gail schimmel

The blog of writer Gail Schimmel: A bit of writing, a bit of parenting, a bit of thinking and some book reviews

My name is Gail and. . .


It’s been one of those weeks when I have to start wondering if social media is at all good for me.

A long time ago, I was the most anti-Facebook person that you could meet. I had three reasons– the one that it cannot possibly be a good idea to have so much information about a person in one place. It’s all a bit Big Brother is watching us and it’s scary. Read Ben Elton’s novel, Blind Faith, if you don’t believe me. Also, I did not think that anyone could really care about the trivia of my life, or I about theirs. The last problem I had was that I was convinced that it opened doors for some sort of mass computer virus. I patiently waited for everyone else’s computer to crash so that I could say, “Hah!”

But then something happened – I’m not even sure what. Perhaps I realised that saying “Hah!” is over-rated, and that the CIA can find out all about me anyway if they want to. So I joined Facebook. And then Twitter. I even have a Pintrest account but I don’t use it. But Facebook and Twitter – let me make no bones about this: I’m an addict: I reach for my phone first thing every morning; I stop mid task to take a peek; I follow links that I have no real interest in; I feel an obligation to post things; and, most dire, I read comments on public postings.

My phone is always close to me – not in case it rings, but in case I feel a need to check something. I try to justify this to myself by telling myself that I have a very busy active mind that needs to be entertained and informed all the time. “Hah!” I can hear you saying, justifiably.

Here’s the thing. I’m a child of the 70s and I clearly remember my mother going everywhere with her cigarettes and lighter tightly gripped in her hand. I hated it! And now I go everywhere with my cell phone tightly gripped in my hand, and even though it doesn’t stink, I’m pretty sure my kids hate it too.

And it’s not even like it makes me happy. In the last few days, I have found myself making sarcastic comments in response to an advertising tweet, getting embroiled in twitter matters that I don’t even have strong opinions about and, worst of all, becoming completely enraged because if you read the public comments on some things you realise that most people are idiots. Just this morning I clicked on an article about David Beckham (in whom I have ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST) and then found myself talking back to the comments on the article. Like a crazy person. Or an addict. . .

I think it’s time for me to take a break. But like all addicts, I have no idea how to begin. And anyway, I just have to post this blog onto Facebook and Twitter and then of course you might have some comments that I must reply to and I need to see how many likes I get and also if anyone retweets and also maybe there’ll be another article about David Beckham and I can’t miss that and maybe there’ll be a big news event and I wouldn’t want to be out of the loop and also what if I miss your birthday. . .

They say the first step to recovery is recognising the problem. I’m not convinced.


4 thoughts on “My name is Gail and. . .

  1. I feel you. Especially in December there was a lot of negative noise on social which really got me down. A couple of years back I was addicted to Twitter but it truly was a different place. It’s grown up and I don’t like who it’s become. And yet, i still open it and scroll down the feed. Constantly. Can I join your #addicts anonymous group?

  2. I found January and #Sparrowgate extremely depressing!
    Yes – please join our future group. . . we could be hyper-ironical and run it as a Facebook group!!!!!!

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