Saturday, 21 March 2009

Social media is like candy

As kids we were not given sweets every day, not even every week, but, in particular, never before meals. Later, when my daughter was a child, dentists and nurses used to recommend rationing by allowing only one 'candy day' a week, rather than letting children have a non-stop feast of sugary snacks - for obvious health reasons. Sweets are addictive.

For me, sugar is clearly something I'd better avoid as much as possible. If there is an open box of candy or chocolate around, I just can't keep my fingers off it. This then invariably leads to the infamous 'sugar blues' soon afterwards and a vicious circle of more hunger and craving for equally damaging white-floury foods. Over the years there will be tooth problems, an ever-expanding waistline, not to mention a senselessly unhealthy diet when, instead of good nutrients, you constantly fill yourself up with totally useless empty calories. Withdrawal symptoms are out of this world - the irritability, crankiness and headaches that follow not having the regular sweet doses. All this in on my mind now, as I have just been studying a Finnish writer/journalist/healthy nutrition promoter's article on how to kick your sugar addiction in 35 days.

Today it occurred to me that my online social media consumption habits are quite similarly revolving around getting the next fix of updates. Just like any other addict, I can't help clicking away. I might have to adopt a form of rehab here, too, as with more and more interesting social web applications on offer, setting the limits is getting too much of a challenge for me.

Ever since we got a teacher's laptop with internet installed in every classroom at school last autumn, I have found myself checking my email, Facebook wall, and most recently twitter even during lessons while students are working independently. So not necessary. The world won't come to an end, even if I wait till I get home - or even till the next day - to check all this. But the laptop sitting on the teacher's desk in class is the irresistible tempting candy box for me.

And the same routine goes on at home, too.

My super-handy small laptop that goes with me from room to room - literally a LAPtop, which I can comfortably work on in any position sitting up or lying down! - and a wireless internet connection in the whole house are a dangerous combination. Just recently, I have got into the habit of placing it on the kitchen table while cooking. Just a few minutes spare that it take for a pan to warm up, or water to boil, are just enough to check up a snippet online. Alarming!

I could probably do with 'an internet fast', just as a religious friend of mine is doing once a week for Lent.

Photo: Eye Candy by loonatic on Flickr

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