Need Space from Cyberspace

I need space. Three words you never want to hear in a relationship.

That is how I am feeling with the internet, email and social media. Technology. Relationships of all sorts are about balance. Prioritizing. How do you maintain balance and keep technology from running amuck and taking over your life? No, really. That is a question.

I use technology daily for work. The expectation that I be super-glued to my phone, email, camera, social media and computer is implicit yet real. I couldn’t do my job without technology. In fact, I wouldn’t have a job in communications without it! At least eight hours of my day are spent on my three computers, one Apple and one PC and a MacBookPro and on my two cell phones, one Android and one iPhone. That’s a whole lot of screen-time.

As a musician, I use social media and technology to promote my songs and connect with my audience. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube… and more! On average, I would guess that I spend at least an hour a day just updating various social media.

Today I updated my YouTube channel/playlist and graphics. I still need to do more work on the individual tags for each video. It’s a lot of work.

It Often, like today, I use Photoshop to create new graphics, banners and icons to upload to the different websites and social media I use to get my music and message out there. As I think about it, I am genuinely surprised at how much time and effort it takes to stay current. Last week I devoted my attention to becoming a verified Spotify artist and updating my page graphics once the goal was achieved!

Every other month or so I create a new music video in iMovie. Even the simplest video takes me a whole evening to complete. As for social media, researching interesting post content – even though I program it a week ahead – takes nearly a full work-day!

Being an independent artist is a very time-consuming job.

Without realizing it an hour or two or five has gone by without speaking to a person or connecting with anything other than my keyboard and monitor. None of this activity includes writing songs, practicing music or performing and connecting with people.

Then there’s the “personal” social media. I don’t typically do a lot of posting, but should I really be doing ANY given the amount of time I already spend on a device, online?

During my “down” time  is when I really notice the malaise. I’m supposed to be a relating to my family and friends. I don’t bring my device to the dinner table (house rule), but I can’t say that I feel 100% present, regardless. Ever. I swear I can feel my iPhone vibrating, humming away on the credenza, calling to me to check email. Check Facebook. Post a photo on Instagram.

Rinse and repeat.

Let’s face it. Social media is designed to be habit-forming. Design-thinking perhaps well-intended and gone awry? I read that people suffering from depression check their email more often than most (gulp, I check mine a lot). So is this technology solving a problem or reinforcing one? So how do we break a bad habit? One day a time.

I am passionately grateful for the existence of social media and technology. Always and forever in awe of the design-thinkers who knew what we wanted (when we didn’t) and thought of how to solve our problems and create brilliant solutions.

It’s me. Not you. I need some space.

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© 2017 Jenny Bruce