Refresh Refresh Refresh

Frozen banana, spinach, almond milk, cocoa powder, PB, flax

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‚Äôs actions more than drugs or sex did.” (Source)

I’m gonna go post this on Facebook and Twitter now…

14 thoughts on “Refresh Refresh Refresh

  1. I’d love to see your take on some of the research you’ve collected – that seems really interesting! I try not to use social media too extensively…just as a time-waster in grocery stores/pedicure chairs etc (other than the blog, of course) but I can see 100% how it’s addictive!

  2. It’s all so true. The only thing worse than feeling the need to constantly check (and constantly thinking I see a red light flashing on my phone) is the fact that my bosses now expect me to be reachable 24 hours a day, and actually get irritated if it takes me more than 2 hours to reply. I look forward to becoming a luddite and getting rid of email on my phone.

  3. I’m no researcher, but the addiction to social media/work does kind of seem to hint at a great big hole of need in people for connection & meaning/importance/contribution (or, freakin survival, if the primary motivation is a paycheck).

    Seems like there might be better ways to fill these holes. I’m always so sad when I see a room/store/street corner full of people who are staring at their phones instead of smiling at strangers.

    Don’t give up the blog, though! Just sayin. :)

  4. mmm smart tater.

    i’ve completely deleted my facebook before – for about a year – it was so freeing. it felt amazing to have no idea what people were doing and vice-versa. these days when i find myself getting too stalk-y i “fast” from social media for a day or two. it really helps. but taking it off your phone is an even better idea…

  5. Great post, yet again. I struggle with this too, and spend just as much time wondering why I can’t stop myself as I do on the actual sites. I spent an embarrassing chunk of my workday on Monday unfriending people I don’t care about and hiding my profile from everyone except my actual friends.

    Did you see the NY Times article “My Dinner With Clay Shirky, and What I Learned About Friendship”? You might want to add it to your folder.

  6. OK, so here’s the deal. In the summer of 2010, I spent ten days in Israel. I had very minimal access to a phone (it was some insane rate—like $2 a minute) and was only able to check my email (not FB, not Twitter) twice the entire time (for maybe five minutes each). The first couple of days were HARD. I felt anxious without my “connections” to the world and I was on edge a lot of the time. Then, by day four or five, I realized that not having access to these things were kind of awesome. I was in freaking ISRAEL—why did I need to be trolling FB or checking my text messages when I was in the coolest place I’ve ever been?

    Every time I find myself becoming too dependent on these things now that I’m home, I try to remind myself of how GOOD it felt to disconnect. Sometimes you just need that reminder.

  7. In response to what Shea said above, I think the word she is looking for is VALIDATION. We post things on Facebook and Twitter because we want people to comment or we want people to “like” it. In other words, we want people to pay attention to us and make us feel important. We need our existance in our friends’ lives to be validated by how many Facebook comments or likes we get.

    I removed my wall about a month ago and it’s been fine. The reason I did it was because I was thinking about birthdays and the wall posts that come with it. When it was my birthday, I would appreciate all of the wall posts, but I couldn’t help but wonder why so-and-so and so-and-so didn’t post anything. By removing my wall, I obviously expect nothing and am therefore not let down. My birthday shouldn’t have to be validated by how many wall posts I get.

    I actually have this discussion regularly with friends/coworkers/strangers. It seems like everyone is on the same page about it, yet we still can’t tear ourselves away.

  8. Hi! First time commentor here. I deleted my FB cold turkey back in September and let me just tell you…best decision I ever made. I don’t miss it one bit now. I hear my friends talking about “drama” on FB and I can only think about how immmature and stupid it all is, we are in our late 20′s people!

    I would be very interested in reading some of your research, I just finished my Masters in Psych with an emphasis in addictions and even though we didn’t cover anything related to social media, I have always pondered the connection of social media influences and psychology.

  9. I’ve given up Facebook, Twitter (though just had to get back on for work), Pinterest, Tumblr, and my smart phone. It. Feels. Awesome. And the truth is you probably already know who you’d go out of the way for, who you’ll still see, etc.

    I also like to have Internet free weekends where I never even touch my computer. Now THAT’S refreshing.

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