I made it twelve days on my Facebook/G+ blackout. I would have made it longer, but I do see notifications pop-up on my phone. I did well ignoring status updates. What got me was the timing of an update from my best friend.
It’s a bit like getting a phone call from someone in the middle of the night – you know someone is either badly hurt or dying. Lyl is not a morning person. If she makes a status update at the crack of dawn, something is wrong. Being there for my best friend is more important than completely abstaining from social media. I logged into FB, read her post, and it confirmed what I’d already thought was going on. But rather than comment, I called her.
What You Say and How You Say It
When you call someone who’s just gone through a traumatic event, or who’s in an emotional crisis, sometimes the words just seem so empty. When you deliver these words live, whether on the phone or in person, it seems quite awkward. You never know if you are saying the right thing or if you’re really offering any comfort to the person. Online, though, we can stop and think about what we say. We can create a first draft, a second draft…when we have our final and hit send we’re hopefully more confident our words have been of some use. Sherry Turkle covers this quite nicely in her TED talk, “Alone Together“.
Adjusting the Dial Tone
Different people have different methods for dealing with that type of stress. For example, an extrovert would need “people time” in order to recharge and get out of the downward spiral. However, an introvert just needs “alone time”. This is where I can see an upside of FB and G+: It allows a nice balance for the two. People can communicate with each other and at the same time choose how much interaction they want on a daily basis.
What Did I Change?
I changed my awareness. I’ve “officially” been back since November 17, but I don’t check Facebook or G+ every day. I don’t think about them as a primary form of communication anymore. I suppose you could say I’m adjusting my own dial tone, and trying to bring a balance of communication into my life.