There was a moment at BlogHer in New York last year that has stuck with me ... it was at Sparklecorn, and all the friends I went with had already left because they were tired. I didn't want to go yet .. what a surprise that I should drain every last drop out of a good time even if it means standing alone in a sea of women who all knew each other.
I sat down and watched a group of about four women all pose for photos together. There was something really strange about it that I couldn't put my finger on at first. They were all doing ridiculous poses with each other, snap snapping away (nothing wrong with that) ... but as soon as the photos were taken, they'd all pull apart and silently dive into their phones. Tweeting and uploading and facebooking their awesome time straight away. Thing is, they seemed to be pretending to be having a better time than they actually were.
I imagined the friends who saw these photos would feel a little envious, that they were not there having all the fun. Yet, they didn't dance, or talk, or look at anything else. They just sat there for ages, tapping away at their phones.
I ended up going to dance all by myself, feeling like a complete tool. I was stone cold sober and didn't have anyone to dance with. Then I found some people who were lovely, then I went on to another party and ended up on the couch talking to Fadra for the rest of the night.
And I didn't twitpic any of it - because I was too busy, you know ... actually living it.
Social media lovers need to be careful. There's a lot of joking about being addicted, but trust me on this - it really can be an addiction. I know what full-blown addiction feels like. It leaves a person feeling empty, vacant. Missing something. Hollow. Not living life properly. Nothing is ever enough.
I was recently asked to go on a media junket for Ambi Pur, over to Thailand. This was straight after I'd just gotten back from BlogHer in America, courtesy of Ribena. And I said yes - I should not have said yes. You know that scene in Meaning of Life when that waiter is teasing the obese guy with dessert? "It's wafer thin!"
I was the fat greedy blogger and that trip to Thailand pushed me over the edge. I was incredibly flattered to be asked, unfortunately it wasn't the right decision for me, and especially for my family. I imploded when I got back home ... for a number of reasons. I didn't check any modes of social media for a full week, and I could not have given the slightest shit.
It all felt ridiculous. I don't care about my blog stats, my PR pitches, the next invitation, the next party, the next blog conference.
I *do* care about my family. Very much. When I pulled back I realised how deeply I was "in" there. I realise that when I open the lid to my laptop, I may be in the same room physically as my family, but not emotionally. I check out - like, the screen is made from liquid and I stand there in my cossies and say, "See ya suckers!" to my husband and children and just dive in.
Sometimes, I resurface hours later and everybody has gone to bed already.
My children watch me. Scariest thing? In a few years, they will have their own online world - their own facebook accounts. (Newsflash: if you are over 25, facebook doesn't give a shit about you. It's the young ones they target.) I need to start setting a good example right now, today.
An iPhone in my pocket is a computer in my pocket. I've been forcing myself to stop checking mine so incessantly, to leave it in the car when I'm at the park. It's not healthy. And it's not fair. I signed up for Pinterest and Google+ but I have no clue how they work. I hear that Facebook has changed - it's just all too much and nobody can keep up.
Stop inventing things, tech people! Give us a chance to catch our breath - why do we need to communicate with each other so much?
Liz from Mom 101 wrote a great post HERE called "Love, love will tear us apart. Or was that Klout?"
I told her that after I'd pulled back from social media for just one week, Klout emailed me with the subject line: "Oh no! Your Klout score has fallen!"
Which roughly translates as, "Oh finally! You are being a really kick-arse wife and mother this week!"
I blog the same way I live my life ..... floundering all the way. I may never look at my stats - but I do care about my blog readers. And my fellow bloggers ... you are all real people. Don't forget to live in the real world.
And if you base your self-worth on your blog or how many hits you get, or when the next event is ... be careful. It's a fine line, man. It's wafer thin.
PS I am plotting a tribute to my Ambi Pur experience ... to showcase the creativity and originality that us bloggers have to offer. I'm not obligated to do this in any way. I think their reps are slightly alarmed.