What China taught me about facebook

Immersed in a digital world.

Everyone knows that China´s government is especially tough in filtering the content it´s population is to be able to access. It was hence forth no surprise to find facebook (besides google, twitter and wordpress to mention just a few) blocked while exploring this wonderful country (see here which sites are blocked in China). What I did not suspect, however, was the effect it had on me.

A trip without facebook

I missed the usage of this all-too-famous social network in order to stay in touch with my friends and family and share my experiences with them while I was having them. I really felt that was important, but is it really? I mean, yes, staying in touch with your loved ones is important especially if you travel a lot so they know you are safe and know you appreciate them despite the distance. But is it our real experiences that we share with our friends through social networks or actually more what we like them to think we experience?

Back in “reality”?

Catching up on my facebook usage upon my return to the Europe I find myself questioning the role this site plays in modern society more than ever. We share everything from our dinner menu to our midlife crisis´s on a social media site, but for what purpose? I feel attention  and instant gratification are only few of many ulterior motives.

When being on holiday we get the chance to disconnect and live in the moment more than usual. We should pay attention on the world around us when we travel, not only to experience the places we go properly, but also to stay safe. Spending our time on social networks like facebook keeps our mind distracted. We think about our life back home, about work or wonder if we are having more fun on our holiday than our friends who just happen to post so much more artistic beach pictures than we do.

I felt like not only do we waste precious time both on holiday and at home scrolling through the endless pages of facebook, but compare our lifes with what we imagine other lifes to be and in the mean time, we forget to enjoy our own. Through the use of algorithms we get fed stereotypes that may fit our digital profile and miss out on the worlds diversity.

What were your experiences both with social media as well as their absence when e.g. travelling through China?

Photo credit: kalhh via www.pixabay.com

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