Kiran was a journalist before she quit to be a full time mommy. Her blog is considered amongst India’s top blogs. She is the author of The Reluctant Detective (2011), Once Upon A Crush (2014) and All Aboard (2015). An advisor on the Board of Literature Studio, Delhi she is also an Author Mentor at Sheroes.in. She now blogs at http://www.kiranmanral.wordpress.com and you can follow her on twitter @kiranmanral.
I did something pretty drastic recently, I uninstalled two major apps from my phone- Facebook and Twitter. I also began switching off mobile data after work hours. Luckily for me, I have a 12-year-old who considers it his God-given right to usurp my phone in order to watch his beloved Justin Bieber, so mobile data limit is a thing of myth. Barely does the month begin that he has made me reach close to my limit of usage. This has been a blessing in disguise. More often than not, I exhaust my mobile data limit, and can only access net in spots where I have WiFi available. And there is no WiFi at home, intentionally of course, there are no computers at home.
This makes me incommunicable to those who are on email or WhatsApp, but there’s nothing that can’t wait until I get back into office, I tell myself. And if it is anything urgent, the folks who need to get in touch, will get in touch- via sms, or the good old-fashioned way of calling. The phone, after all, is on 24×7.
This is something that was long overdue.
Social media is a fascinating monster. There is an entire world out there of fascinating people whom one would have never come in contact with on a regular basis, barely a tweet or a retweet away. The addiction to Facebook is the stuff that could render the snort-able stuff redundant. The number of likes on a post is a greater high than anything you could cut into lines on a smooth surface.
I began blogging over a decade ago. I moved into other social media like Facebook and Twitter soon after. They’ve become a way of life for me. I’ve learnt how to keep the public and the private separate; there are very clear lines of demarcation that I adhere to. It is a self-imposed diktat I’ve been following ever since I stepped into the social media space. But yet, there was a compulsion to be polite and reply to whatever came my way, sparing the nasties of course. This took up time. And it also distracted. One could be in the middle of editing a chapter, and be distracted by a ping notification that one would HAVE to check now or die to know what it was, only to find it was a random unknown soul telling me nasty things about myself I didn’t already know.
It had become an addiction, a compulsion. The flickering light of the notification as it flashed in the dark of the night, would make me sit up in bed and check for something, anything, even the notification of a promotional mail that promised to stop my hair fall and for the fat to miraculously disappear from my midsection without me having to exercise. I would leave a conversation hanging midway in order to reply to a tweet. I was taking more coffee breaks than legally permissible because I had allowed myself to check social media only during coffee breaks when in the midst of work. My attention span had been reduced to that of a gnat. I was merely days away from getting tremors in my hand and cramps in my stomach if taken away forcibly from my smart phone. Hell, I thought then, would be a place with no WiFi or mobile data. I know better now.
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