I have a problem.
I am a social media addict.
I love the likes, and I like the love I get from the comments of something I shared. There is science behind all of this. Dopamine (the pleasure hormone), is released everytime I see that little red number next to the icon of the app that I unconsciously fire up many times a day. I want more, and I can’t get enough. A like here, a share there and a glowing comment over there. It all adds up to congratulations on a job well done, a little piece of validation that I am on the right path.
But I’m not.
I’m tired of being a social science experiment.
A few years ago I wrote a blog post comparing social media to smoking. It became my top read posts by a long shot, and it went semi-viral after being shared on Hacker News. And even now, it still gets many hits a week. Looking back, I was very wrong with my comparison. Social media is not like smoking at all, it is more like alcohol, and I am a social media alcoholic.
Social media is a communication lubricant that filters our reality. It strips away the bad so that we only focus on having a good time. Alternatively, like alcohol, social media can also alter our reality so that we focus on the bad and we have all met those kinds of drunks before.
While I pride myself of being a happy social media alcoholic, my projected reality of always being a good person is far from the real me. I am validated continuously for good, and while I am the life of the social media party, my bad failures rarely get noticed, I am too coward to show them to you. Because there is already much negativity online, I don’t feel that I should air my trails publicly. This tug-of-war causes an imbalance within me, and it is one that I cannot seem to get right within the social media world.
As a social media alcoholic, it appears as though my solution is simple, stop using social media. If I can’t handle the drink, then I best stop drinking and that is why I am walking away from it all. While the solution seems simple, the execution will be far from it. And that is why, for the next year, I vow to break the scroll and rid myself of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. These are the only social platforms that I use. As far as Slack and Facebook Messenger, these are communication tools. I do not need to get right of my telephone to get rid of the junk mail that ends up in my mailbox.
I hope that by removing the social media beer goggles, I can finally discover who I am without any more validation than what I allow myself. I want to remove the seeds of doubt that I plant myself when I wonder if what I am doing will be approved by others.
I know what some of you may be thinking, “oh here is another nutjob saying he is quitting Facebook if you are so serious about it, then why do you need to announce that you are leaving?” Well, I think it is polite to announce to the party hosts that I am leaving the party, I wouldn’t want them to worry.
So, what about this blog? Well, I believe that this blog serves as my life journal, I have shared some very dark secrets about myself on it, and I have never felt the need to be validated by what I post on here. My blog is my safe-zone. To me, it is merely a diary. And I figure since I will save about 15 days of my year (1 hour per day scrolling timelines, by 365 days = 15.3 days) by not wasting my life on timelines, I will have much more time to post. I am still blown away by the amount of time I spend on social media, and at one hour per day, I know I am very conservative.
This resolution is going to be a very tough journey, not because I will no longer have the validation that I am doing right in life, but mostly because social media is so entrenched into my daily living. I know at times during my year I will feel like an outcast and may even feel a little lonely. But I will welcome the real conversations that I will have when I speak to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. Everything will indeed feel new to me and we won’t have to rehash each other’s timelines. It will be nice to have a conversation again; hopefully, I still remember how.
So as I detox from my social media alcoholic ways, please follow along through this blog. Hopefully, from my shared experiences, you may see what your life could be like if you went social media free. I am sure it won’t be pretty, and I am sure it will be very challenging at times, but I hope somewhere along the way, I will understand who I am by breaking the scroll.
Would you even dare to break the scroll?