where it was okay to say, “I do not know and right now I do not care,” I found a space to recollect my atoms.

 I found a spot where I could be happy or hurt and both mattered or did not, but did not need to be analyzed by hundreds or thousands of followers. 

 And yet here I am still sharing this, telling myself that this is a bit different.  

Here I experienced, I thought, I wondered, I collected and swirled the thoughts around my head and then let them out coherently. 

Some people may be able to do all this in 140 characters all the time. I have found that I do not want to do that all the time.

Every once in a while I need time out from knowing who broke up with whom and over whom.  Every once in a while it is acceptable for me to not see dying brown and black bodies. 

Sometimes it is satisfactory to not know what Kanye West or Benjamin Netanyahu is saying. 

Often it is okay to spend time with books or myself or with those that care for my emotional wellbeing as much as for my intellectual reasoning.  And then it is also okay to write this article after having had enough time with myself to adjust my inner compass.

June 2015
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