Saturday, March 16, 2019

Confessions of a Social Media Addict

The night before Lent, I decided to give up social media for 40 days and nights.

I've considered it in the past, but since this is the first time in 10 years that being socially present isn't a necessity for my job, I could actually go through with it.

Y'all. I wasn't prepared.

A few epiphanies 9 hours in:
  • I think I have legit, full-fledged Attention Deficit Disorder. This is not a drill. I'm serious. Why else would I do something for a little while -- let's say an hour, max -- and need to jump on another website or app to see what's happening while I've been away? 
  • If a photo is not posted socially, was it ever really taken? #facepalm It's startling to realize how many of my life's snapshots are being captured with the primary intent to share rather than for my own preservation.
Photo by Rachael Crowe on Unsplash
More revelations one week later:
  • I spend a lot of time on social media. Like...a LOT. Exhibit A: in the past week, I've read four books. That doesn't count podcasts listened to or articles consumed.
  • I hadn't even thought about social media as a sharing outlet until my friend asked what outlet I was using during this fast. At the time, my answer was either "I'm not," or "Talking to people in real life." Today, I'm finally starting to feel an itch to write. I think that's a good thing. (Speaking of, and for the record, I also don't see blogging in my case as social media unless I obsess over comments or analytics, which I haven't had a problem with in the past.)
  • Speaking of categorizing social media, did you know that iPhones put texting and Facebook in the same group? That's weird to me. I mean yes, I'm interacting with people, but I'm also choosing specifically who I want to share things with.
  • I have been getting my news from Twitter. This actually became clear a couple of hours in when someone was talking about a current event that I had no idea had happened. Once I downloaded a few news apps and turned on some alerts, I then realized that I was itching to see what this reporter or that commentator had to say about news items. Weird.
And at the week-and-a-half mark:

  • Today was probably the first structured event I've attended post-social fast. My typical M.O. is to capture great shots, tag appropriately, hashtag as needed, and share ASAP. Guess what? That's not requirement! (I know. Shocking.) So here's how said event went: We went. We talked to people. We walked around and saw the sights. We ate. We laughed. I took a few pictures when a view really struck me. We left. We ran an errand. We came home. I glanced back at my pics, but only to see if I got some really good ones, and even then I didn't share them with anyone (yet).

    No tagging businesses, people or event venues. No making sure I included all relevant hashtags. No picking up my phone at random during the event. 
All of this is freeing, and a little disturbing, and an extremely curious experiment of psychology and sociology. And a week and a half in, I'm thinking I'll adjust my social exposure much more, even once Easter comes.