Social Media Detox Diary: Success?

The weekend was the hardest time to go without social media, as I figured it would be, because I was not nearly so distracted by other things as I am during the week. Friday was actually the most difficult, but I got through it. I didn’t cheat.

In honor of the last entry (for now) in my Social Media Detox Diary, I looked up some interesting quotes, and, as a fun and creative outlet, created these quote images:

There were too many quotes to choose from and all of them presented different points of view: how social media is good, how it’s bad, how it connects us to people, how it keeps us from really connecting with others and with ourselves—and it’s not any one of these. It’s all of these.

I remember noting on Friday that “I can have my social media apps back on Monday!” and immediately after, writing down, “(If I’ve already noted that here, then, that just serves to show that I still think about them often…and probably will still be addicted once this is all over. 🤷‍♀️).” Well…

🤷‍♀️

I redownloaded the apps yesterday morning and spent a few minutes with each, but not an excessive amount of time because I was working. After I got home at 2:00, I spent more time with them, but not nearly as much as I used to; instead I sat down on the couch with my iPad to read. This morning, I glanced at Facebook before work because my mom tagged me in a post, but I have yet to open and scroll through any of the apps. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

I think this social media detox helped remind me that there is life outside of what everybody posts online. I think I took Penny to the dog park once or twice without my phone, even, and just spent some time enjoying the sun on my skin and watching her romp around and chase a tennis ball. Yesterday I did take my phone, but instead of checking in with Facebook, I tried to write. After a while I just put it away because there were better things to pay attention to.

It’s too soon to tell whether I’m still addicted, I think. Sure, maybe I’ve gotten better, but it never takes long to fall back into old habits. It’s harder to break a habit than it is to make one, after all. But we’ll see how it goes.

There are always better things to pay attention to.

Social Media Detox Diary: Boredom

Ever hear that boredom is actually good for you? That it stimulates creativity? Well I can tell you firsthand that it does!

Still trying it, actually. Without the distractions offered by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I find myself getting bored more easily and more quickly.

Tuesday, for example, day 2: by 4:30 in the afternoon, I hadn’t checked any of the forbidden sites even once, even while I wanted to while I did laundry and watched scary movies at home after work. Even at work, while I continued to review ¡Manteca!—probably because poetry is generally not the most engaging form of literature, and half the poems in that book are in Spanish anyway so I don’t understand them.

But it’s true that boredom stimulates creativity because I started to think about my own writing projects. At that moment, though, even my current one felt monotonous because I’ve been thinking about it so much lately, and so I thought, “Which of my stories is the least boring?” Bailey’s, of course—the most outrageous piece because it’s not one that I take seriously at all, which is the entire point. So in that moment of boredom, I picked up pen and paper, and quickly jotted down multiple ideas that came to me, and notes for where to go next, what to add, what to change, and so on. After I finished my task, I took a short lunch break and carried pen and paper with me into the break room to continue.

But by 4:30, at home, I wanted to check…even though I did not.

The same for Wednesday while I ate a Sinfull Bakery Everything bar for lunch at the Cougar Grounds coffee shop on campus, between work and my class: I wanted to check social media, and at first was at a loss for what to do while eating, because usually I could read or look at my phone. Maybe I ended up going through my email. I don’t remember, but I know that I didn’t click over to any of the sites, and I remember wondering whether I’ll be less addicted after this week is over, or if it will be the same as before? Honestly, probably the latter—but whichever, I think at least a part of me will be happy to have them back.

As for yesterday, I actually received an email from Instagram with the subject line: “See new posts from…” The last time I got an email like that from them was, well, never. Probably because I usually check that one multiple times a day, and here I haven’t looked at it since at least Sunday. I also noted yesterday that this week, I’ve had one or two dreams where I screwed up my challenge, but, fortunately, I have not.

No violations today either. More to come about my weekend soon… ☮️

We Are All The “Sick Boy”: How Many Likes Is My / Your / Our / Her / His Life Worth?

After a generously long holiday break, I started back at work today. So, naturally, I say hi to my coworker Sylvia—she usually gets there first, I get there second—and sit down at my desk, log in to email, clock in, whatever—and very quickly want to check Facebook.

(Perhaps also Instagram, my favorite. And I may as well sneak a peek at Twitter, too.)

Let me not, and say I did. Or better yet, not, and admit that I did not, and don’t later either.

Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, better known as The Chainsmokers, recently released a new single called “Sick Boy” and I listened to it on my way to work this morning. It could be a misinterpretation, but, it sure sounds like a observational commentary on the world we live in. A rather bleak commentary, but, such is our current state. One article I read juxtaposed lines from “Sick Boy” with lines from “#Selfie,” one of their first releases, and I will excerpt some of it here:

I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes
Do you think I should take it down?
Let me take another selfie

—“#Selfie”

Make no mistake, I live in a prison
That I build myself, it is my religion

Welcome to the narcissism
We’re united under our indifference

—“Sick Boy”

Examining the lyrics this way makes it sound an awful lot like we have trapped ourselves in this prison of narcissism that is fueled by an addiction to social media, and to the feedback that we receive on these (usually idealistic, usually false) versions of ourselves that we project online. Worse: the majority of us does not care—and furthering that, the majority of us does not care that we waste hours each day curating these versions, and using them to interact with other idealistic versions of people online. Maybe they think they know us, because they see what we want them to see—but the reverse is also true. All you know of them might be no more than what they’ve decided they want to show you.

Well, I’m tired of wasting those hours. I don’t worry so much about my online relationships, partly because I have the naïve tendency to want to see the best in everybody and partly because my Facebook friends are people I know in real life. Also because Twitter is more impersonal, and Instagram, which is also my favorite, is just photography. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but, if the picture is a careful curation as well, then do those words still have the same meaning? (And anyway my Instagram feed is gorgeous. Not my photos, mind you, but the people I follow; my feed is like visual zen.)

So, I’ve decided to try that experiment people do where they stay off social media for an entire week. And I’ve almost completed the first day! Sort of. First—some guidelines:

  • None of my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or Pinterest feeds. I deleted the apps from my phone when I got to work this morning, even though I know I had at least one notification on Facebook. It will still be there next week. My coworker Eloísa showed me a cute video on her Facebook in the middle of this morning, but I deemed that okay because seeing a single video on her feed, over her shoulder in her office, is a lot different from me clicking over to my feed and then just mindlessly scrolling through it for 20 minutes.
  • Facebook Messenger is more of a grey area; I don’t use it often so I’m not that concerned, though I do use it to communicate with two Creative Writing friends at UH. I sent a message yesterday and saw that I got a reply a few minutes ago, but I will see Andrew and Kelsey on Wednesday and we can talk then. Meanwhile, they’re my friends on Facebook so maybe they’ll read this post and know what I’m up to.
  • My blog posts are automatically shared to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, so this post will go up even though I won’t be logging on to those sites. I won’t be seeing any “likes” or comments for the next week, though, so if anybody would like to leave me a response, it would be quicker to send me an email or to leave it as a comment on this site.
  • I suppose blogging is technically a form of social media, but I actually really don’t scroll through my WordPress reader feed at all, so that won’t be a problem. Plus, I want to use my blog to document my adventure!
  • Games like Dice With Buddies—which I really only play with my mother anyway—are okay. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I don’t chat.

I guess that covers about everything.

So, aside from the incidents I’ve already mentioned, Social Media Detox Diary for today:

  • Between noon and 1:00 p.m. at work today, I was checking an ePub of 2017 title ¡Manteca! against the published book and came across a line of poetry I immediately wanted to tweet, and I had to stop myself. Instead, I texted it to myself so that I would remember to tweet it in a week, and then thought, maybe I’ll turn it into a cute Instagram post instead because I can have more creative freedom that way. Dylan pointed out that if I’m saving it to post on social media for a week, I’m not really detoxing well. But, baby steps…right?
  • When I got home after 2:00 p.m. and was eating lunch, I turned on the TV and still immediately felt the urge to grab my phone and scroll through Facebook and Twitter and Instagram while eating—never mind the fact that they’re not there anymore. I didn’t, of course. But I wanted to. Then I was concerned about getting on my laptop because of how easily I just always click over to Facebook, but I’ve successfully stayed away from it all afternoon and evening! Even though I’m missing Instagram the most, I think it’s been easier than I thought it would be.

Let’s see how I do tomorrow. Better yet, let’s see how we all do tomorrow.

Life is worth more than any number of likes, retweets, comments. I hope I’ll remember that this week and do some real living for a change. I hope you will, too.

☮️

🖤

Inspiration Citations