Online Social Networks vs. Real Life

“Abstinence is as easy to me, as temperance would be difficult.”
– Samuel Johnson

“Abstinence is the surety of temperance.”
– Plato

I think these two concepts are veritable twins of my feelings toward social networking and having it available 24/7 on a phone. I go through spurts of constantly checking my phone, even without notifications pinging or vibrating for my attention. Or conversely, posting most everything and anything that I am doing or thinking! Probably often appearing whiny or pretentious. I don’t think this is my goal by being a part of these networks.

I find myself needing abstinence from online social networks because temperance is so difficult. At which point, I inevitably delete the offending apps from my device. But only temporarily (of course). I find that temporarily removing them can force temperance into my routine. It becomes more difficult to view or post random thoughts and consequently helps to change my expectation that I have to post or see everything.

After reflecting on comments from friends, I am seeing a correlation between social networks, a lack of intimate companionship, and the need for peer approval. I think the answer to the question of abstinence versus temperance for me is this: PARTICIPATE IN REAL LIFE! When I am participating in real life events with people I enjoy, I don’t feel the need to tell the world every detail of my day. I have those I am participating with in life! And isn’t that what we are striving for in social networking? Bottom line is that I need to get involved in real life.