I posted about my attempt to purge social media addiction from my life, back in early October. The idea was to limit the amount of noise and distractions. With Twitter especially, my attention span was turning to mush. Every few minutes it seemed, I had to check-in.
Leave it to good ol’ NPR to host a program one Sunday afternoon that got me started on a new path. Being a fairly attentive student of life, I’ve got a track record for applying research findings in my daily life.
For instance, in my bachelor days, I’d rely on Men’s Health magazine to help me dress better and learn how to cook, all while holding a shake weight. You know, stuff that chicks dig…?
The good news for me is that I tend to stick with habits that seem to make life a little bit easier. Think of things like exercise, sleep, limited screen time, eating healthy, flossing, yada yada yada. With my “social media diet”, I can chalk up another new habit. And share with you fine readers all of the glorious benefits of leaving that noise behind.
My Social Media Addiction (A Progress Report)
Twitter in the Shitter
That’s right. I said it. That app hasn’t made a reappearance on my phone. Now I will admit however, that I might have snuck a few sessions via Safari here and there.
But I can count on one hand how many times that occurred. And most of those times were while waiting for American Airlines to get their shit together while I was stuck at the O’Hare International Airport terminal (my second home, not by choice.)
My initial strategy has worked out pretty well. I’ll check in on Twitter for a few minutes each day from my desktop, while working on blog stuff. No fuss, no muss.
The trade offs are this: I lose out on all the traffic-generating cat litter trivia that one must relentlessly post, but I gain in concentration and thereby avoid pissing off my wife for not listening to her because of Twitteritis. Guess which trade-off yields the most REAL benefit?
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy checking in on Twitter each day on my desktop for those precious few minutes. I enjoy the community exchange with my friends in the blogosphere. But I have to limit my engagement to those precious few minutes. It seems to be working out quite well. I have absolutely no twitching or other side effects from Twitter withdrawal.
Even better, I have to think my “exceeds expectations” review this year at work had a little something to do with improved concentration and an ability to get shit done down the home stretch. Think a constant Twitter check-in would’ve helped me along those lines? I don’t think so.
Facebook Face Punch
Here’s a little Mr. Money Mustache cartoon violence for ya. Bap! In ya face, Facebook! Bloody nose? Sorry. Violence is bad. Let’s just give you the middle finger and call it good, okay? No need to be cro-magnon Philadelphia Eagles fans here…
I sure as hell don’t miss Facebook. It’s become an orgy of conflict and nonsense all rolled up into a big digital ball of shit. The last time I tried to engage I let gravity pull me into some political battles with family and friends. That was all I needed in my life, right?!?
Besides, we all know now how the Ruskies have used Facebook to court the millions of gullible fools who can’t discern information from garbage. There’s an interesting thread out there challenging Zuckerberg’s notion of bringing the world together. Facebook instead seems to be creating more tribal divisions. Jesus.
My interaction with Facebook is limited to posting new posts in an automatic fashion. I may pop in to promote the Airbnb with friends and family from time to time, but that’s about it. No Facebook in my life is about as close to Heaven as I think I’ll ever get. Well, next to being in the Alps with Mrs. Cubert… 🙂
The Airbnb Experiment required me to add more apps to my phone. Among them, Airbnb of course, but also Google’s Wifi station monitoring app, and a smart-lock app (look Ma, no keys!) Needless to say, I’ve got my hands full responding to booking requests and making on-the-fly pricing adjustments.
I don’t really mind that at all, since it’s part of the big picture real estate side gig. Maybe the point of mentioning all this, is that I now have even less time and wherewithal to bother with social media. I’ve got to stay focused on my day job, while also maintaining the real estate businesses.
Whew. (Did I mention I’ve also installed Venmo, to receive rent payments? It’s super-duper convenient!)
Social Media Addiction: Reflections, and Inspiration
Admittedly, I was looking for a reason to be less tied to my phone. I’d read enough and experienced first-hand the lousy trade offs of social media before I stumbled onto that NPR piece in October. So it’s not anything anywhere near quitting smoking or other terrible addictions.
Still, I look back over the past four months with a sense of greater freedom from the constant barrage of updates and miscellany. There’s still work to do, to be sure. My next potential target is to get back to a low information diet. I seem to have replaced an old social media habit with a new “gotta check the news” one.
The Washington Post gets visited probably a half-dozen times throughout the day from my phone. Maybe if it weren’t for the fact we have a Mel Brooks version of Game of Thrones happening in D.C. every day, I wouldn’t feel so compelled to tune in. If only our politicians could get back to being boring and slightly effective…
Are you thinking about giving up social media, or at least reducing its presence in your day-to-day life? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!