Facebook-less and content: two weeks on
My facebook detox is going disturbingly well. I say disturbingly because I didn’t realise how much crap I was feeding my brain until I went off it. Without the daily (sometimes hourly) dose of fake news, bad news, argumentative people and general annoyance that comes from spending too much time on social media, I am noticeably less anxious about the state of the world and I’m sleeping better. All because of one innovative little app…
That was tongue in cheek, of course. It’s been a long time since anyone has considered facebook merely an innovative little app. Has anyone else watched The Great Hack? I decided to limit my social media before I watched it, but once I did I had to stop myself from rashly trying to delete every trace of digital me from the www. I say rashly because we all know it’s far too late for that. It is hands down one of the scariest documentaries I’ve ever watched. It’s also what my dad has been saying for years, but you know, generation gaps and all.
This whole thing has made me think long and hard about my online activity and attachment to my phone in a way that I’ve previously ignored, because how bad can it possibly be, right? Everyone’s doing it anyway so if we’re screwed, at least we’re all screwed. But that’s not a rational way of looking at things – we know this. How many times did your parents say to you, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them blindly? (teenage me, trying to prove a point: YES I WOULD!) Just because most of the world is doing it doesn’t mean it’s creating an environment we want to live in – it’s actually usually the opposite.
Although I’m still on instagram, because I’m not bombarded by everyone else’s over-inflated opinions on everything along with the bad news, I don’t find it stressful or overly time consuming. I have a quick scroll through the cute pitbull videos and my friends’ pics and I’m done. I also unfollowed accounts that weren’t making me smile every time I saw them, so I’m only putting in what I want to get out. I spend less time on social media overall and therefore less time on my phone. That in turn made me realise that I’m spending more time looking around me at the physical as that digital separation anxiety eases. I’m finding it easier to put my phone down when I’m doing something important, like playing with my daughter.
This is such a simple experiment, but I’m honestly blown away by the significant changes in such a small space of time. Of course, I don’t blame this all on facebook – the problem is more pervasive than one platform. The growing peace I feel also comes from not reading news websites (including ‘news’ websites – yes Daily Mail, that’s you) and instead just catching the headlines on the radio every other day, because unfortunately the news today – whether it’s real or fake – is 90% depressing. I’m creating a bubble to live in, because the world that we’ve created for ourselves is just not a place I want to be spending a lot of time in.
We spend more time on our phones than we do taking in real life around us. None of us is immune to it. We’re starting to wake up to the intrusive infiltration that our digital addiction feeds into our deepest consciousness, but we do it anyway. We are just like the lemmings who would follow their friends off that proverbial cliff. What has occurred to me in the last two weeks though, is that while we may not be able to escape it, we can mute it. And honestly now that I have, I’m just happier.