Just about two weeks in. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’re all deleted. Not that Twitter or Instagram were really addictions for me. But it seemed worth deleting them all so that the Facebook addiction didn’t just resurface as a Twitter addiction or the like.
Saw a quote by Walter Kirn a few months ago (via Twitter, ironically enough): “Twitter sells conflict. Instagram sells envy. Facebook sells you.” I keep thinking about it.
Especially in that first week, a thought would surface every couple hours. “I thought of a point to make. I should put it on Facebook. Oh, right. I’m not doing that anymore.” “Something funny just happened to me. I should tell everybody on Facebook. Oh, right. I’m not doing that anymore.” “My foot’s asleep. I should complain on Facebook. Oh, right. I’m not doing that anymore.”
Feels like mind control. An addiction that gets you thinking your every thought is something you need to hand over to the world’s message board. Get out there and sell yourself. Although it’s not even really selling yourself. It’s just putting yourself up to be sold by somebody else. There’s not a lot of profit to be had for you, it’s mostly for the machine. “Here is my personality. Here are my opinions. Here is what I have to offer. Go check if anyone wants it, oh almighty algorithm. I’ll be here crossing my fingers for likes.”
By virtue of the effortlessness and the immediate payoff, shallow though it may be, it grabs your mind. It gets you thinking differently, grabs those fleeting moments in the day, so that in those ten seconds at the traffic light, those three minutes brushing your teeth, those ten minutes in the shower, you’re thinking not about things to do in your real life, but in your digital one.
It’s been falling away a little in the second week. Those spare thoughts that crop up are less often about amusing the Facebook feed than they are about an idea for a short story, or a joke to tell at an open mic; a way to sell myself, at least, as opposed to letting someone else sell me.
As I suspected, I’m not drawn to this blog nearly as much as I was to Facebook. The posts here likely go comparatively (entirely?) unnoticed, perhaps leaving me less motivated to stay active here as opposed to on social media, but that’s fine. Fiction writing, screenplays, and comedy are more worthwhile pursuits anyway. The day only comes with so many bursts of inspiration. Better they be for life than for digi-life.
It’s still early, but these are the thoughts floating around my head now. The resetting of thought patterns is going on, and as two weeks turns to twelve, we’ll see how my habits change. So far, it’s been quieter, sometimes boring or lonely, but feels like an important rewiring of the mind. If I do return to social media after the hiatus, I think I should remember to do cleanses more often. The first week of each month or something, perhaps.
We shall see.