Medicine was discovered and patented to help ease pain and profit from exponentially. Unlike food which is both healing and destructive, social media is often compared to dopaminergic drugs that contribute to cycles of addiction. As opiates, nicotine and alcohol will never be non habit forming, social media will never be coined, “medicinal.” So the question is: how and in what form can and should social media be used? I want to get to the bottom of this cookie jar.
I have a new pep to my step and the only two notable things that have changed in the last few months are, 1. the unexpected amount of confidence and boundaries that came with my boob job and 2. my recent respite from instagram which naturally makes me question…
So what’s the big deal?
We’re sideways convinced that we all need social media: to keep up with family, to stay relevant, to promote a business, to find a business, to be in the world…to be anything. Someone. More times than not I’ll think of an idea, unoriginal like most, post it and then get this cathartic pressure release off my chest – like ahhhh. My thought is released, like I was keeping it captive, like if I didn’t share it I’d be doing a disservice to my following, like I was saving someone from a shitty day – or gasp – saving them. I HAVE to post this, I’d think…and if I didn’t have anything to post I’d come up with something to ensure I was contributing. The content hamster wheel if you will. That’s a lot of responsibility my tiny speck of a dot on the planet puts on herself is it not? To assume my contribution to a bagillion dollar platform effects that much change. “I’m important,” begins the narrative, “Right?”
Right?.…I hear the little girl wondering. I’m important. Important enough to warrant a like, a heart, a comment, someone who’s worked for her success, someone worth talking about…Right?….says the little girl wondering.
At first I felt impassioned, like I was blazing a new trail – proud that I had gotten “clean” off of a harsh street drug. I even blasted a newsletter off to announce, I QUIT. Despite having relatively safe boundaries; not stalking people, not posting TOO much but not being a ghost. I considered myself consistent. Safe. I wouldn’t gawk at the beautiful women taking up the majority of my algorithm, impossible to escape the ultra refined glass skinned 5’10” butt lifted tatted queen. I wouldn’t do the poor me sob story, if I was only like her. No. I USED instagram. I fed that beast. I gave to it. I put the token in the slot machine daily and held my house open for peanuts. Then I kept giving tokens because folks: we’re gambling and social media is an antidote to loneliness, boredom and the crisis of identity we all face unless we’re too busy trending. Please not me Mr. Devil, I’m too unique for this shit.
“Am I important?” asks the little girl. She wonders. She grew up in a 6 thousand square foot house to 2 working parents and a very successful, gregarious, flamboyant brother. She felt like a burden. She was told she made life more difficult. Her inner gps was off a few degrees. She wasn’t that smart. She made friends but failed to keep a lot of them and those she did, she clung to. She discovered she had a couple quality skills like: playing with her food, making it pretty, ensuring it was healthy according to her deeply entrenched nutritional research meanwhile maintaining a figure her father said her genes wouldn’t allow. “I’ll show him,” she thought. To the man who touted thin is healthy. I’ll prove the impossible without losing my mind. Then I’ll become a therapist and teach the world about THAT: How not to lose your mind in the pursuit of a body you can be proud of.
Because at the base of the well is that happiness we’re all searching for – right? She digs.
Oh and she could write too. Important. Enough to warrant. Like. Love. Comment. Share.
I’m learning in my time off of the apps that not only did I not need social media, social media has been more of a hindrance than a catalyst to the work I’m so jet set in doing – the work I thought I was using social media to promote the work that got me out of bed in the morning. Use use use, open click scroll check – “how am I doing,” we ask Instagram, before we even ask ourselves. We are the product. Did you know that? We’re not selling, we’re being sold.
Things I’ve noticed since detoxing from social media:
Increased sense of wellness, spunk and presence
Increased sense of self
Increased presence – I’m WITH my work, my kids, my animals, my projects opposed to juggling
I read more therefore I learn more
I have more conversations in real time
I feel less impulsive
I make more phone calls – which challenges the chronic texter in me.
Less notifications = less dopamine + serotonin = contentment & peace
I feel more honest
The method adopted is a quantitative online survey with a demographically diverse sample: The results reveal two reasons for social media distraction: social and task-related distraction. We find individual differences in these reasons for distraction. For social distraction, affiliation motive and fear of missing out are significant predictors, while for task-related distraction, self-regulatory capabilities and FoMO are significant predictors. Additionally, typical distraction situations are non-interactive situations. Strategies used to reduce distractions mostly involved reducing external distractions. source
Down Sides of not having social media:
FOMO is real. Sometimes that voice creeps in to remind me how few friends I have in real life. Facebook, really? 1.7k friends? When I took the time to reach out to the friends I have in my immediate circle I not only felt better, I felt genuinely connected.
Creative outlets need tinkering and time.
I feel unimportant which triggers that little voice in that little girl in that little body on that little spec of a dot on the planet who’s father said: you’re not special…I have to remind myself I’m special to the handful of people I speak to on a regular basis.
Who’s on who here? When I envision being ON social media I see how social media is actually ON me.
Social media leads to rampant infidelity – we claim we’re monogamous…but really? How much attention is too much before you’re having a bonafide affair or cheating on your girlfriend/boyfriend. Be honest here.
How I’m using social media now:
I’ll be transparent here. I missed taking photos and capturing my life. I missed having a place to put those photos whether or not they changed anyones life, they contributed to my story. Here’s how I’m navigating social media as a business owner, mom and human in general.
The big one: I don’t have the apps on my phone
I upload content from my computer, I don’t add to my stories – mostly because it’s complicated from a laptop and the images/text get cut off. I don’t want to download the apps to ensure they’re being uploaded properly
I primarily use photos from my professional camera ensuring my photos are high quality and taken with intention
I no longer post long form content on short form platforms. I’m a writer after all therefore the bulk of my work goes here.
I catch myself checking my camera, my email and notes app so I still have some behavior to address
I check my accounts every few days, rather than every few minutes. This makes a WORLD of a difference and has everything to do with accessibility. Think about it – if alcohol wasn’t available at the grocery store, gas station, convenience store, drug store and every restaurant – do you think we’d drink as much as we do? Accessibility is everything. If you want to change a behavior you have to put things out of your reach.
Social media isn’t the problem. Just like junk food isn’t the problem. We all have free will. No one is forcing anyone to pick up their phone anymore than they’re forcing Snickers and Ho Ho’s down our throats. *stay tuned for my upcoming Blog Post, “It’s Not Your Fault – how not taking responsibility over our food consumption is the reason we’re overweight.” We need to take a stand and recognize the immense amount of control we do in fact have and use it for what it’s for – boundary setting, agency & empowerment.
I am part of the world like everyone else and susceptible to the deleterious impacts of distraction, mind body & spirit (+professional). We can talk about food and therapy all day but these issues impact our collective consciousness. The constant pull of attention and the need for validation are deep seated issues rooted in a longing for love, connection and intimacy. As you read in my disclosure above there’s also that little person inside driving a lot of our need for acknowledgement. Human to human contact is not just important, it’s integral.
AI is probably here to stay which is scary AF. If we thought false validation was a problem, it’s insane the amount of credit we give these little robot monsters. Can someone please tell me the benefit we reap from computers taking over humans? As I listened to Simon Sinek say in a podcast with Lewis Howes, the author writing the book is no longer the hero…because they’re no longer writing the books. What a tragedy!
Do me a favor. Open your hand. For each finger name someone close to you. Call one or two of them today. Don’t text. Don’t DM. Don’t heart their photo. Connect with them. Share something challenging. Share something special. Ask them how they’re doing. Tell them how and what you’re doing. This is vulnerability. And it’s sacred.
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