Well, I took a small vacation from social media.
I didn’t blog, or read blogs.
I didn’t post on Facebook.
I didn’t post on Twitter.
And you know what? The sun still came up every morning (well, here in Alaska the sun comes up very, very late in the morning). The sun still set each afternoon. The world still revolved.
In essence, no one really noticed. I didn’t get any messages or texts from anyone saying, “Cinthia, why aren’t you posting on Facebook?”
Because, when you think of it, we are all pretty insignificant when it comes to social media. Oh, the very act of posting makes us think we are important, and a vital part of the online community. But the truth is that if we quit posting people may wonder, briefly, why we’ve been absent. But then they simply move over to the next post, the next photograph, the next popular video, etc.
I found this all to be liberating as hell. Because, I don’t have to post. I don’t have to write. I basically don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to contribute to the constant online chatter that keeps me informed on such very important things as what people are eating for breakfast or the moose in the middle of the road on their drive home or the snow piling up in their driveway.
There are moose in our yard, snow in our driveway. I don’t need to see more.
But of course I do and will see more. It’s a bit impossible to quit social media altogether, though I am now limiting myself to checking Facebook once a day and Twitter twice (we’ll see how long that lasts, eh?). What bothers me, though, is how easy it is to get sucked inside this very false world with oh-so-many unusually bright and cheerful and perfect photos of oh-so-many bright and cheerful and perfect moments. It’s easy to forget that those photos are simply blinks in time and that real life, and I mean truthful and honest life, is messy and scattered and clumsy and isn’t confined to one moment, one photograph. Real life is the photographs you don’t share, the ones where you have zits or your mouth is hanging open or the dog is licking her butt. That’s real life, and I prefer it over the shiny and false photos I too often find littering my Facebook and Twitter feed.
Still, I wish I could say that during my short vacation away from social media I was visited with a profound epiphany or moved closer to understanding the meaning of life or wrote a poem so perfect that I wept, but alas, I did none of those things.
Oh, I wrote. I finished up a poem and send work out to twelve different literary magazines, I dabbled in an essay that refuses to end (it just goes on and on again) and I worked on a freelance piece about sled dogs, which was pretty cool because I got to interview a whole slew of mushers, including an Iditarod champion plus visit an Iditarod mushers’ kennel and meet over seventy dogs.
It’s difficult to understand, living here in Alaska, that most people haven’t seen a sled dog race in person; it’s so commonplace up here. So for those of you who haven’t, here are some photos I took of the Fur Rondy Sled Dog Championship Race a few years ago. This isn’t the Iditarod, of course, it’s more of a shorter distance race but oh, watching those dogs run is like nothing else.
Also, I’m a ashamed to admit, that during my social media vacation I became hooked on “The Fosters,” which I’ve been binge watching when I’m not running or writing or reading or obsessing about why I’m not writing more or better or faster or whatever the hell it is that I think I’m supposed to be doing.
So there you have it, the life of an average writer living an average lifestyle in the not-so-average landscape of Alaska.
But not for long because we leave for Tucson in less than a week. Sunshine! Warm temps! Bare arms and legs! Oh, oh, my!
Take care, everyone, and have a great week.