Ugh, social media.
I don’t mean really ugh – obviously it’s awesome to have places to meet and connect and share online.
This very blog is social media – people chat in the comments and that makes me really happy. I really, really love the whole concept of Twitter. And Instagram is so cute! I have fundamentally failed to understand the purpose of Tumblr, probably because I am over 25 and my eyes are already bad enough. And I wouldn’t touch Facebook with a barge pole (and yes, I do have an actual barge pole) – that shit ruins lives. Oh…and now we have Ello, too!
It’s all good fun I’m sure, but I reckon most people have something of a love-hate relationship with the social platforms they choose.
For me, the problem is about attention span.
I’m not on Twitter all the time, but as a freelancer who is regularly alone during the day, I often have it open in my browser just so I can chat from time to time. It’s my equivalent of bouncing an idea across the office or flicking paper balls at a colleague (Richard, I miss you man) and it’s a nice way to take a break.
But there are hundreds of thousands of posts which urgently need my attention and pictures of cats looking really hilariously superior and incredible discussions about race and gender and class, and small campaigns which need help, which I would never have found out about from, like, the radio. I don’t want to miss that stuff, so I check. And I check. More and more. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of something else.
If this Eight of Wands from the Kitty Kahane Tarot doesn’t represent social media overwhelm, I don’t know what does.
That’s where the problem lies. I can feel my work dipping in quality. That piece of writing I was doing trails off as I break my concentration to learn something really (really) important about Gaza. Then that nice email I was reading gets lost as a friend tweets me something funny. Argh. Business websites often tell you to ‘schedule in special time for your social media’ but honestly? Do people actually do this?? No thanks, I’m not a robot.
And don’t get me started on the numbers thing. The followers, the friends, the likes, the retweets, the favourites. And scheduled tweets and sponsored posts and, dear god, buying followers. Bleeeeuuugh.
Soooo I’m gonna make it stop.
Leave it all alone for a while. Not the blog (god no!) but the itty bitty tweeting and having-a-go-at-Elloing and the pics on Instagram and the bloody interruptions which have started to detract from rather than add to my day. I’ve cancelled that weird Tumblr I did nothing with. And after a month, or a year, maybe I’ll shut down the rest. I don’t know.
Where I’d previously have been checking Twitter over morning coffee, now, I’ll pull a card instead. (Duh!) Where I’d be clicking the links other people post, I’ll go out and find my own news, visiting the websites I love and respect instead instead of all that jumping from one link to the next. Where I might have skim-read six articles posted on Twitter, I’ll try to read one thing from start to finish (and it’s scary how sounds-simple-hard-to-do that has become, right?) Where I’d be wondering what’s new with Ello, I’ll just…like…not give a damn. Honestly though, who actually cares?
And when I’m working? I’ll just be working. For the sheer love of it. Or because it pays me. Ideally both.
I want my attention span back!
I want that depth of communication and of understanding that feels like it’s dissolving as I drown under ever increasing amounts of information, news, media. I want to know more about less, not less about more. I want fewer, more meaningful interactions.
I’ve made some really great connections via social media – some fun and fleeting, others which – hurrah! – have made it to email conversations. And I’m planning a big trip to the US to meet up with some of the gorgeous people who have reached out to me because of this blog. If you wanna talk tarot, hey, let’s *really* talk tarot. Like over a bottle of wine or something!
I want to talk properly.
When I send out my little email bits and bobs thingumy (which you can get here) I’m always amazed at how many people take the trouble to write back – to share something about their day or give me feedback on something new on my website or ask me a question about tarot.
And emailing is something I can (and do) schedule time for. I don’t stay on many email mailing lists for long (two shots and if you haven’t made me smile or think, you’re out) but Alexandra Franzen‘s simple roundups and helpful ideas are always welcome in my inbox. Because they’re short, sweet, and genuinely helpful.
She regularly talks about the joys of not answering emails immediately. Stopping the flow so you can deal with it when you want to. Switching off email when you’re working. Although her ideas are simple, when I read Alex’s words I think yes, yes yes, hallelujah, this woman speaks the truth!
I want to strip it all back.
Focusing my energy in just a few selected places, rather than scattering it everywhere. I remember how good it felt when I gave away *all of my stuff* in order to move aboard this tiny boat. I only kept the things I truly loved and needed. What a frickin’ relief that was.
I want to apply the same to my communications.
I don’t know many people who don’t have an email address – if you wanna connect with me, connect with me there. Make an effort , say hello properly. Join my bits and bobs list, or just drop me a line. Ask me a question about tarot, share your latest project, teach me something new, suggest a collaboration, tell me what you want to see on this blog, or link me up to yours.
And don’t expect an immediate reply because, you know, I’m probably concentrating 🙂
With that, I’m off to do a Very Important Thing.
PS Oh yeah – it’s firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.