Recently I saw a Tweet about 'app-piety'. It has stuck with me.
Appxiety (n): sense of dread you feel when you reach for your phone in the morning to see if some horrendous news has happened overnight. (@StigAbell)
This weekend, I was camping with my family and my phone died on Saturday afternoon. I didn't bother trying to charge it until I got home last night.
It was less than twenty four hours but it was lovely. I regret not being able to take photos on the rather windy beach yesterday but other than that, it was a blessed relief.
Generally I like social media. As previously blogged, I have, for example, been learning to use Instagram properly. And I love Tweeting as my dog! (Long story, loads of people all over the world do it so I don't feel like a complete solo nutter (well not much). 'Twitfur' is a hilarious place, I assure you...)
But in a world with so many stresses, I have realised that I need, at the least, to turn off the pinging notifications which come seemingly from every app unless you actively seek out how to stop them. The BBC News app theme tune was beginning to strike dread into me. And I was becoming a bit too interested in how many 'Likes' I had for my Instagram posts.
So many awful things have happened recently. And continue to happen. Bombs, fires, wars, to say nothing of the endless political and social problems in more and more countries. It's not that I don't care. I hope you can tell from browsing my blog posts that I do care. Many things matter to me - probably too much! - and I try to be consistent in my views. It's just that I think we are all suffering from the twenty four news cycle. If you have more than one news source on your phone (as recommended in a previous post, I do admit), you get the same information many times over when it is perceived as important breaking news.
Clearly we do want/need to know about matters of national importance. But I can't help thinking sometimes that the days when everyone listened to the news at six or at ten but had little access to bang-up-to-date news at other hours must have been quite restful.
Or maybe our ancestors would say they would have loved to have had more news at their fingertips. Imagine how much more of a scandal Henry VIII would have been if his doings were available on a gossip app. Or how different the Home Front would have felt during the Second World War if people could have watched battles live, Tweeted about the Blitz or Facetimed their evacuated children.
We are of our time, I suppose. Our descendants will be laughing at how slow our news cycle is, most likely! But at the moment we all need a break from the ping. A break from the reality of our world at large in order to live in the moment.
This summer, let's switch our phones off at the beach or the park or on a hike. Let's take cameras for photos and compasses for directions. Check your phone at six in the evening while you are on holiday. And turn off those pings so they are not stacking up when you do switch on!
[Excuse the language below but I believe it sums up a lot! And should wish to Tweet my dog, she (for it is her) can be found at @missbonniedog]