is it time to stop the twitter sycophantic-a and get real?

In Sunday Life this week I get more authentic online


A theme that crops up consistently in this weekly flirt with life betterment is something I call “too much-itis”. Or “battered (by) life syndrome”, a condition charcterised by a sense that too many commitments and distractions are dragging us down. The American Academy of Pediatrics have just diagnosed the latest symptom: Facebook Depression, caused by reading friends’ updates and feeling your life sucks in comparison to the fabulous “wine weekend away with the boyf” and “ZOMG! Most blissful afternoon on the harbour with besties” everyone else is breezily engaged in.

I used to call this malaise Friday Night Alone Watching The Bill-ophobia. Previously, a mere suspicion everyone was out having more fun than you fuelled the panic. But since everyone now has Facebook and Twitter on their phones, there’s no doubt. We all know exactly – in real time – how much fun everyone else is having. Which has upped the heart-sink.

I now call it Friday Night Alone Reading Status Updates-ophobia.

Me, I’ve become totally overwhelmed by other people’s status updates. An article in this magazine on the subject a few months ago, prompting a wave of  “me too!” feedback. My journalist friend C has since taken a Twitter hiatus. “I can’t deal with the spin. It feels so grubby.” My single friend G has turned off Facebook; “Too many ex-boyfriends with baby photos!”.

Quitting social media altogether is one solution. I’ve previously tested e-toxing (living offline) and creating e-boundaries (like using the Freedom app which blocks social media for eight hours at a time) in this column. They’re great. But extreme. I personally get a lot from Twitter in particular – it’s the most efficient way for me to read the news each day.

So this week I experimented with some more balanced – and balancing – approaches.

Read more