My sister and I had spent the entire day in center city at the eagles super bowl parade. I planned on making a video of the experience, but my phone died.
We made our way to City Hall. Somehow, we were able to lock down a spot on a wall that gave us a great view of the parade and all the people. We stood there, in the freezing cold, for more than 4 hours. The parade had finally made its way towards us, and we let lose.
We screamed, we hugged, we jumped and everyone recorded the moment on their cell phones. Everyone except me.
I felt grateful. I soaked in that moment. I felt the chill in my bones and I was there to feel the energy. I was fully immersed in the experience and had no pre occupations of recording the moment so that I could share it with everyone else. It was mine. It was a day I’ll never forget.
After the day had ended, Alex and I grabbed an Uber back to my moms house in Roxborough. She was looking at all the pictures and it was in that moment that I finally felt ready to make the move. I have been contemplating this for months, maybe even a year. I said it out loud. I had spoken the unthinkable.
“Alex, I’m going to delete my social media.”
I woke up this morning and I made the leap. I signed onto Facebook and I deactivated the account.
The Battle for Your Attention
I read a study last week that people spend an average of 4 hours of their day actually working. I started thinking about myself and really analyzing my behavior. I recorded that I work much more than 4 hours a day, but there is no question that social media and the small distractions of the world certainly effect my ability to remain focused.
All of social media is designed for one thing. The entire system lives and dies on its ability to make you stop what it is you’re doing and start paying attention to what it is promoting.
Just pay attention to your own behavior. Most of you reading this already know that social media is taking away from your life, but you can’t seem to imagine your life without it.
It’s cyclical. It’s an endless cycle of dopamine hits and self comparison. We leave Facebook and scroll on Instagram. Then we check our email. Then we watch a video and before we know it, we’re back on Facebook again.
I really can’t do it anymore. I have too much I want to do and too much I want to accomplish. There is no way I can achieve my years goals while my focus and attention are being pulled in a million different directions.
It’s not just about Instagram pictures. It’s about the big red dot on the top right of the Facebook screen that I click on when I went there to find some information that I needed for work. It’s the news notification that shows up on the home screen on my phone. It’s the click bait tag lines that are meticulously designed to create an emotional response and get me to click on them.
Before I know it I’m angry about something and I’m distracted from my work.
Taking the Power Back
Ideally, I would love to be in a position in my life where I knew how to balance these things. It would be great to have 20 minutes a day where I could browse some pictures or see some video highlights of a friends trip. But it never ends up that way.
I always end up with me either comparing myself to someone else, or spinning down the rabbit hole. Remember, the system is designed to make you feel like you are missing out on something. It’s not that I am weak for feeling this way. It’s intentional. I’m supposed to feel this way. It would be like watching a sad movie and not feeling sad. The whole point is to trigger an emotional response.
I am taking the power back. In all aspects of my life. I am setting a new standard for myself.
I am no longer going to participate in social media – That’s it. I’m done. I’m not looking at it or posting in it. But there is an exception. I will start using social media for what it is. It is an advertising platform. I can’t totally delete my account because my account is the admin on the company pages I own. Aside for work purposes (which I am most likely going to outsource) I am finished with it.
I am not longer going to buy shit I don’t need – I am already a minimalist person, but I think there is still room to grow. If it doesn’t serve me, I’m not buying it. Period. I don’t need the jolt of dopamine I get from buying myself that at home pull up bar. I HAVE A PULL UP BAR IN THE PARK NEXT TO MY HOUSE!! I have everything I need. Instead, I will spend money on fresh food, I will spend money on investments and payroll on employees and I will spend money on experiences.
I am not longer going to kill time on the computer – Man I love Starcraft. Truth is, I feel like I have a good balance with playing games. But where is the value? Would that time be better spent reading a book? Maybe going for a walk? Maybe writing? Even better, would that time be better spent with another person. Having an actual conversation that doesn’t involve typing?
How much are you missing out on with time you spend on social media? Are you missing out on the smell of nature or the feeling of the morning sun? Are you missing out on time with your children? Are you missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you that you didn’t even notice because you had your nose in your phone?
The opportunity costs of spending my time and attention in places that provide no value to me are enormous.
Imagine a life that is completely fulfilled. Imagine a life in which you are in control of your time, your attention and your work. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish here.
When did we allow these companies and programs to treat us this way? When did we give permission to these people and tell them that they were allowed to show us what they wanted us to see and they wanted us to hear. That’s enough.
The verdict is in. Social media is bad for you. It’s proven. It correlates with depression and anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. Why would I allow this to happen any longer?
I will not. I am in control.