"My name is Jason Manford and I am a social media addict".
Phew, that feels better! Nice to get it off your chest eh? So as a man who has been on social media since the very beginning, I realised recently whilst I was paying £15 for wifi in a hotel to update my Facebook to complain about the price of wifi in a hotel, that somehow I had a problem. I've been on both sides of social media, the good and the bad. From learning about fame the hard way to helping Stephen Sutton to raise £5million for Teenage Cancer Trust, I've been involved in Social Media for a long time. I should've know I was addicted when I went to a fancy dress party as Tom from Myspace (white t shirt, looking coquettishly over my shoulder in a swivel chair) . But over the years I've been involved in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Periscope, Instagram, Bebo; hell, I'm still paying a fiver a year for FriendsReunited!
So why am I 'fasting'? Well, it got to a point where I saw a couple having dinner one night and both of them were on the phones, tweeting. I thought it was so funny I took a picture to tweet it, then I thought about it and thought, 'Yo, Mr White, that ain't funny bitch!' (I talk to myself in the voice of Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad). I thought actually it's a bit sad. Then I realised that I do that. My kids will be watching Peppa Pig and I'll post on Facebook my favourite Daddy Pig moments, I'll be chatting to an old friend and rather than just tell them some of my stories from my actual brain, I search my Instagram for pictures that will do the job of describing for me. In fact recently I went to the toilet without my phone and it was the longest 4 minutes of my life; I had to read the back of the Demestos bottle! Then I thought hang on, I sometimes spend half an hour on here, when the actual act of pooping takes less than 5 minutes! I'm sat in a room almost in my own shit for longer than is necessary, simply to see what racist shit Donald Trump has tweeted or to read if Piers Morgan has sent a message to Jeremy Clarkson! That's when I knew I was an addict.
Then one day, my 5 year old daughter said 'daddy, what's Facebook and can I do it'. That's when I thought 'No, these bitches are bleeding us enough already Yo!" (Pinkman again). Then I downloaded an app that told me how much of my day I spent on my phone, it was ridiculous, like, 3 hours in a day. Now a lot of this time is because I'm travelling and alone and I enjoy the company of like-minded strangers but then recently I found myself getting wound up by it. Someone had taken a joke seriously and got offended, or someone directly tweeted me to tell me they thought I was a fat unfunny prick or something like that. it would actually ruin my day! In real life!
So this August I'm on holiday and my family suggested that maybe I don't take the funny things that they do and say and then post them online of all the world to read! For a month! A Facebook fast if you will, but incorporating all the social media platforms. I mean, I guess I'll have to just go to my friends houses and write stuff on their walls there, give em a quick poke and then leave! If only I'd have had a social media fast 5 years ago, I'd still be introducing videos about Badgers and interviewing the Goodies about their latest comic book or something! Every cloud.
I mentioned this online and a lot of people have said how hard they would find it which really did give me a sense that this isn't exactly an easy thing to do! A few people also suggested that I try and raise some money for a charity close to my heart. I pointed out that JustGiving seemed to be people raising money doing things rather than not doing things, but enough people made me think this was a good idea, so here goes!
I've chosen The Children's Adventure Farm Trust. It's a local charity to me who give a holiday to some children who need it and a well deserved break to parents who are desperate for it. Disabled, Terminally ill and also underpriveldged kids who without this charity would not get a holiday at all. It's just a lovely charity and I try every year to raise them money and this will be a huge boost, even just a couple of grand will give some deserving kids a lovely break.
So here's my rules concocted by my friends and family.
Starting time & date 23.59 Monday 3rd August (this is after my very last gig of the summer)
Finishing time and date 00.01 Monday 7th September.
A TOTAL Social Media ban includes every platform. It also doesn't just limit itself to posting, it includes reading or checking messages, posts, tweets, pictures.
The password will be changed and given to my agent who will be the gatekeeper. Colin my brother and my assistant Lyndsey will be admins, deleting any inappropriate messages posted on my wall- spam, offensive material, trolling or bullying other users etc.
I guess there needs to be a risk factor for me, and it's this. If I at any point check, read or post on social media during this time, I will sign a cheque for the same amount of money as you have raised (unto a maximum of £10k, I have 5 kids for god sake and 4 of them are daughters who've seen too many disney weddings!).
So there you have it, the Facebook Fast, please donate and support me in this terrifying endeavour. No it's not a skydive or a marathon, but to me, this is hard! I'm sweating already!
All the best,
raised of £10,000 target
by 2,385 supporters
Jason's Facebook Fast
Giving up all Social Media for a month for The Children's Adventure Farm Trust because my family told me to.
raised of £10,000 target
by 2,385 supporters
We offer children a magical holiday at CAFT to create treasured memories
Charity Registration No. 1003675