The never-ending story
I have struggled with social media. It always feels like I am missing a limb each time I stay away. “I can’t function without it” is something I used to say a few days after staying away although “I’ll become more productive” is a phrase I had always associated with quitting.
I first tried it in 2017, quitting. It was devastating going a month without being “connected” to anyone. It was such a crushing time that I had to resort to emailing people, calling and showing up to see them. Which actually felt good. Totally loved it.
It had been a month since I quit Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram which were an absolute obsession of mine. I have no idea how I got anything done because I spent most of my time staring at my screen, scrolling feeds, commenting, liking and updating statuses.
It felt good. Like I was part of something bigger than myself —something disastrous.
The more I used social media, the less I actually got to experience my true self. I was slowly drifting away, deteriorating, out of touch with my core self. I was losing a part of me. I don’t know which part because I’m physically intact —must be emotional.
The constant dopamine dosage, blue ticking and ghosting people and them happily returning the favor. It all just became emotionally draining. “I’ve had enough.” I always said. Only to come back later. My mind constantly voicing reasons why coming back is such a good idea and me affirming them —a total mind fuck.
Until you fully acknowledge where you are weak, you can’t outsource it or improve it.
I swore to quit each waking day. Succeeding for a few weeks and then succumbing to FOMO. So I decided to take it one step at a time.
The first culprit to go was Facebook. It’s been close to 3 months now and honest to God, I don’t feel like ever signing up again. WhatsApp is tricky because on the surface, it seems so harmless but then I realized something about it the first time I quit for a month.
I think WhatsApp, to me, started to piss me off when they included the “oh so helpful and fun” blue tick feature. I was like, “Oh, that’s nice. Extremely helpful.” until It was abused. Then the kicker was the status update. From the moment I saw it, I knew I hated it but then I started using it and Oh Mi GOD! It was fun.
But each time I stayed away, and miraculously came back a few days, weeks later. It still was the most annoying feature —sounds like we are being brainwashed.
“How degrading!” I always thought. When I got to view my friends’ status updates, I kept thinking to myself…”Oh my goodness, this is utter bullshit. This is what I’ve been missing?” Of course, there were some hilarious ones and by hilarious I’m referring to the memes —I’m going to miss those If I ever make it through.
There were some really good ones too, encouraging stuff from a few people, this is my sacrifice. You can’t find the peace you are looking for without a fight. It’s almost impossible to stay away, believe me.
Instagram, I loved Instagram. I did delete my first account due to emotional issues, EXTREME emotional issues —I am one unstable lad but that is being worked on.
When I rejoined, I posted nothing for the first 4-5 weeks but then I was like, “What the hell, just one won’t hurt.” and to make matters “worse”, Instagram, in their infinite wisdom, had introduced the “disable your comments” feature and I was like, “Yes, thank you Instagram.”, In a few days, I had over 40 posts.
My first post got me thinking though. I didn’t want people to like it. I mean, I wanted them to see it, but I didn’t want them to like it —trying to implement that here (I’m going rogue. I like it). Signs of a dopamine addict trying to recover.
Trying to solve my problem, I boldly followed these two IG co-founders and sent them a message addressing my issue and asking them If they could just provide the “disable the heart” feature like they did the comments.
And Alas! No reply. Duh, “Okay, fair enough. I understand.” I thought. I mean I might as well be the one with a problem here. So I’ve deleted all my posts but one. I plan to unfollow some fellas too. Sorry in advance, nothing personal. Then I might eventually give it up, who knows? Only time will tell.
I’ve got no issues with twitter (Sometimes I take days or weeks without checking in —I love that. It’s perfect for me. I’ll try to leave that just as is.) or any other platform. It’s these 3 that have been such a pain.
It actually feels good
It does feel good. Yes, it does. That first month was such a blessing. The best gift I ever gave myself. I felt like I was living again. My life belonged to me once more and I wasn’t mindlessly following along.
I used to watch people walk, drive, eat, work while texting, as I so proudly managed to keep my phone in my pocket like a brick that could only produce music and pick calls. “Thank goodness for the insight.” I always said to myself every time I crossed paths with the other human.
I felt free, almost like I was living some other life. I got to actually talk to people more, and I can’t even start with the ideas that just began to rain down on me.
I was thinking non-stop. Epiphany upon epiphany. I also got the idea and the guts to join the innovation village in this period of self-revelation.
I can’t stress this enough
This was my problem. I don’t want to come off as a hypocritical person. I felt imbalanced and social media just made it worse for me. Maybe I’ll get back to it once I get a hold of myself because I was totally abusing it like a kid who’d just discovered porn (That’s another story altogether).
I tend to look at it this way: Picture a lover who wakes up to a notification on her spouse’s screen, driving her to tap and scroll through the chat, only to discover that Mr. Gundi, who is sound asleep has been cheating on her for months or possibly longer. So what does she do?
In the kitchen, on the table just next to the freezer lies a tool —a very sharp knife. She could either stab him in his sleep or make him some scrambled eggs with salad, await his awakening and then talk about it.
What would you do, given you were in her shoes? Sounds like what I need is a handle on my emotions. What I need is Emotional Intimacy.
Simon Sinek once said, “Social media is not the problem, It’s the imbalance.”
If only the programmers and product designers just focused a little more on value than trying to exploit the inner workings of our brain to make a buck, I’d much appreciate that. (I’ve got ideas for such a product).
I’ve got demons to fight and I have just the right weapon(s) this time around. Till next time.