I posed this question to myself just now after reading some articles online about how the Internet nearly broke some of us this year, and how many have suffered in their offline lives at the mercy of their online lives.
I often think back to the days where when we went home from school, or home from work on a Friday, that we were well and truly home, and were fully present in our environment there. There was nothing lingering that could get at us during our time away from such commitments, there was only what was going on right in front of our eyes.
I personally don’t feel like 2016 was the worst year ever, like so many are saying, sure, there were some events that rocked the globe, but there have always been events going on that do so, and there more than likely will be into the future.
What I did notice and feel however, was how much most peoples online presence ramped up. I liken it to almost a shift from the pity posts on Social Media where one would post a cryptic status or picture, often reaching out to others. From a lot of experience in working with people who are bullied online, or feel the online world to be their only world, it can also often be a quest for validation.
Those days of the pity statuses seemed to drop off this year to make way for the robust, hate and anger fuelled tirades that we have allowed into our Newsfeeds so willingly. We, as people welcomed online hate and blatant rants with open arms, and at the same time would bang on about how online bullying is terrible and hurts so many, the hypocrisy of the human being that only few are aware of, or willing to admit.
If you take the time to look at the comments section on any Social Media post, picture, or video online, you would notice that many of these posts are followed by a mecca of negativity in the comments. There was a time where these comments were really only directed at the originator of the post. But it would seem there has been a shift in that the hate and slagging off is now directed at other people commenting on the said post. It is a virtual representation of going for the throat, people are vicious, and choose not to discuss an issue objectively, but attack ones character straight away.
In what world is that acceptable?
It’s really shitty behaviour.
As I write I am well aware that there could be people who read this and go straight for my throat in the comments, and then for another’s when they put fourth their view, and I almost can’t wait for the hypocrisy of human behaviours to unfold.
But now that I have written this here above, it probably won’t happen, and if it does not, I hope that it would be because the reader who intended to go for my throat grew some self awareness and moved on with their life. Because that is actually possible should you see anything during the course of your day that you do not agree with, I read about it online, and didn’t comment, I just ‘liked’ it, and moved on with my day.
Getting back to the question I posed myself, and you, at the beginning, as I have gotten a bit off track with that gust of wind that blew in just now.
Just how accessible do you want to be in your life?
How many Social Media platforms do you have?
How many unwanted contact requests do you receive a day?
How does this make you feel?
Are you truly in the drivers seat of your own life and are you shaping your own world, be that the online, or the offline world? Because how you behave in one world, leaks into the other, and vice versa.
How is your offline life going?
Are any relationships suffering because of your endless scrolling?
Have you taken the time out to take any notice?
How is your relationship with the most important person in your life? That being you of course…
Reflect on the above questions and be ruthless with yourself.
I’ll finish with this.
In my opinion, we as humans have allowed the digital world to explode too hard and fast, and for a while, it was quite shiny and addictive, but we are nearing the end of our addiction and need to start searching for rehab facilities.
You will be shocked to learn that there are already such facilities in existence, these are:
Face to Face conversations with actual human beings in the same vicinity
You will also be shocked to learn that you can participate in all of the above activities and visit all of the above locations, without your phone, and without an Internet connection, which will come as a shock to the girl I saw walking along the esplanade during a sunset while googling a picture of a sunset (this actually happened – no word of a lie).
All I ask of you today is to think, think about how accessible you are in your life right now, how accessible you wish to be, and whether or not these two align.
If they match up, great, if not, time to make some changes, or don’t, but don’t expect any validation from me online when it all gets too much, given that there is a wealth of information out there, this today included, offering you suggestions of how to keep your farm calm, and off the Internet.