Stop. Listen. Do you hear it? It's the rustle of leaves, the swirling water in a creek, a bird song away in the distance and the soothing sigh of the cool breeze. Gone is the hustle and bustle of a city in my head — an online connected internet super highway scrolling endlessly by, diverting a quarter of my attention at all times.
I quit Facebook, and Twitter, and Snapchat all within a week and to put it in simple terms, I feel human again. I had lived my entire twenties with Facebook and Twitter, compounded by the newer social media networks that followed in their wake during that decade. I lived my entire twenties as a young, connected, digital adult, never bored and never fully present in the here and now.
When it came to photography, the effect of sharing my work to, viewing and interacting with these social media networks on a daily basis had given me the false sense that I should be doing something all the time. Creating, curating and constantly ON. If I stopped, I might fall behind. It was already feeling like such a struggle to see "growth" in my online photography presence.
And yet I had been considering deleting Twitter for a long while, and deleting Facebook had been a wish of mine as well. Never did I realise it would be so easy to forget about them and so mentally relieving, and so little would regress as a result. My stress is lower, my constant drive to be a photographer is gone so I can relax and take opportunities as I come. I'm still planning and actioning on my ambitions, such as my imminent fortnight of landscape photography and trekking in New Zealand, but I don't have to be thinking about it 24/7.
It's been a while since I've done something with friends or family and just completely switched off from being a photographer, leaving the cameras at home, ignoring the phone and just being 100% present.
As I approach February, I have reconnected with my love for the New Zealand mountains naturally through the music I listen to and our local landscapes I enjoyed watching from the highways this Australia Day weekend, not under the influence of Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, but through my own memories of driving through those grand mountainous locations. I'm excited for what is to come in my two weeks over the ditch.
If you're contemplating the real world value of certain social networks you are a part of, I suggest you seriously consider leaving them. You will adjust, and then you'll realise why you probably don't need them anymore.