Yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of images from Ray Bradbury stories–of wall-sized TV panels blaring reality TV, ear seashells, and machines that breath and function like organisms–as a global social media platform went down for about five hours. Of course, it felt like a sense of relief that I didn’t have to check them as much as I typically do.
I’m aware these major social platforms monetize our attention, siphoning off our focus little by little while hopping us up on dopamine all along the way. I want to tread lightly by saying that there are some good aspects to social media. I know that posting my photography work has helped me improve over the years. Promoting my various projects has been a plus, even if it simply keeps people in touch with all the things I do with my life.
Where that balance is between sharing my entire life on social media and whatever else doesn’t happen online, I don’t really know. I try to devote at least half my day to non-screen activities. I have a personal trainer; my ongoing garden projects; making gourd-shaped candles.
During the non-social media freedom I stopped by the only local bookstore left nearby, a large chain store. I went in to pick up a new copy of The Illustrated Man. Even in the middle of a weekday, the place was fairly bustling. I found my book quickly and went to check out. In front of me was a woman purchasing at least two large stacks which the store employee was scanning and piling into large canvas tote bags. I must not have been the only one taking advantage of digital downtime.