I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I’m deleting my social media. It’s been a long time coming. I was never that deep into social media but it certainly played a bigger role in my life than I care to admit. I’ve seen people who are severely addicted and it honestly scares me. You can’t be present in the moment for more than 30 seconds without needing to check your timeline. Most of the time you don’t even realize it. The need to check your phone is buried so deep in your subconscious that you refuse to even acknowledge you’re an addict looking to satisfy your craving.
Is boredom or anxiety starting to make you feel uncomfortable? No worries, just pull out your phone and get lost in the useless memes and angry, divisive political posts. Your problems can wait a few minutes, right? 45 minutes later and you’re still on Facebook arguing about abortion. It doesn’t stop there. You dwell on it for days, maybe even weeks. “I should’ve said ______,” or “how could they be so ignorant?” Then in search of relief, you look to other posts to distract you with pictures of cute animals or your friends 50th selfie of the day. Make sure you click like so you can share the dopamine with your friends.
How often do you get the idea to post something on social media? When you see something cool or interesting, is one of your first thoughts to take a picture of it for Instagram? Maybe it’s time you took a step back and looked at your behaviors from an objective standpoint. Maybe…you are addicted.
Social media is a distraction. It temps you whenever a problem or inconvenience or responsibility presents itself. Dishes in the sink? I’m just going to relax and look at Twitter for a bit first. Five days later there’s a smelly monstrosity piled in your sink because you were too easily distracted to tackle the problem while it was still small. This is a silly example but it translates to almost all areas of your life. What problems are you distracting yourself from? You may even think you’re getting help with your problems by posting about them on Facebook. This is especially bad practice. Unless all of your friends are professionals at solving the specific problems you are facing, it’s just a recipe for bad advice and empty words of sympathy. Stop distracting yourself and start fixing your problems. If you don’t you will just continue down the rabbit-hole of depression, helplessness and victim-hood. You don’t want to be a depressed, helpless victim do you? Unfortunately it’s much easier to be that than to be the person who works hard at making things better, regardless of circumstance. It’s much harder to pay attention and do the right things, especially if you’ve dug yourself into a mental hell-hole and convinced yourself that you know what’s good for you.
It’s become a cliche that you post your “best life” on social media. Everyone knows that the posts you see on someone’s Facebook or Instagram do not accurately portray that persons life. Yet we all pretend like that’s not the case and go on posting our own “best life.” Besides, if you don’t have anything you can spend money on to take pictures of for Instagram then what good are you anyway? You want to talk about meaningful topics in a calm and genuine manner? Hell no, not on my timeline. [Hide notifications from this person?] *click*
I’ve been debating for a long time what I should do about social media. I knew it wasn’t bringing much good to my life and whatever good it was bringing was so small that it was heavily outweighed by the negative it was bringing along with it. What I had to realize was that the world would keep spinning and my friends would still be my friends without it, at least the friends I actually wanted to keep. You’re not going to disappear into some scary abyss without your Instagram and Twitter. Sure you might flounder for a bit while you try to figure out what to do with all this new free time, but eventually you’ll start being productive. Maybe you’ll even start fixing your problems. Even if you weren’t the one responsible for them in the first place, you are the one responsible for fixing them.
I’m sure this hasn’t convinced anyone to delete their social media, but my purpose in writing this was to explain my reasons and to give some food for thought. I would recommend that everyone try at least one “screen-less Saturday.” Go one full day, preferably a day you aren’t working, without looking at a single screen. This doesn’t mean you have to avert your eyes when you walk through your living room, but don’t turn your TV on. Don’t use your phone (unless it’s an emergency) and don’t browse anything on your computer or tablet. It’s surprisingly difficult, but it’s a good baby step into the world of freedom from distraction. Who knows, it might change your life. It certainly changed mine.