Quiet.

I’ve been quiet on this blog of late. I’ve been quiet on Facebook as well, and in emails to people. It’s been nice, strange at first, but not unpleasant. Best of all it’s helped me evaluate my life on social media, who I’m talking to, and why. What am I saying? Why? Is it important? Are things more important that I’ve been ignoring?

Probably. It tends to be the way of things.

But…

I joined Instagram the other day. I don’t know why. A lot of my friends’ posts on Facebook were from there, and I guess I wanted to see what it was all about. It was fun. Photos. It’s about photos, and millions of them. Within a couple of minutes I’d signed up to follow all my Facebook friends on Instagram, and it was nice to see familar faces, new pictures, new stories. It felt funny though, like I’d walked, while snuggling on my couch, into a mad fray of traffic that I would now need to keep up with, and a new market place where I would need to shout to be heard. In that evening quiet I felt like I was shouting again, felt like I was running again; like the noise of a potential million people was suddenly crowding at my smartphone and demanding to be let in. Follow Me! Look at ME! ME! ME! MEEEEE!!

I nearly unsubscribed again. And no my friends, before you ask, it was not your photo of the cute cat that made me feel like that, or that lovely dinner, or the slightly lopsided tree in the park. They were lovely. Your photos are lovely, as are all of you. It was just the volume, really, interrupting my quiet, and, probably most of all, the feeling that I should be adding to it; that I NEEDED to be adding to it in order to be a social being, a social media entity.

Know what I mean? Have you ever felt that, or is it just me? I post, therefore I am.

I’m not ashamed to admit that thought. I know where it started, where the whole Facebook love thing started for me. Introvert in a noisy world. Taught to wait my turn to speak. Know the value of listening to others. Babies in arms, and in nappies. Little sleep. Social media became, for me, a way to be heard, a way to remember, and to remind others, that I do have a voice, and thoughts, and to not pass me by unacknowledged. I’m so grateful for the opportunities to be heard that social media has afforded me, and the friends I’ve made because of it. I’ve considered deleting my accounts from time to time, but always come back to the thought that the good outweighs the bad.

The plum trees outside my window are losing their leaves, and there’s a chill in the morning air that hasn’t been there for many months. Soon we’ll need to stock up on firewood, and pull the heaters out of the cupboards. Seasons change. Autumn is reminding my garden to hunker down for Winter, and I’m doing it too. I feel like my leaves are falling; like I’m stripping away everything but the essentials for a season, to pull in quietly and focus on building the things that are important to me: my family, my home, rewriting my book. Eating soup, keeping warm. It’s a season.

Shhhh. Can’t you hear that gentle hum? Isn’t it nice when things are quiet?

Some food for thought: a couple of articles on social media trends: http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/social-network-overload-info/  http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/social-network-overload-may-be-setting-in-sooner-than-expected-162341702.html