This week I took Facebook, Twitter and email off of my phone. It is the best damn decision I’ve made since I chose to keep the cats back in… 2008?
I know I’ve tried to abandon these social outlets in the past with little success and that this time may be no different. But I’m serious now. I am addicted to this mess. No joke. I don’t think people hear me when I talk about how desperately I want them out of my life. This is probably because they don’t realize how much they consume me. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. What else is going on? What are people complaining about today? What words do I want to vomit right now? It’s exhausting. Not having access to any of it until I’m sitting down at my computer has made me feel so… free? Yeah, that’s sad. It’s true, though. This, I believe, this lack of refresh-refresh-refresh… is actually refreshing.
I’ve been playing with the idea of giving up all of it (except the blog) for a while just as a little social experiment to see how it affects my life. To see who still makes an effort to communicate with me. To see who I go out of my way to see. There was once a time when we all got along just fine without any of this. A time when we made plans and kept them. Instead of texting, “Hey! I’m too tired/busy/disinterested in you… can’t make it!” we just went. Instead of Facebooking, “Let’s have a coffee date soooooon” we just got coffee. Instead of tweeting condolences, congratulations or constructive criticism, we spoke it. It’s a strange, strange world, y’all.
I’ve been doing a lot of research (seriously, I have a folder dedicated to it) on social media and addiction, the psychology of social media and negative/positive effects of increased social media use around the world (car crashes due to phone use vs. political revolutions). It’s all very interesting.
I think, ultimately, there’s a way to use these outlets in a healthy, productive way that really does leave you feeling closer to more people, but, if used incorrectly, results in more isolation than anything.
“The most strongly felt desires were for sleep and sex. Unexpectedly, cravings for cigarettes and alcohol were reported as weakest. In terms of actual behavior, participants had the hardest time stopping themselves from checking social media when they preferred not to, and from working when that was not what they truly wanted to do, suggesting that these urges actually drove people’s actions more than drugs or sex did.” (Source)
I’m gonna go post this on Facebook and Twitter now…