I’ll be honest with you (I can’t lie to you, I like you too much). I’m not much of a sharer.
I don’t mean this in an, ‘I’m going to eat all the biscuits and leave none for you,’ kind of way. You can have all the biscuits and all the crisps if you like, just don’t touch my Double Deckers.
I’m talking about sharing in a social media type way.
Oh yes – that old chestnut. You may or may not have read my post from a week or two ago (don’t worry if you didn’t – I know how busy you were that week).
It was all about my love/hate relationship with social media and how I feel that we all need to step away from the keyboard/tablet/phone from time to time and just be. I received a big reaction to this post and we were mostly in agreement. You need to find that ‘off’ button every now and then.
About a week ago, I heard a story on the radio reporting that psychologists had discovered that, ‘the need to be constantly available and respond 24/7 on social media accounts can cause depression, anxiety and decrease sleep quality for teenagers.’
Apart from winning my own personal award for, ’least surprising fact ever,’ it made me wonder how we’ve allowed this to happen because actually, this is the monster we’ve created.
We have developed this innate desire to share every tiny detail of our lives, possibly because it’s so easy to do. Click a button, load a photo, make a comment and you’re done. However and this however is the size of Mars by the way.
Sometimes there is nothing to share.
At least not for me.
I may win my own award for, ‘most boring life in the world,’ but my day mostly consists of school runs, chores, staring out of the window trying to think of something to write and writing. That’s it. When I set up the author pages for my Twitter and Facebook accounts, I was painfully aware that often I had nothing of interest to tweet or share.
That was part of the reason I started to blog and at the start of the year I set myself the challenge of writing a post a week. I have managed it so far, apart from one week during the Easter holidays when I had to resort to a photograph of a squirrel eating an ice-cream but then, it was a squirrel eating an ice-cream.
I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t want to see that.
Still, I can’t help but feel that we sometimes put ourselves under too much pressure to share.
Twenty years ago if we had a piece of important information, we would have picked up the phone or even, dare I suggest it, written a letter. To one person.
Ten years ago, it was all about e-mail. Usually to one person but occasionally to a group.
Now it has to be done immediately, preferably in fewer than 140 characters and to the whole world. Invariably on at least three different platforms.
That is pressure.
I know this and you know this because we remember a time when this world didn’t exist. However, today’s teenagers with their snapchats, instagrams (I appreciate I sound like a doddery old dear here but I rather like it) and whatever else has been invented this week, are bearing the brunt. They have grown up with touch screens, are puzzled by CDs and don’t even know what a cassette is. It’s a brave new world but it’s an exhausting and pressured one too.
I also think that this generation of teenagers have the rawest deal. They are paving the way for my children and I’m grateful for that. The biggest question has to be, ‘do I need to share that?’ and moreover, ‘what will happen if I do?’ You see I get the feeling that people feel so pressured to have something to share or to be part of a discussion (not judging here, we all need to belong) that they create dramas or exaggerate and before long, they’re sharing opinions or images which will in all seriousness, haunt them for the rest of their lives.
For my part, I shall encourage my children to find the ‘off’ button and use their common sense when they’re sharing online. I think my rule is going to be, ‘never share anything that you wouldn’t share with Grandma.’ I know my children may rebel against me at some stage but they would never want to disappoint my Mum.
As for me, I expect I shall continue to have little to share and I’m fine with that. I won’t feel the pressure – there’s enough pictures of baby pandas and grumpy cats without me adding to them but just in case you did miss it…
Now that’s quite enough sharing for one day – who wants a biscuit?