4.28.2012

Real Chat: Over Socialed


Good morning friends:) This week I was close to quitting twitter. No particular reason other than the fact that I was feeling tired of all the distractions. Some days, I don't want to be seen or heard, I just want to be...and enjoy being. You might find this surprising since I am a blogger, and my line of work involves a good deal of social media and the internet. However, sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing. We can consume to much of what we enjoy and feel the effects afterwards. What happens if you don't realize you are consuming too much? What if there are no obvious after effects? Read on, and leave your thoughts!


The unthinkable happened at a friend's wedding last month. As the groom was asked to confirm his desire to accept the bride as his lawfully wedded wife, he held up his hand, as if to say "wait a minute." The audible gasps among the attendees turned to relieved chuckles as he pulled out his iPhone in the middle of the vows. He was tweeting, "I Do," to his hundred or so followers.
At a coffee catch-up yesterday, the person I met with was too busy typing meeting minutes in Google Docs to actually have a face-to-face conversation with me. Even after I received his play-by-play account of our meeting via email, I left feeling as if we wasted time and never went deep enough to discuss specific, critical issues.
On New Year's Eve last year, as thousands of people counted down from ten to one, I looked across the Sydney Harbor foreshore. I was shocked that most revelers were taking photos of the fireworks instead of actually watching them.
....Are we entering an age where capturing the highlights of our lives has taken precedence over actually enjoying those very same moments? The problem is, we must choose between capturing these moments or viscerally experiencing them as they unfold.
You will want to read this full post by Daniel Galati. He points to the elephant in the room of what our culture is experiencing....an overdose of social media. There is of course a way to keep things balanced, and if done so, it can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, or network for your business. Every person has a different level of involvement. For instance, my mother - zero. If you want to talk to her, you give her a call or email her. My sister Angela takes a break from facebook every summer to invest in her friendships in person, and to enjoy life with no distractions. Sometimes, we need to step away to actually know how much it is a part of our lives. If you have time, read Kate Gabrielle's post on her clean break from social media and her results.

(source via Bonnie Tsang)
So tell me, what are your thoughts on this? How do you balance the time you spend on social media?
Ultimately, its always a good challenge to ourselves is to take time to make a phone call, visit a friend, or even email someone you love. Invest more time in experiencing real life:)

46 comments:

  1. this is a great reminder. i've been reflecting a lot on this subject lately. even though i'm not on instagram, twitter, or pinterest, and we don't use smart phones, it's still so easy to lose track of time once you open up your computer. for this reason, i keep my laptop in another room whenever my son's awake b/c i don't want to be tempted to check my email "real quick." he should never have to compete with a computer for my attention! :)

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  2. anna- this is so weird for me, i actually deleted both my facebook page and my twitter about ten minutes ago! i've been feeling like this so much lately! not only within my own life, but having trouble keeping straight everyone else's life as well. it's just all too much. i love reading a handful of blogs, so i will continue to do so, and i love pinterest, and instagram because i am a visual person. but the rest is not necessary for the betterment of my life. i feel like more people are feeling this way. anyway- i just wanted to let you know, you are not alone!!

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  3. anna, I could not agree more. I just got an iphone yesterday and am already feeling the worry of becoming one of 'those' people - the ones who have their lives in their phones. sometimes I want it all gone. tv, computer, phone. i want the real stuff: letters, face-to-face, parties and hangouts, not the virtual emails, face-time, and shows. we were created for so much more and when are we going to live that if our faces are thrust into a screen half our lives? it is definitely something to think about. are we better off with it all? you go girl. your posts are always so simply and beautifully stated. thank you for that!

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  4. Hi,Anna, I totally relate to this too & since I blog full time, I'm on the computer constantly. I do try to take lots of breaks and get outside and do something. For that reason, I don't have an i-phone. I know I'd be addicted to it too. Maybe one day I'll cave.

    So nice to meet you at dinner last night. Your blog is so pretty, as you are too! I'm enjoying getting to know some of the other bloggers in ATL.

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  5. I love this. It's something I struggle with for sure as I think about how to make blogging a bigger part of my life...how do I really want to do that and why? What will be the effects on my "real" life and relationships? It's a tough balance for sure. I was thinking about this just the other day...how much the internet has consumed our lives since instant messaging and facebook came out when I was in college. Before that, it was xanga! But back in high school, I actually called people on my phone...something I rarely do today.

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  6. hey thank you for sharing your thoughts! I completely agree with everything you said. There is really just too much of it in this world. I struggle with taking pictures instead of just being where I am so I have to make a conscience effort to just enjoy the moment before it is gone and I missed it!

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  7. I love that you posted about this, because I have struggled with the same thoughts many times before. After giving it much thought, I decided a couple years ago that to me, Facebook represented the apotheosis of social media overload haha. I was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of people being in your life who, well, aren't actually in your life. And other people who aren't close to you being able to see the intimate details of your life. And the whole photo aspect- people living only to take pictures to post on Facebook- it drove me nuts.
    I literally started to feel so much better on the whole after I broke up with Facebook, and have continued to feel that this stressful thing has been removed from my life since leaving.
    I also started having this transformation in how I lived my life-- not just to take a picture to post on Facebook, but just because I'm in the moment, enjoying the gathering with friends, soaking up the beautiful scene.
    I think what you said is right on, you have to find a balance, and you have to decipher which social media formats feel right for you to participate in, as there is now such a plethora to choose from.

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  8. Last summer I spent a few days in Bermuda for my sister's wedding. Her mother-in-law and I went kayaking and talked about how great it would be if we would have brought our cameras. Then we both just stopped, leaned back and let ourselves float in an abandoned lagoon and realized that these are images that will never leave our mind. Photos are nice, but memories are better.

    I'm still working through balancing the social media aspect. My biggest struggle is just like the photos... so often on social media we aren't real. We are simply who we want to be. We don't post Facebook photos of us first thing in the morning or talk about real struggles we have in life. There's nothing wrong with this, somethings should be kept private. It just causes everyone to constantly be striving to be happier, to be more perfect than the next person.
    Oh I could ramble on about it for a while... I'll stop for now. ;)

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  9. Anna,

    I really loved this post and it came at a great time. As a blogger, I am ALWAYS taking photos, tweeting, updating where I am or what I'm doing. My Boyfriend (who is European, I throw that in due to a big cultural difference in our perception of what is "oversharing" and the role of social media in today's world) never understands this. Then something happened.

    Last month, we had the privilege to watch Paul McCartney in concert. We are both really old souls at heart so snagging tickets was a real treat. During the concert, we got into a little argument because he was sooo annoyed of my incessant picture taking and tweeting throughout the concert. I argued, he simply didn't understand me. And he argued, I could never get off the internet to appreciate the moment.

    Fast forward to Michael Buble concert last night, (a surprise anniversary present), I remembered our terrible argument and decided to not update or photograph anything during the show. What eneded up happening? We slow danced to our favorite songs, sang along to all the words, and never stopped laughing/kissing all night.

    It was an incredible time, and even though I didn't have any pictures, a part of me thinks that I probably would not have had the same experience if I were tweeting from my iPhone "OMG I love this song!" all night.

    In short, I think we all need to unplug and REALLY connect.

    xoxo

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  10. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. My fiance is a huge hater of people who take photos of things instead of enjoying them, and when I posed the question of having a videographer at our wedding, asked me "Do you really wants to spend the most important day of our lives worrying about your best angle?" ... He's right of course. Why do we spend so many of our amazing moments missing out on what's going on, preferring instead to pose?

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  11. I've been working to try to find some balance, too. I never signed up for twitter because I know it would be just another time-sucker, and even though I have facebook, I find myself posting less and less. I really want an iPhone, but sometimes I'm really glad I don't have one, so I don't have the temptation to be on it all the time. Like Laura, I've been thinking of moving my computer to a different room so I'm on it less and really think about it every time I go to it.

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  12. i am quite passionate on this topic. i myself was addicted to social media, namely facebook. until the day that it ran my life more than i did. i decided to go from being constantly on it one minute, to deleting it the next. i couldn't take it any longer! i had to go cold turkey. i posted about it here: http://delightfulbybridget.blogspot.com/2011/11/bye-bye-facebook.html
    it highlights similar issues that you mentioned in this post.

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  13. I can definitely relate to this as well. It's a funny thing because I love being connected yet sometimes I set expectations on how involved I need to be and then it can become overwhelming. I try to set a good balance by disconnecting at a certain hour each night and reminding myself that I don't have to update, post, take a picture at every moment. Sometimes I intentionally leave my camera at home; it's also a good way to get inspired. Love this series Anna! It's so refreshing to hear others thoughts on the topic. x

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  14. I was having similar thoughts in my head about two weeks ago. I am in a fb group that was taking up way too much of my time. I try to use twitter & instagram only once a day. Pinterest twice a week. It's helped calm down the chaos.

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  15. This is when I deleted Facebook.
    http://maryinmarriedland.blogspot.com/2011/10/life-without-facebook.html

    After reading this I just deleted my Tumblr photo blog and Pinterest. I think Twitter is the last thing I have left to rid myself of!

    I'm keeping my blog, instagram, and flickr =)

    Thank you so much for sharing. I completely understand this all too well.

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  16. This is so true Anna! My husband is a social media fanatic and has two phones all the time (his blackberry is for work) . We make it a rule not to pick up the phone during meals an definitely set aside times when we are both engrossed in our phones/computers and times when we can spend time together and enjoy ourselves. I don't tweet/Facebook as much as other people but do try to balance it! Have a lovely weekend dear!

    Xoxo,
    <a href="http://chicncheapliving.blogspot.com>Chic 'n Cheap Living</a>

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  17. I have been feeling a little social media burn out. I need a break.
    I just want one day where I leave my phone at home and turn off the computer and spend the day with my husband and son with no interruptions :)

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  18. I'm with you in these concerns. I definitely think we're spending too much time online, too much tweeting, instagramming, updating, scrolling, blogging.

    I also get frustrated at concerts by the number of people who aren't watching the band, but rather recording the performance on their iPhones.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

    xoxo
    ~Natasha Fatah~

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  19. I haven't been a fan of Facebook, twitter and such for those reasons. I know many find them quite useful for business purposes however, but I do believe they can be a major distraction as well. Call me old school, but I prefer face to face conversations. It was great getting to meet up with everyone last night! I look forward to reading more of your blog.

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  20. Really interesting post. I recently stopped using my personal Facebook page because I felt like that is the ONLY way I was communicating with my friends, and I hated that! I've started writing letters to friends and using the phone a lot more often, just because I feel like people are becoming awkward from only texting and talking online. A lot of kids in school have a difficult time communicating in person now because we're so used to texting. I don't know... I'm just rambling....
    xo Heather
    http://ahopelessnotebook.blogspot.com/

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  21. oh girl. you know how i feel already. its getting quite dangerous and only leading to more loneliness which cause humanity to make bad choices. we deactivated facebook, deleted twitter, and got off instagram. whoa. it actually wasnt hard and has been so fun. instead of connecting via internet to communicate, we play games, do projects around the house, and play with our son. imagine that! great post.

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  22. is it a bad sign if your are taking a picture of your four year old and she says, "is this for facebook or the blog?" yes, could be. I try to do technology "black out" days once a week... just to let my mind (and my family) rest. thanks for these thoughts!

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  23. Eeeeenteresting. You know, I love social media just as much as the next girl. But sometimes it gets to be so much. There are many weekends that go by where I don't even glance at Twitter or Facebook, and I feel like that's ok. I don't need to know everything. Sometimes we just need to disconnect.

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  24. anna, yes. i totally feel this struggle. i HATE social media, but feel so intertwined to it that i can't imagine how to break away. especially with living overseas... for lent, i gave up looking at certain peoples facebook pages that annoyed me or got me riled up. it saved me so much mental time of being distracted by random people. :)

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  25. I think most people who use social media on a regular basis are pretty over-involved. I check my email too much, but I make it a point not to check Facebook or Twitter everyday as one of the ways I manage the amount of time on social media. I also don't tweet or post every detail of my life on purpose because I feel like I miss the moment if I'm not fully there.

    Good post!

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  26. i completely agree with you! i think we all are in need of a reminder every now and again to refocus our lives on what is truly important. love this post. love the blog!

    jess

    swensonlove.blogspot.com

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  27. wow, i can't believe about the groom tweeting his I do's! we are way overboard with the social media-- and how many social media outles do we really need? Twitter, facebook, instagram, tumblr, a blog, etc... whew. I am exhausted thinking about it!

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  28. This is a wonderful post that I can completely relate to. I can't seem to stop at a red light these days without looking at my phone. So sad! I need to start making more of an effort to tap into life because I know for a fact that I am missing precious moments.

    It was so lovely to meet you last night! I hope we can meet again soon!

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  29. If a blog isn't your primary source of income, then I really don't think there's a need to be connected all of the time. I've started just taking snapshots on my phone to upload to Instagram later. It takes too much time to apply filters and post when you're supposed to be enjoying the moment and the people you're with.

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  30. Wow I have goosebumps! I'm definitely guilty of overdoing it with SM, but I always excuse it by the fact that I make a living rom it. I definitely need to put the phone down more...

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  31. Dear Anna, this touches on something so important, and something we - especially as bloggers, designers and media people, have to deal with every day. We have to have magic powers really to do all that is expected of us (also by ourselves ;)) and still LIVE, be open and present to the moment as things unfold. i always wish i had a double day for social media and always feel the twist: i love comunicating with my friends this was, but i COULD be craetive righjt now ...

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  32. It's incredible that you write about this now actually. On saturday was my little brothers baseball game and we left so fast I forgot my iPhone or camera. So we leave and as we're watching family friends of ours came over. Their children has a sudden need to sit with my sister and I, on our laps, and hastily. It was the cutest thing and Sarah and I were so happy. I realized I wanted to take a picture of this situation then when I realized I couldn't I actually sat there and was able to let this settle in. I've decided I'm going to not bring electronics way more often!

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  33. I think it also helps remembering- you own these things, they don't own you. Use it to how you feel but when you feel sucked in, it's time for a detachment.

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  34. even before all this social media stuff was even a glimmer in someone's eyes I would think that way about me and my (old) camera. Like if I'm too busy taking pictures, am I really enjoying the moment? Now I tend to rely on that social stuff as something to do when I'm bored, like between commercials, stuck in a line or a waiting room. And when no one is around, it's become a part of my morning coffee ritual.

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  35. To be honest I have to thank social media for allowing me to make good connections with people but, you got to find a balance. It's sad to see how people spend soooo much time just documenting every single minute of their lives when life is just happening in front of them! I mean, look around, enjoy your surroundings, take it all in! Of course I do enjoy when people share about their lives, about what they are thinking, and so on, a lot of times you can relate, and sometimes even be inspired, but there's got to be a balance. I think social media is good, as long as you know how to balance it. I'm on twitter but I'm not an avid user, ok, mostly because of current situation (stranded island, no wifi, etc etc). But I wouldn't have time to tweet all day long if my situation was different. I do have a facebook page but I just update my blog posts, that's it. I don't even spend much time on facebook for my personal life. And I do pin images to my pinterest but 90% of the times I don't have time to log on to pinterest just to browse so I really don't follow many people on it.
    Sometimes I think it's very rude to be talking to people who are on their phones tweeting or whatever at the same time, I mean, really? No manners? All for social media?
    Great post Anna, I could go on and on about this subject!

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  36. This is such a hard subject...I know that personally, I haven't opened a FB account or really done anything with my Twitter account for my blog (despite MUCH advice saying that is a mistake) because I just feel like it's too much! Heck, in the last little while, I have really cut down my visiting blogs/commenting because I found I was shortchanging my family with all the time that was being spent on it. I'm SO MUCH HAPPIER! For me, there just has to be balance.

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  37. This story about the groom tweeting...this has to be made up...right?
    I am officially horrified.

    Social media is a huge distraction and needs to be kept in check in relationships.

    Is that you in the photo w/ the blackberry? Who makes your amazing black jacket?

    xx
    The Fashionable ESQ
    http://www.thefashionableesq.blogspot.com/

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  38. Oh Anna...I feel the exact same way and really do feel like social media can take over your life and distract you from real life. I have a hard time shutting it off and for that reason I have decided to post less on my blog...and I am learning that is okay. I do no need to comment on every single blog I follow or need to know what every single person on twitter is doing. Focusing on real life is so much more important. Such a great post!

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  39. Hmmmm... This is going to make me sound like a monster, but I think the groom tweeting thing is kinda cute.
    I actually love the connectedness of our lives- but then again, I don't get many opportunities to be face to face with my friends and family. The only hard part for me is finding the balance between digital and in-person with my husband. But, in most ways it's worth getting to interact with people in ways I normally wouldn't.

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  40. Hi Anna, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  41. Great Post! I definitely have an addiction to technology, I don't think I over do my social media but I have found myself taking photos or texting at inappropriate times. Thankfully my husband participates in ZERO social media so he keeps me in check all the time and reminds me it's time to turn off.

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  42. SUCH a key reminder... I am so guilty of all this...Its easy to fall into the trap. xoxo

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  43. I really loved this post and this is something I think about and struggle with often. I am torn between being a blogger and updated people on what's going on and feeling the pressure that if I don't I'll lose followers, let people down, etc. But then I realize... Who really cares? It's one of the reasons I am phasing out sponsors on my blog. Luckily it's not my source of income, so I can do that. I just felt like having sponsors was putting pressure on me to post even when I wasn't feeling up to it - or was too busy just enjoying life to update people on how I was enjoying it. It was sort of taking the fun out of blogging. I am heading over to read the other articles/posts you linked to! Thanks for sharing them and your thoughts - totally with you!!

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  44. Technology is fantastic but must be used with guidelines and common sense so that we don't end up less connected with the people who matter most. I have an article on this very topic coming in the next issue of House of Fifty! Great post, I enjoyed and reading the comments. Janell

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  45. ugh, couldn't agree more. My family was sitting on opposite ends of the couch, all 4 on their iphones. No one looking at each other or talking, even though we only see each other a few times a year. RIDICULOUS!

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  46. Yes... there is for sure an overdose of social media. it consumes us!!! It had gotten so bad for me that I had to take the apps off my phone and even tell myself that after work I was not allowed on them. I needed a break. To do something else other then sit with my phone or laptop at my face. But then again, I love social media.

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Love hearing from each of you. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! <3

 
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