The reason why we want to get off social media is because of the insidious way it eats up our time. A minute of scrolling quickly becomes thirty minutes and sometimes more than an hour. We suffer a feeling of guilt because we know we can be doing activities with positive consequences such as working out, catching up with a friend, reading a book, or doing the task we’ve been delaying all week.
Technology, including social media, is a wonderful tool we can use to connect with people and an avenue to communicate our passions. However, its addictive nature has the ability to counter its benefits: instead of the master making use of the tool, the tool commands the master’s attention.
Perhaps it’s in the nature of man to get addicted to something. Our brain has yet caught up with the advancement in technology and abundance we now enjoy. Never in history has man’s needs been readily satisfied. In the past, much labor and energy were required to get food and shelter, and once we had it, we naturally wanted the security of more, for they are hard to get by. Thus many of us fall into many forms of addiction our outdated brain still crave for: food, social media, gaming, porn, shopping.
My Personal Case Study
Instagram is definitely the most addictive among all social media because I always feel like I’m just gonna scroll for a minute, but it often turns to 30 minutes or so, and this can happen on any hour of the day. The quick and easy-to-search visual stimuli from Instagram also fuels online shopping. Vision is the most potent among our senses, and when you see what you desire, your brain can trick you to believe you need it. Beware of “Add to cart”, it’s often an act of impulse.
Facebook follows very close, as I’ve fallen into a limbo during the many evenings I wake up at midnight and impulsively open facebook to watch back-to-back algorithm-computed dopamine-inducing videos (that was a mouthful, but accurate). However, I cannot deactivate my Facebook account since it’s where my favorite people post: my barkada, my BFFs, as well as fellow filmmaking and fountain pen enthusiasts. On top of that, I need an active account to maintain my Facebook page where I post my creative work (such as this), as well as for Marketplace transactions for myself and my employer. Having a real profile, a couple of hundred friends and realistic posts are necessary to not be mistaken for a fake account. Facebook is also ingeniously tied into the login of other apps and websites I use.
YouTube is another one. I’m grateful I’ve gotten off the tech channels, but I’m still consuming lots of content on Minimalist Homes & Lifestyles, Spirituality and Filmmaking. But isn’t the accumulation of wisdom useless when it is not practiced?
Hence, my desire to do a fast.
The Experiment: Social Media Fast
Yesterday, I deactivated my Instagram account after more than half a dozen false starts desperately trying to get off my addiction. Afterwards, I removed all Social Media accounts on my phone, including YouTube. Instead, I left my communication apps like Messenger, Viber, & Telegram on my phone.
My tablet is my designated consumption (and sometimes writing device), it’s where Netflix, Viu, Amazon Prime and YouTube are designated to be consumed. Which is great, since I don’t like bringing my tablet to bed and I rarely open it during work hours.
Lastly, all social media such as Facebook, Reddit, and Google News, will be accessed only on my Macbook. I think this creates enough friction for me to get off my addiction because it requires much more effort opening things on a browser, more so because my laptop is designated a standing desk.
What am I trying to get out of this experiment?
That’s the thing, I don’t know yet. When was the last time social media had been consciously set aside in my life? I cannot remember. 🙂
Let’s see where this will leads to! Cheers!