There isn't an hour that goes by where I don't check my phone for one reason or another. Twitter, emails, Instagram, the news, I feel an urge to know and understand what is going on at all times.
I grew up in a time when the internet and mobile phones were really starting to take off. With technology being such a huge part of my childhood, I definitely became attached to it growing up, which means now that I'm 24 years old, I'm very addicted to the internet, social media and technology in general.
- Spending many of my Saturday mornings on the Cartoon Network website, obsessed with the hundreds of games that they had available to play.
- My friend coming over as soon as school had finished to log on to MSN messager, then to log off, then log on again to get our crushes attention. Because it was a travesty to talk to them first.
- My 3310, having an allowance of 2 texts a day and having to think about how to use them very carefully. (I also remember my dad coming in my room once annoyed that I had sent 6 text messages one day. 'SIX TEXTS IN ONE DAY, WHO COULD YOU POSSIBLY BE TEXTING?' I was 12.
- Having a pen pal in America who I used to email when I was 9/10. We talked about smelly gel pens, what we did at school that day and boys we fancied. Mine was Calvin from S Club Juniors.
- Creating a Piczo website with my best friend, filling it was glittering photos, 'emo quotes' and cringey selfies.
- I miss to death Bebo. The careful selection of who would receive your 'love' that day and the decision that could possibly cause the biggest drama in year 7.
- Trying to choose my 'Top 8' profiles on Myspace and religiously checking if I was also in theirs. I also remember the drama when someone was mysteriously and swiftly removed from that privileged spot.
I've been blogging for three years now and I do see my blog as a business and social media is such a huge, influential part of that. It's where receive most of my traffic from, it's where I find new blogs to follow and get chatting to other bloggers. I check social media constantly and I do find it difficult to switch off. If I did switch it off, I'd miss it. Social media and the online world isn't my whole world, but it is a huge part of it.
I think that's a given for anyone who has grown up with the internet. When I was growing up and I first started using the internet, it was exciting. There's a whole, new exciting online world out there with thousands of web pages and it's difficult not to explore and immerse yourself in it. Before the term 'social media' was used on a daily basis in everyday conversations, the 90's kids were on it and using it; talking about our interests, likes, dislikes and what we had for tea all those years ago, before we even knew what a phenomenon it would be.
My first ever social media type platform that I used was gurl.com (I just had to go back on and it's all still there). A forum where girls would chat about everything from relationship advice to their favourite TV programmes. I was completely and utterly obsessed with it. Checking it whenever I could to see if anyone had replied to my messages or were posting on my thread.
Next was Piczo, MSN, Bebo, Myspace, Xanga, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter as well as the other huge social media platforms that have taken over our lives.
Over Christmas, I had some real down time. Not only was I extremely busy, driving around the country to visit all my family and friends over the Christmas break which didn't give me much time to check my phone, I had no internet data; zilch, nada. This gave me no choice but to switch off and allowing me to completely absorb the reality I was in. I loved it.
I felt refreshed. I hardly checked my phone, I didn't feel the need to know what other people were doing over the Christmas period or check Instagram to see what everyone else was eating for Christmas dinner. Most importantly, I didn't miss social media. Blogging and social media come hand in hand, they're two peas in a pod and with me taking a week long blogging break over Christmas, social media just slowly went to the back of my mind also.
With everyone's lives being posted online, it can be difficult to not be completely absorbed and wanting to get involved yourself, but it felt great, even if it was just for the one week out of the entire year, to switch off.
Here are a few things I learnt from turning off my phone...
1. I'm addicted to my phone
I have my phone in my hand pretty much constantly. If I go into the kitchen for a cup of tea, I take my phone to look out whilst the kettle is boiling, I've got an awful habit of scanning through my phone whilst watching a film and missing what is going on. I'm constantly paying more for my phone, buying more data as I can't stand not any having any. My phone is always next to me or in my hand and it can't be completely healthy.
I realised how addicted I might possibly be and that even though I love my phone and social media, it won't do any harm to ignore it for an hour or two.
2. It improved my sleep
I wasn't glued to my phone just before going to bed, forcing myself to stay awake for longer. I keep myself awake longer than I need to, scrolling that little bit longer that I need to on twitter, having a last look at Snapchat stories or liking some photo's on Instagram. There's no need. Putting my phone on silent during the night, also meant that I wasn't being woken up by phone buzzing.
3. It's stress-relieving
Sometimes being on social media can be exhausting. I try and be as positive as possible, however checking twitter, facebook or instagram even for a second can be draining when you see people arguing and moaning over the pettiest things.
I logged on to Twitter on Boxing Day and logged back off after a second as I couldn't believe the amount of people arguing about the Lush Sale. Yeah. I honestly felt a bit happier not checking social media constantly and being in the present with my loved ones.
4. It increased efficiency
Rather than getting distracted by my phone, I actually got stuff done! I finished a few freelance projects off quicker than I may usually without procrastinating. Just in general, without my phone being a constant in my hand, I got stuff done.
5. It helped me to stop comparing
When on social media, it's impossible to not compare your life and blog to other peoples. When you're bombarded with photos and updates of people's lives, you start to think about your own life and compare the differences. Turning off my phone and taking a step back from social media made me realise that the photos and updates I see are merely a snapshot of people's lives. An edited version and I need to stop comparing myself to these and concentrate on enjoying my life and putting everything into my blog.
This is a long rambly post to say, I love technology, social media and the internet, but it won't do any harm to log off now and again!
What are your thoughts on this?
Also, I'd love to know some of your favourite memories of the internet growing up? What websites were you obsessed with? Did you have Piczo?