I do not know a thing about you. I like to think that you, Dear Reader, and I have a few things in common. I like to think that we both appreciate respect and fairness in all things. I will assume that since you are on some sort of electronic device reading this article that you also use social media. Hey, me too.
“The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Why do we do this? Are we making 150 conscious choices?”- Tristan Harris
Have you noticed a growing trend on most social media platforms that involve messages, photos and the like that read in such a way that you can almost hear the person whining? There are thousands of posts about anxiety, low self-worth, and self-encouragement. Things like “I am OK. No really, I am fine. My anxiety was out of control but I am in control now.” Posts that are supposed to be encouraging and empowering to the reader. Quotes that make you say, “Hey I am enough. I am tough and I can concur the world.”
I find the posts to not make me feel empowered at all. They are a distraction or often a slap in the face. “Oh hey, I didn’t know I was depressed. Thank you for pointing that out to me.” Social media is reforming our thought processes and emotions. It is taking our need for instant gratification and multiplying it exponentially. It is bombarding our senses everyday with images and messages that are often not true and cause more damage. Social media is the new form of addiction for the old need for acceptance of our peers. In this case, likes and shares equal love and acceptance.
Enough is enough already!
As one who battles the evil anxiety of my head monkeys and has for years, every time I see one of these posts I either hide it or quickly scroll right on past it. I am in a good place with myself right now. I have killed the monkey. My anxiety, dare I say it is a thing of the past. I find these posts, often with beautiful photos, do not encourage me at all. Rather they bring the issue back to my forethought. It causes the monkey to pop his ugly head up and say, “Hey, do you miss me?”
No you evil bastard. I do not miss you.
If it isn’t some oh poor me I have depression, I am not good enough, or some other mental issue, post that makes me cringe, it is another depressing thing like missing children, abused dogs or some political nightmare. Social media should be called Depressant Media. It seems to be pulling me down in some dark hole that eats common sense and happiness.
So, if you look for me on social media and see I am AWOL, you may want to call me. Did you know that your smartphone still makes voice calls? Amazing, right? If you really want to share something with me on today’s hot topic, send it via email.
Is social media what we really want to consume our time and our days?
“how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard
I made a decision to break my bondage to social media. I am not going to do the leave your phone in a drawer or turn it off thing. There’s plenty of advice out there about locking away my phone for certain hours of the day. I’m sure there are benefits to these practices, any activity that relies solely on willpower is difficult or impossible. I lack willpower and patience. As a mother and wife who works an hour away from home every day, I do not have the desire to be disconnected from my family.
Instead, I am choosing to think about the times I forgot to look at my phone. Where was my brain? What was I doing?
I am limiting the time I spend on social media. I am also not reaching for my phone first thing when I wake up, get in the car, sit down or whatever. Choosing to reach first for what I value more than anything else, time with my spouse and children.
I challenge you to look at your social media presence and evaluate its place in your life and on your list of priorities.
Believe in conscious decisions about how you use time.