September 2018 has been highlighted as Scroll Free September. This is when you are supposed to give up looking at social media, especially on your phone, for 30 days.
The reasons behind this are to draw attention to the dangers of perpetually being on social media, 24/7.
And that social media is dangerous for children and young people. Especially in the light of cyber bullying, radicalisation, image awareness problems and too much screen time.
So what else can you do?
This is The Commenting Club, so I am going to suggest you post a comment on a blog instead!
Some people say blogs are part of social media. And yes, they are certainly connected. But I would say reading a post properly from beginning to end, and then thinking carefully about it, is a much better pastime than the disjointed and sporadic posts you find on social media.
And once you've thought about it, create a structured and relevant answer in your head. Then find the comment box and write down your thoughts in there. Et voilá, that is how you post a comment!
The joys of reading
In a world of time-poor people, and the ever-shortening attention spans, the art of reading something properly is fast declining.
We expect everything to be immediate. We wallow in quick reading, like comics and cartoons. Videos do better if they are short, likewise with podcasts.
And writing has had to adapt in order to get read. Shorter sentences and paragraphs. Ignoring the ancient ways of grammar to reinvent a new punctuation usage.
Time for more focus
If you're no longer being constantly distracted by social media, you'll soon find the time to post a comment now and again.
And I mean a proper comment. Not something useless and worthless like a single word or a one-liner. There is space in your day to have a really good think about your comment, and to write something decent and respectable that is worth reading.
Take the opportunity to practice your comment writing too. Focus on providing a beginning, middle and end. Learn the wonders of précis to fit in what you want to say within a small space. Brush up on your powers of communication in the written form whenever you next post a comment.
When did you last post a comment on a blog?
The art of blog commenting has declined since 2014, after many eminent bloggers closed their comment facilities. And as a result everybody moved onto social media, which meant the style of commenting changed.
So if you are participating in Scroll Free September this year, but your fingers are still itching to use your phone, use it to find blog posts instead! Read them carefully and search for the comment boxes to post a comment. Start using your brain differently, to exercise those writing skills that have lain dormant for so long.
This is the month for some proper comment writing. No reaching for emojis and gifs to fill up the spaces. No inane noises that are meaningless, there is no need to just 'do something' to save face and show you are 'there'.
Let's see if this makes you a better person
They say all detoxing is good for you. If you give up on something, you need an alternative to distract you. Blog commenting is a half way house from using social media and completely nothing.
You will learn new things and broaden your horizons. You may even find reading enjoyable again. Your responses and reactions will always be there, just this time you will express them differently.
Have a go at commenting again. Post a comment on a blog and let me know how you felt about it in this comment box below. Let us relate to each other on how we are going to get through Scroll Free September.
And you never know, it might be the making of you!