A Social Media Sabbatical

I decided to deliberately not use social media for an entire weekend. From Friday afternoon to Monday evening I did not scroll my Facebook time line, tweet on Twitter, tumble on Tumblr, or post on Instagram. I did have a prescheduled post, but it did not require me to log in since it was automatic. I got a few notifications about posts from groups. I ignored them, well I attempted to ignore them. Next time I will disable notifications. Oh yes there will be a next time. Forcing myself to avoid social media was enlightening to say the least.

What I learned was that I am addicted to social media. I found myself unconsciously picking up my phone and opening apps, then closing them because I made a promise to myself not to participate. It was like my body and mind had been hijacked by social media. An unseen force moving my hands without my brain being aware until it clicked that I had opened an app. I yelled in my head, Hey what are you doing?

This automatic motion and mindless actions reminded me of when I was a party drinker. Alcohol made me behave in a simular way. Don’t get me wrong, I still drink a glass or two of something now and again but I do not let myself drink more at one time. The result isn’t that I can’t, rather I choose not to. I did not like being out of control of myself. It is unnerving. I felt the same way when I realized I had opened social media like a zombie.

Also, I discovered that my contacts and “friends” did not miss me. I only received a couple of messages on Facebook Messenger from people who do not text and use that as their primary form of communication. While that is a form of social media it is not mindless scrolling. Messenger is actual communication. That was it. No tagged photos, no memes, no posts on my time line. The ads to tempt me to buying things I did not need kept coming. I have friends. I know that I have people who care about me. That isn’t what I am talking about. It is the lack of contact that surprised me. I realized that it is me who reaches out most of the time to the people on my friends’ lists. That was a little disheartening.

The absence of contact for “friends” proves that I am not as popular on social media as I thought myself to be. I know I don’t have thousands of followers. I am not a famous author, yet. My social image is inflated in my head. I am truly a nobody to many.

I have decided to extend the break for the rest of the week. Maybe I will have withdrawals, maybe not. Maybe I will delete it all together, maybe not. My plan is to limit scrolling to thirty minutes once a day. Post only what is relevant to my writing and my family.

Social media is a drug of the ego. It has one goal. To get humans to mindlessly interact, disengage from life and give up their money all while believing that they are standout important to each other. The reality, no one cares, our health is declining, our brains are losing capacity, and our wallets are shrinking thanks to social media.

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