For those of you who are just reading the title of this piece, many of you may just stroll by and say to yourself, well I have heard this message before. In some instances, you may be correct where how many articles, blogs and pieces of writing can one write on those giving up social media. The common response for many is that’s your choice, I choose to use social media and it does make me happy, but does it really?
My Introduction to Social Media
I will start on a positive note, yes social media does have its advantages, its how many people stay connected to the world, to family and friends and how many get their news. Although social media is not a new concept, my earlier memory of any kind of social media included Myspace and Facebook. Obliviously Myspace is in a sense no longer around in the same and original capacity it once was allowing you the user to create your own very own personalize page, giving many their first introduction to coding, allowing the user to infuse pictures, music and text, my actually from what I remember had the music group The Black Eyed Peas with a big picture of Fergie and I also have Chewbacca, fun times.
Then along came Facebook which at first was a good concept allowing you to building a arsenal of friends and non friends giving you the chance to post pictures, memes and text. Progressing over the years it still allows you to do that but is so much more then what it once began with as it even now has a marketplace and other tools. My personal favorite came along around the same time which is Twitter which at first I had no idea what Twitter was and had no interest until I really started to experience different forms of social media and I was immediately hooked.
My Introduction to Twitter
I love that I have the ability to do what I love which is write short messages, add in a picture, a meme, a video and send across the globe to my followers in Australia or the United Kingdom, what a rush. Yes
to me its like a rush, hoping that I hear back from those around the world and my followers to like my post, retweet and follow me. At first I love the rush of just wanting someone to like my post and I felt even a bigger rush when I was retweet affirming that I put out a good post, but slowly but surely my attention became more and more drawn to Twitter slowly going to different sects of people.
Those sects I speak of are those are those areas people congregate at who have the same interests, such as writing and blogging like myself. It was so wonderful being able to talk shop on my favorite books, how my manuscript was coming along, getting advise from fellow writers, I felt like I belonged. But over the course this last year it all changed especially with life changes that took place last year from losing my job to politics in the United States and most recently COVID-19. It was no longer simple just to stick to my group.
You see I love to learn, and I Love to learn about others, interesting and non-interesting facts, world events and alike. Twitter offered me the opportunity to see what was happening in the world including what my favorite celebrity or writer was saying. It was interesting to see how liberated people were on Twitter and Facebook as freedom of speech stared me right in the face as many freely exchange ideas, thoughts and opinions. Over time I felt brave enough to interact with those around me, share my thoughts and opinions and naturally many agreed with me and some didn’t.
My Decline and Obsession
I soon became obsessed with Twitter, going from login in for an hour a day and then suddenly I was check every hour, then every half hour and then every ten minutes, I needed to see what people were saying. I didn’t realize until now how an old part of me was being affect which was my manic depressive side, a side that never fully goes away but have under control for many years now san medicine, but living healthier. I have never done drugs, but the feeling was as if I was on crack cocaine or at least what I think what it would feel like checking my feed constantly but then it go worse from there, I needed to feel my opinion validated as being right.
So I soon became the person and the people we hate on social media, I became a troll , posting on others pages putting messages I know the other party wouldn’t agree with, although they didn’t block me I felt this new rush. Yes I know it’s not nice to troll people on social media, but I needed that validation, I needed to feel powerful. Now mind you I was Never profane in what I write, such as foul language or grotesque I was just my words, my thoughts and opinions with pin point precision to those I disagreed with.
The Negative Impact
I am not surely how I traveled down this road, but I know I didn’t like. What I think really affected me going down this path was the world of politics. As many of you know we are in an election year, where its good to be cruel to your opponent especially from our Twitter in Chief president who uses twitter as his bullhorn to world spreading his messages. Along with that added the millions of opinions in which many spread hate and over times those messages are amplified so much it can really get to you.
For those reading this you may say, hey I can relate this has happened to me and I gave it up. Others may say well that is not me because I know how to control myself and if you can good for you. Others know the effects social media can have the mind of each of us, for some it may not affect them. But ultimately there is an effect which many social media creators know that is exactly the response they are hoping for because it keeps you logged in at all times.
I was finding myself constantly wanting to see my feed at all hours of day even at three in the morning to the first thing I did when I woke up, it was not healthy. I guess one thing that opened my eyes but I was recently watching this class on productivity. One of the main points was the affect social media has over our productivity and especially being at home working remotely you can imagine the lack of productivity it can cause as I was getting in the habit of again check my feed all the time. It is said that those distractions can take the average person about twenty five minutes to get back up to speed once you put it down meaning if you check your phone every hour, you lose close to half your day on social media distractions.
I would never want to affect my lively hood of my job and focus, I believe I am smarter then that and I need to stop and take control. It is my belief that social media intends for all the users to have this behavior because then again how would they exist if we all just logged off and never return they would cist to exist, so they have ways to keeping us glued at all times. It’s called algorithms that feed you just the right kind of information to keep you going, isn’t that why you always see just the right kinds of feeds to keep you going like news and politics which causing you to react with posting, commenting and so on, it’s like crack and I refuse to fall for it any longer.
Social Media has a Purpose
Now I will say this social media is a tool and yes it can be used for good or bad, I am not saying it’s worthless it does have some value, but my opinion is that it has done more damage then good in our society. From a business standpoint it allows the business to basically reach the world very cost effectively which is wonderful, but for the average non business user trying to meet people, get information and to feed your appetite for information it can be overwhelming and can cause someone like myself to dive back in depression quickly losing focus on what is reality and what is not such as how people live their lives , constantly comparing ones live to ours when that is not reality.
This has becoming my woke moment and I just hope I can continue to stay away, but If I choose to use it maintain a limit and moderation on social media to have a healthy mind and attitude. The worst part I can see from using social media was my moods, my anger over basically seeing the world crumble and those who spread disinformation and hate online. What is sad is we all share this earth, but we can’t even get along as human beings.
Social media I know is not the enemy, it’s the effect social media has that turns people into something unworldly which is scary. I hope those who read this sees this as my struggle and if you use social media and you don’t display anything I do well good for you it means you have a healthy relationship with social media. I am sorry to say that many today fall into the trap I fell into and some display worse behavior then myself, just turn on the news which is another form of media so don’t get me started, but you get the point.
Focus on What is Important
Put down the phone I say, read a book, learn a new skill, spend time with your family especially now during our COVID days and not give up our minds, body and souls to social media we can all do better to maintain those important relationships and realize that many on social media are not the relationships we should be focusing on, but who am I to tell you otherwise we all have to follow our own path to healthy happier minds. As of right now I have completly unplugged from social media, but what makes this experiment so difficult it I can never fully get away from the media, especially because its any time you turn on the tube or you go to your computer which as many of you know media cross references other media infusing social media in your browser or on the Tube, but I will try my best to avoid it for now. It will not be easy but I believe it will be healthier for me in the long run, hoping my anger will subside and I can refocus on what is important. I hope this blog was helpful to those who struggle with social media and media in general to curb our addictive tendencies.