What is social media stopping you from doing?
Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to change your life…
I was going to write one of those articles. You know the kind — ‘I stayed away from social media for x amount of time and an amazing thing happened.’ It’s not very real though is it?
In the end it would just be me telling you a story of how much better life is without it. I’d give you some tips and advice and encourage you to curb your digital habit. You’d read it, maybe share it on social media if you were feeling nice and then you’d just go back to the way it was. We all do in the end.
Instead I’ll tell you what really happened.
It had been nearly a week. I think?! I wasn’t really counting. I just realised I hadn’t been looking at it.
Usually Facebook was my go-to. I used to look at it every day. I even ‘hacked’ my Facebook news feed. They have this feature where you can choose to see posts from certain people first. You can chose up to 25 people to bestow this privilege on. I selected sites that I got the most value from. Things like TED talks, self improvement pages, Copywriting pages, as well as some news and science pages.
After that, every time I opened facebook I was met with an entire timeline full of really valuable stuff. Loads of articles on things I wanted to read and learn about. And it changed constantly. Needless to say I could spend literally hours on Facebook and actually be learning something.
But that was the problem. I was spending hours and hours and hours on it. In the end, when I realized I hadn’t looked at it for a few days what I had accomplished instead was phenomenal. I had pre-written like an entire month’s worth of posts. That none of them got used in the end is neither here nor there, that’s not the point I’m trying to make here, and you know it, takes a breath, adjusts self, Sorry.
What opened my eyes most about the whole thing was that I didn’t really miss it, instead there were things I actively didn’t miss.
I didn’t miss the digital barrage. That seemingly endless wall you can scroll and scroll and get trapped in videos and memes and drama and fake news.
I didn’t miss everyone trying to stuff their news down my throat. I don’t care if that makes me a bad person, there are just some things I don’t need to know. (I’m speaking to you person who posts pictures of your ingrown toenail — no one needs to see that!!!)
I didn’t miss feeling bad about not contributing to Facebook groups. (I’m a mess OK, these groups move fast, always posting, where do they even get the time?!) Whenever I see their new posts pop up I just feel bad for being a lurker or for being too dumb to contribute anything.
I didn’t miss all the adverts and endless lead magnets. (That’s what they call them in marketing. Lead Magnets.) They are those ‘adverts’ you see on Facebook, the ones where you give your email address to get a free something-or-other. It’s usually a badly put together document in PDF form, it looks slightly prettier than something you could have made yourself if you’d thought about it. But now they have your email address be certain you’ll get a string of follow up emails urging you gently (or aggressively) towards buying their products, depending on how good the copywriter is.
I haven’t missed the mindless sharing.
I haven’t missed being continually reminded that Facebook has lost it’s magic for me now. Since I’ve started to understand marketing I’m beginning to see Facebook for what it is. Just a load of brands trying to get your attention and a bunch of people you barely know being allowed to get all judgmental about the way you live.
I nearly forced myself to stay off Facebook for another week. Who knows I could maybe write an entire novel in that time. But I quickly relented. The numbers in that little red circle mount up and you find yourself wondering how the hell you have 746 notifications. What the fridge is going on in there, hiding behind that little blue F icon…?!
This time though, I’m acutely aware of the amount of time I spend mindlessly scrolling, I don’t get so lost in the miasma because I know my time is better spent elsewhere.
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