What I learnt from my Lent-inspired social media cleanse

HEY Lori here, so if you know me as Lorraine, you’ll maybe remember something I put on Facebook and Twitter about a social media cleanse not that long ago.. and I’m basically writing this post to explain (in case you were wondering) what exactly happened with this, with a possible (okay, definite) rant about social media in general.. Forgetting the irony that I’m using social media in order to communicate this, I’ll get the ball rolling.

Let’s start by talking about Lent – the main initiator in this, somewhat pointless, decision of mine. Growing up, I understood Lent as something that ‘we’ do 40 days before Easter – something about giving up something you love (ie, chocolate) as a sacrifice to kinda mimic Jesus’s sacrifice in the way he died for us on the cross. Then on the day he rose again, Easter Sunday/Monday? – you could then stuff your face with chocolate to celebrate Jesus coming back to life and giving us the life as we know it. Now this was probably to do with the fact having Roman Catholicism and also New Apostolicism (if that’s even a term) in the family. Though, apart from going to church on some Sundays with my Mum and Nanny when I was litle, and at Easter and Christmas Eve, trips to the church over the years just became less of a thing, with it just being the odd family wedding and christening – and then I read the Da Vinchi Code and watched a documentary called Zeitgeist and made a personal realisation that all religions literally stem from the natural occurences of the Earth: the seasons, the sun, the moon etc.. (more on this another time perhaps)

So as Lent arrived and I heard of friends giving up chocolate (more as a tradition than anything), I read a little bit into the origins of Easter and I won’t bore you but I read a tweet later that week that said something like “everyone buying chocolate eggs this Easter and we’re all basically celebrating pagans having sex” – and they actually weren’t far off. (Think fertility and rebirth) ANYWAY, this like most of my posts, ends up with me digressing on something that I only just wanted to mention. Back to Lent..

So realising you can interpret Easter (and Lent) any way you want it to, I decided to go along the idea of self-renewal in time for Spring – and decided to give up something that I had been concerned was taking up much of our life – our lives, as a ‘cleanse’, if you will. This is how it went.

First off, I was feeling pretty good – not gonna lie. I was like YES I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS, I’M GOING TO PROVE TO MYSELF THAT I DONT NEED FACEBOOK OR TWITTER. Plus, it’s only 40 days, which is just over a month. All was going well over the weekend until I had to use Twitter and Facebook at work on the Monday. Now although I genuinely didn’t look at my pages/account, I was surrounded by the information overload that comes when you encounter any sort of ‘feed’. Which was EXACTLY what I wanted to avoid.

Then, my ASOS next day delivery order arrived for the next weekend and I was so disappinted to find that IT HAD COME IN THE WRONG SIZE. Not only that, it was out of stock. Since I was using Twitter all week anyway at work, I managed to justify creating a separate account to say to ASOS how unacceptable this was. (FYI – I expressed my disappointment and was given a refund and a 10% off voucher). Result. Or not, seeing as I had pretty much gone against the whole ‘no social media thing outside of work’.

Somewhat annoyed in myself, I continued to despair the following week as I couldn’t look at any photos of a beautiful hen afternoon tea that happened (turns out looking at other people’s Facebooks does ACTUALLY count), and not only that, it genuinely got to a point that it was making me miserable. I basically felt like I was getting all the sh*t that comes with social media, in terms of opionions everywhere and information, retweets and shares at work, and then completely isolating myself from all the social interactions and keeping in the loop with all the friendship circles at home. After a conversation with a wise friend about how I’d just eaten a load of kale for the first time, which resulted in an upset stomach the following day, we agreed that the answer to most things these days is to keep things in moderation. And social media is no different.

I remember at IT A-Level (what on earth was I thinking?!) in about 2007, we learnt all about the ‘Information Age’ and how the world was going through some sort of transformation in that broadband had not long come out and a lot more things were being done online – mostly shopping – and omg I’ve just realised how old I sound. Anyway, the point is, looking back, I see my teacher had a point. Since then, our lives are literally CONSUMED by online information and social media. So then I figured, instead of letting it get to the state where you feel you need to remove yourself from it completely (which is impossible, trust me – unless perhaps you go to an abandoned island, which actually does sound very appealing right now) it is maybe best to just embrace it, and use it for all it’s worth.

Here’s what I concluded about social media:

  • If you work in the ‘creative’ industries – or any industry for that matter – you will NEVER escape it. Whatever your area of expertise – in any industry – there will be one element of that which has been around since the beginning – Marketing. You even get jobs now, SPECIFICALLY for marketing the company/products using social media platforms. (and hey, if it means it’s creating more jobs for us, who are we to turn our noses up?)
  • Whether we realise it or not, we use social media to actually market ourselves. From my (now years old) business knowledge, marketing is basically creating brand awareness and acts as a line of communication between a company and the consumer (without all getting too text-book heavy). We’re basically that brand, and for some reason feel the need to ‘market’ ourselves to consumers, ie everyone, to justify our natural existence. WHY? When I work that out I’ll let you know.
  • Snapchat and anything resembling a ‘story’ is HORRENDOUS. I literally heard on the radio today that Serena Williams accidentaly announced she was pregnant using snapchat by adding a photo + caption to her story, instead of saving it to her phone like she thought. (According to Radio 1) Never mind the fact that it makes people overly aware of how interesting they should come across, by comparing their story to others (and don’t get me started on ‘celebrity’ kids). Okay so I used my Instagram story to film baby chicks the other weekend (only because I was testing out time lapse and didn’t want a permant chick video on my Instagram – first world problem right there) DELETE snapchat (at least) and just do the whole ‘enjoy the moment’ thing. Seriously though.
  • Social media replaces real life socialising. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mum so engaged in anything than when she’s on her laptop trawling Facebook. I literally lost my sh*t the other evening when there was nothing to watch on normal channels, Netflix wasn’t working on the TV and then I couldn’t play our programme on my laptop either – all the while my mum was entertaining herself with Facebook.  “What happened to just talking underneath the stars?” I demanded. (Okay that’s a bit extreme, and it’s REALLY not the weather for social star-gazing yet – but you get the idea hopfully). Chilling and just chatting with a drink is something that maybe some families aren’t doing as much because of SOCIAL MEDIA (and TV).
  • We can use this abundance of information to our advantage. Honestly there’s so much information publicly available on the internet if you dig deep enough (and use your own brain to peice things together), you can find out all sorts of things – and even develop your own conspiracy theories, of course. (Or just use it to look up how to cook a sweet potato in the least amount of time – up to you). Seriously people – the information is there – save yourself time and USE IT.
  • I’ll draw to a close by something a tad horrific. I was LOVING watching these ‘live feeds’ – especially when Shay off Pretty Little Liars ACTUALLY REPLIED TO MY COMMENT during a discussion-type thing with her fans. But it turns out, people are starting to use live feeds on social media platforms to document horrific crimes – like suicide and murder, which obviously IS NOT okay. Especially since the filters put in place allow these things to remain there for nearly 24 hours. So until the people in charge find a way to stop live streams being used in this way, I’m gonna be a definite ‘againt’ live feeds (and wait for the petitions..).

So there you go! Sorry – as I’m trying to adjust the contact lens that’s just decided to get lost under my eye lid, I’m genuinely trying to think of a way to end this on a happier note – OH YES. I don’t normally write this like a diary but I FINALLY watched Beauty and the Beast last week, and I have to say, it was one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. – and can we take a moment to talk about Emma Watson’s own feminist attitudes she portrayed through Belle?? – So, I guess you could say that social media is a way to keep up with your favourite actors and celebrities and hey – if Cara Delevigne accidentally leaks her proposal to Kendall, you’ll be the first to know! 😉

Until next time,

Lori.

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