Reclaiming Our (Real) Lives From Social Media

Photo credit:The New York Times

Nick Bilton, a columnist and reporter for The New York Times began thinking about how much time he was devoting each day to social media. He writes that what started out as “exciting and novel” began to take over his life and “consume every hour of my day.” So he asked himself: “At the end of the day, what do I have to show for it? Am I more enriched as a human being after a couple of hours spent on Facebook? More fulfilled from Pinterest? A deeper person from Instagram?”

For Bilton, overdoing the amount of time he spent on these sites “started to feel like a waste of time.”
He says he thought about how Ernest Hemingway ended up writing the first chapter of his book, “A Movable Feast” back in the 1920’s and wondered would that book have ever been written in today’s social media climate. Back then, he says Hemingway ran into a Paris Cafe to ride out a storm. He sat there with only pen and paper in hand beginning what would become his memoir.

So Bilton began what he describes as a small social experiment on himself: “Rather than wake up in the morning and get lost on social media for an hour or more, I’ve started spending the early hours of my mornings reading a book. The experiment seems to be working. So far, I feel so much more fulfilled and that my days belong to me again. I’ve given up chasing dangling digital carrots.”

By the way, one of the books he’s reading this week is Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast. Bilton concludes his column by writing: “And even if I spend the rest of my day on social media, I still feel as if I’ve done something enriching.”

How concerned are you that the amount of time that you’re spending online is at some point not just adding to your life, but taking away from time that could be spent on other productive pursuits–whether that’s reading, writing, reflecting, being with family and friends, beginning a new venture or hobby or whatever you’ve been dreaming about doing?

The New York Times, 7/16/14

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