Hello: Me and anti-social media

I’ve always enjoyed writing. Even back in primary school, I was always the one who’d ask if he could take home his exercise book so I could finish off the ridiculously long and convoluted story I’d started that couldn’t possibly be finished in the allotted hour of “creative writing”.

I wrote my first song when I was 12 years old – it was rubbish – but it won a competition, ended up with me and my friend Dawn who sang on it in a BBC Radio recording studio so that got me thinking that maybe, I might actually be reasonably good at something, which made a change from just being the fat, not-terribly-sporty only child whose main group of friends were girls, who’d rather read a book, watch Blakes 7 and Doctor Who and listen to ABBA records.

So why have I started this new terribly self-indulgent blog off? It’s something that I’ve been considering doing for quite a while if truth be told.

In recent months I’ve found myself becoming extremely disillusioned with “social” media; it’s actually becoming increasing unsocial I’m finding. The likes of Facebook and Twitter are increasingly, unashamedly spreading lies and disinformation and fundamentally, brazenly undermining democratic process and debate.

By being entwined with that, I was beginning to feel as though I was part of the problem so decided to switch off. Facebook is currently deactivated (although I’m retaining the account purely for Messenger purposes), I’ve deleted my Twitter feed and my Instagram.

Of course, there is an irony that I may promote this first blog posting by sharing a link via my currently deactivated Facebook page as I DO want to remain in contact with friends and loved ones but, there’s just too much “noise” and I was beginning to find it unhealthy and incompatible with positive mental health and wellbeing.

Add in to this the global COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, the rise of the Alt Right etc. and these places to connect virtually with friends have very quickly become poisonous. Our details and personal information are ‘the product’ and how lazily and willingly we have given that away.

I slowly started deleting old Facebook posts a year or so ago – of course, there’s no easy way to do this, one has to go in and delete each and every individual posting – but it was a cathartic process looking at things I’d shared back from 2008 onwards. I could see the peaks and troughs of my own struggles with depression and anxiety in the tone and content of things that I’d shared and it was a relief when the bulk of it had gone. I certainly didn’t want that to be my digital legacy. What’s the quote again, “The past is another country”?

Since I turned 50 a few weeks ago, I’ve had many messages and check-ins directly with friends away from the dreaded “FB” and these feel far richer. They require effort. Indeed, I’m conversing MORE with my nearest and dearest since deactivating the sodding thing so I’ve only got positive things to report about life in a post-Facebook/Twitter/Instagram world.

I’m amused that as we’ve recently commenced a re-watch of “Buffy”, I’ve slain a few time vampires myself.

Whilst chatting with friends, a few had mentioned that they missed seeing posts and pics about food and cooking that I used to make so, at Dylan’s suggestion, I’d considered putting together a food blog containing recipes and pictures.

I’m still active on the Foodim app – which still feels like what the Internet used to feel like – but instead of pictures of cats, it’s solely focussed on food and people being nice to each other.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to start this blog off – primarily to share food posts, but as it’s me, there’ll be stuff linked in to music, synths, books, creativity and any other passions that tickle my fancy in the moment. There will be cat pictures.

It may be read by two people, and that’s fine.

Stay safe and well.