When social media becomes anti-social, it’s time to take a break.
Social media’s promise of better connection is broken. The countless hours I spend scrolling are hours isolated from the world directly around me.
Staring into the hungry void gnaws at the foundations of my psyche as my body atrophies from lack of motion. My mind spins with the apparent successes of those I see (and my failures in comparison). The sharply shining light of my screen slices my thoughts into ever smaller fragments, until I can’t string enough together to make sense of my own place in this experience called life.
Those hours are the antithesis of sincere connection. I can sit on a beach in paradise and be in exactly the same place I was in my bed: scrolling into infinite emptiness.
5 REASONS I’M TAKING A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
Do any of these resonate with you?
1. I spend too much time on it
I average over 3 hours a day on my phone. Most of that time is compulsive scrolling through social media.
Can you imagine what I could learn or experience if I did anything for three hours a day, every day of my life!?
The platforms are adding more and more addictive elements to eat more and more time. Now there are daily updates as ‘Stories’ on Instagram, Facebook and even Whatsapp (all owned by fbook). This means that people are spending more time watching snippets of other peoples’ lives, while also spending more of their lives capturing snippets to show to other people. Does this make any sense?
Some perspective about daily usage: 3hrs a day is 21hrs a week, 3.4 DAYS per month, 40.8 days out of every year…which is 12.5% of a year (if you count sleep, that adds up to almost 20% of my waking life…W.T.F)!*
If I don’t change, that is
20% OF MY WAKING LIFE!
HOT TIP: You can track your own time usage on iOS by using the Moment app or on your computer by using the Creature Kingdom Timer chrome extension. The results might shock you (they did me)
2. I am addicted
Social media is designed to be addictive.
I’m hooked on the rush of the refresh. I’m always searching for the next dopamine hit of a little red dot. I’m itching for a ping to remind me of my own existence as I sit in self-perpetuating solitude.
And when the ping comes? After only a moment I’m wishing for more, because the next hit is always just around the corner, and I’ve gone numb from living this way for far too long.
My desire to create the perfect perception of myself through a carefully curated instagram feed has been superseded by my deep need to really live. my. life.
The photos, likes, shares and comments will never add up to anything more than another ping on the radar of this addict’s quick fix.
3. It’s not making me happy
Being on social media does not leave me happier than when I started.
The more time I spend consuming the less time I spend healing, creating, self-caring, connecting with people in real life, exercising, swimming, surfing, reading, learning, loving, cuddling…
Basically: social media IS NOT REAL LIFE.
The human animal needs 9 critical things (according to the Blue Zones) for a healthy, long and happy life. Social media pretends, but it doesn’t seem to really help me with any of those.
4. I consume more than I create
The more I consume other peoples’ sharing, posts, videos, music, photos, stories, etc…the less time and energy I have for my own creations.
I spend hours watching ‘how to’ videos about songwriting, video production, social media marketing, ‘how to have an epic instagram’, etc…but those hours mean I’m NOT ACTUALLY CREATING!
I am a creator, it is intrinsic to who I am. Time to shift the balance back in the direction of creation.
5. I want to be present in my life
Yesterday at the beach, I saw a holidaying family lying on loungers. They were all on devices, with headphones in. Each isolated from the cool breeze, the gentle susurrus of the ocean on the sand, the rare gift of relaxing time together…the whole experience of life happening around them.
More and more, everywhere I go, I see people jacked in and checked out. What’s the point in travelling if I’m chatting with the same friends, browsing the same social media channels, spending the same amount of isolated time plugged into my dopamine-injection-device?
As far as I know, there are no reruns on life. All I get is this one, and I’m getting old enough to realise that my time is finite and I want to live it in the present.
TIME FOR AN EXPERIMENT
Which brings us to right here, right now.
I’m taking a break from social media. In a few hours I will deactivate my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for one month.
Perhaps it will only remind me of how much value social media brings to my life. Maybe I can’t actually do my job without being on social media (if I can’t, perhaps I need a new job)? Maybe I’ll love it and will extend the time? Who knows? One way to find out…
The things I am looking for live outside of my phone and inside of my heart, friends, music, lover, body and nature.
Let’s see what the result of this experiment will be…
5 WAYS TO STAY IN TOUCH
I am not becoming a hermit and disappearing into a cave in the mountains (quite the opposite, in fact).
You can still enjoy all the things I create and connect and share with me. I aim to do more sincere connecting, not less!
It is my hope that being liberated from this addiction will give me time and energy to work on healing my chronic pain, creating lovely music, learning to manage depression, writing more poetry…and all the things which are part of a life well-lived.
Here are 5 simple ways to keep in touch:
- If you’re a friend, you have my number. I would love to speak or meet up 🤙💬💑
- Subscribe to my creations on Youtube 🎶🎥
- Become my patron on Patreon 💞(this is where I will remain most active online)
- Listen to my weekly podcast 🎙(honest conversations about humanness)
- Subscribe to my newsletter below so I can email you directly 💌⬇️
A special thank you
I want you to know that I do this with huge gratitude to every one of you who shares my journey through social media. Your comments on instagram, twitter and facebook have often brought me to tears and laughter.
It’s not you, it’s me (well, it’s my addiction to social media, but ya know what I mean).
So please, do stay in touch via the channels mentioned above, or even just by leaving a comment below.
My intention with this is to DEEPEN our connections, to bring them into sincerity, love and empowered action.
Thank you for your presence, may we all learn and grow together and may my experiment inspire you to find your own way to a balanced, healthful and long life filled with love.
Your companion on the journey
PS: did any of my story resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below and please do share if you think this has value (yes, on social media, where these conversations need to happen).
NOTE: I am not saying that social media is bad for you or anyone else. This post and experiment is for me, because I, Nathan, need a change in my life around my relationship with social media and my phone.
* thanks to Martin for the data correction, I love having a data-analyst for a friend 💛