On Friday, after a great but exhausting day at the National Media Museum, I managed to leave my beloved Iphone on the top deck of a bus. I didn’t even realise to start off with, but after searching the myriad of bags and pockets I had with me, it gradually dawned on me that my phone was continuing the bus journey alone. So, I spent the weekend frantically cancelling things, blocking accounts, changing passwords and assuming that all was lost. Amazingly, it was handed in and I managed to have it back in my hand again by Monday. Massive thanks to whoever was responsible for that.
Because I’d cancelled everything, it took a whole week for everything to get sorted out. So I had an accidental week without Twitter and Instagram. Every so often, I’d get the chance to go online and spent a little bit of time on Twitter, but it wasn’t the same as having it to hand all the time. Conversations were missed, blog posts went unread, news went unseen – I didn’t even know that Bradley Wiggins had been knocked off his bike, and he’s one of my great heroes. Even that made me realise just how much of my news I get through Twitter.
There were upsides to all of this. I did a bit more of all of my ongoing projects than perhaps I might have done – a bit more knitting, a bit more bathroom woodwork sanding (which is truly the most horrible of all DIY jobs) and a bit more working on the allotment. Most telling of all was that I read a whole novel from cover to cover in only a handful of days. That used to be a regular habit until Twitter started sucking up all my time. I had far fewer headaches, suggesting that perhaps I spend too long staring at my tiny phone screen. I sat on the bus and looked aimlessly out of the window, instead of being head down looking at my phone each time I made a journey, and that was actually very pleasant. It’s easy to lose those precious moments of just being, if you’re constantly checking updates on various social media platforms.
But I missed it. I missed the laugh-out-loud-on-the-bus-home moments. I missed knowing the news, and opinion about the news, as it happened. I missed my friends – especially the ones like Dave Graham (@dakegra) who is responsible for this blog post idea and who has a great blog of his own, Espresso Coco, which you should go and visit. He’s one of a large number of people with whom I have only an online friendship, but I don’t think that makes the relationships any less valid. I missed finding great blog posts to read, photos to see, and having my little place in the lives of all the people I met via Twitter.
I know there is a balance to be struck. One in which I spend a little less time online, leaving time for books, projects, gazing out of windows and, erm…’real life’ – but one that still allows me to spend enough time online to enjoy the great things about it. Apparently, all I need to do to make sure that happens is lose my phone every now and again…