My little vacation from social media

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.

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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.

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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.

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13 thoughts on “My little vacation from social media

  1. “I found this all to be liberating as hell.”: Yes, indeed, going off the grid can be liberating. We went to a campground over the Christmas weekend. To save my iPhone’s battery power, I turned off ALL notifications for my email, WordPress, Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. The visual silence was wonderful. It gave me such a peaceful feeling, like i had been released, given permission to just focus on the here and now. And being that we were camping (albeit in a campground amongst other humans), I felt like I was in the real world, but while the world inside my phone, on all those silly apps, were just that … silly and … not quite real.

    Happy New Year, Cinthia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG, being off the grid is the best, isn’t it? It’s scary to realize how quiet our brains used to be before this large and immense and consuming online world pushed into our lives. Glad you had time to enjoy the silence, and your family. And happy New Year to you, too. Hope it’s filled with lots of love and quietness and writing and words and a few glimpses of alligators (but only from a distance, hee, hee).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed, being off the grid is becoming somewhat addictive for me. I really do like the quiet that settles on my brain when I unplug myself 😉 Happy New Year to you, Cinthia! Wishing you lots of great runs, great writing, and fewer encounters with bears 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I can relate, not because I am anything near being a writer, just my blog, but being turned off from social media and in my case all outside contact. I lived 14 years in a remote cabin without the social interaction people today would have fits if they didn’t have. The funny thing is now that I have moved to an apartment in civilization I still do not find the need to be connected all the time. I guess living surrounded by the majesty that is Alaska is company enough, and now with a room full of photographs of my old home I connect with my memories of that land touched by God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Pete: Thanks so much for visiting. And I agree with you. I am a huge introvert and can go days and days happily talking to no one but the dog (who is, I think, the best of company). And I hope this doesn’t sound odd or crazy but I truly feel as if the Alaska landscape is a type of companion. It is so vast and absolute. I often run trails for hours and I never feel lonely, how can I when I’m surrounded by trees and mountains, creeks and rivers and ridges? P.S. I love that you lived in a remote cabin for 14 years. That’s my idea of paradise. Cheers and have a happy New Year!

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  3. Yes, isn’t a break from social media wonderfully liberating. Love how you describe those photos as “simply blinks in time.” You made me smile when you said you haven’t “moved closer to understanding the meaning of life” – I’ve just this moment emailed a friend and said exactly the same thing! Wishing you all the best for 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have read more, gone out with real friends, spent more time with family, wrote more, and generally felt real since I quite all other social media. WordPress is my last stand (no more FB or Twitter since September) and I take care to “drop in” rather than be here all the time. Bravo to you for taking a break.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you, Susanne, for moving away from Facebook and Twitter. They can both be such a time suck. I also noticed that I wrote and read more while I was away. I didn’t miss them much, either, though I did miss reading blogs. I love blogs. They are more like novels, you know, little chunks of people’s lives that weave this way and that. Cheers, happy writing and hope the coming year is filled with many, many more words and many, many more books.

      Liked by 1 person

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