Yesterday I uploaded a profile picture to all of my social media accounts.
It was a strange feeling. Ever since I first discovered social media, which really extends back into the 90’s Usenet, I’ve been hooked. Hitting refresh on a page to get the latest musings, eventually replaced with Facebook having an interactive newsfeed so I can just scroll forever, has been my drug of choice. (Well, besides coffee.) In fact, my first stop of the day is my couch to surf social media. Coffee in one hand, tablet in the other, I catch up on what’s new with my friends by scrolling the newsfeeds of Facebook and Twitter.
Recently I set some goals in my life: Improve my videography. Improve my video editing skills. Improve my photography skills and my photo editing skills. Write more. Have a nice summer. Weeks are passing and to my surprise, my skills don’t appear to be doing more than trickling forward. And frankly, my output, you know? The editable footage and photos? They haven’t increased much either.
While I was scratching my head, I added a new goal to the plate. I decided that while I am getting up two hours before work each day, rather than sit around drinking coffee, I’d just go to the gym instead of my couch. Thirty minutes there had to be better than thirty minutes on Facebook while I drink coffee, right?
And that’s when the lightbulb went on. Exactly how many things am I not doing because I’m on social media waiting to see how many likes I got on a particularly witty post? The answer is: more than I’m comfortable with. In fact, I’m convinced that my lack of productivity in my personal goals may be related to how often I let my wandering mind tap the little blue icon instead of letting my wandering mind pick up a pen and my notebook. Or my camera.
Yikes. Harsh insight. I deleted the apps off my phones and iPad with all the trepidation of an addict stepping on his crack pipe. (I remember an episode where Dog the Bounty Hunter made an addict crush his crack pipe under his boot. It made an impact.) but I did it.
And thus, I decided to unplug for the first time in about twenty years. (Remember I had Usenet before Facebook.) It’s just a week, so this is hardly about me going dark. It’s just a little experiment to see what happens when I don’t let everything feed my distractions cycle.
For example, I’ve written a blog post while I drink my morning coffee.
Have a lovely day.