Health & Wellbeing, Politics, Technology

Anti-Social Media: Too Much Time Online?

I am acutely aware of my social media addiction. I don’t really shy away from calling it that – my iPhone usage statistics don’t lie, and checking for notifications is unfortunately second nature to me. Online it’s so easy to switch into autopilot: I constantly find myself logging on in order to do a specific task – reply to a message, create an event – and then I’ll get sidetracked by an article, video, or a photo I’m tagged in and suddenly 30 minutes will have passed, and I have completely neglected the task I logged in to complete in the first place.

It’s something I’m trying to change. I don’t want to waste hours of my day, my week, my life scrolling mindlessly through content that is mathematically calculated and consistently fine-tuned to keep me online, making me miserable, earning Facebook more money. With every Facebook react, every message I send, event I am “interested” in, I am freely surrendering my own personal info to big business(es) that I consider hugely unethical, immoral and far too powerful for their own good. Maybe ‘addiction’ seems an exaggeration, but knowing I would struggle to stop using social media if I were forced to indicates to my reliance on it. This scares me, to be honest.

I’ve recently been taking  a number of practical measures to minimise my time on Facebook, and maximise time on more stimulating, rewarding and worthwhile pursuits: reading, writing, learning piano, practicing guitar, languages, studying, exercising, and being outside. Well, that’s the plan anyway…

Below is a free plugin I downloaded of the Chrome Web store which replaces your entire Facebook news feed with a randomly generated inspirational quote. It really prevents me getting sucked into the vortex of news articles, Facebook events, comment feuds – without a dynamic news feed, Facebook quickly becomes pretty tiresome.

Also this particular quote above really resonated with me and I got all Dead Poets Society carpe-diem-seize-the-day on that shit. My time is mine, and at the end of the day, the only one I can blame for wasting it is me. I am alarmed by the speed at which my life is going: time is weird. What the heck? I’ll never be a baby, a child, or a teenager again? Young adulthood is cool and all, but also it doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and while it might seem like there’s an awful lot of living to do right now, I swear I’ll blink and be 25. Or 30. Or 40. Woah. 

I resign myself to the fact that even if I may never feel like an adult (whatever that is), I’ll increasingly be read as one by others, and – unfortunately – be expected to behave like one? 

Anyway, I figure that it’s not that I don’t have time to do all the things that I want to do, I just often lack motivation, or I am distracted by the allure of the internet. By trying to mitigate that pull of social media and limit my exposure to it, I can hopefully create better habits for myself. Again, time is precious, and while sometimes I just want to potato out and scroll, I also know it’s not good for my mind or my mood in the long term. I have no shortage of hobbies, special interests, or pursuits to keep me entertained… it’s all about balance. Work and play, pleasure and pain, all those clichés. 

Hmmm… I better go read a book?

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