Having taken a month off Facebook, I’m not missing it. I’m not missing the pictures of food, random kids, quirky cats, the obnoxious right wing propaganda, the often basic left wing propaganda, the dumb rants against politicians, drivers, cyclists, the echoes of loneliness. Blogging might have the same egotistical ramifications; why should we be interested? So, have I used my extra time away more wisely? Who knows; but it has been freeing to escape the noise, to face the FOMO (fear of missing out).
When I wrote the book Perversive Perversions in Lancaster back in 2005 I had a timetable for every hour of my day. I no longer do that, I don’t need to. It’s not that I don’t want to maximise the moment. It’s just I trust myself way more and the process. I’ve been writing more poetry and more fiction lately, so that’s something, often inspired by two anniversaries, including 30 years since I started at the University of Warwick.
Last time I did put something on Facebook it made me realise that the level of hatred felt by many is intense. Many on and offline identities are constructed by opposition to feared ‘others’. Social media doesn’t directly cause mental health problems, but it does allow the mentally unstable to vent, which is a form of avoiding the void. In this sense it exacerbates mental ill health. While ‘selftitis’ (constantly posting pictures of yourself) might be a spoof mental illness, and Richard Bentall’s classic article on ‘happiness as mental illness’ makes the point anything can be classified as mental illness, it’s time to allow creativity to take precedence over constantly checking media, social or otherwise.