The Social Detox

For the first time since sometime in 2007; I deactivated my Facebook account. Its been exactly a week since I deactivated the account and I am surprisingly still alive. I thought giving up smoking was hard, but as I struggle to give up sugar, I realised sugar addiction is stronger… but social media; that is in a league of its own.

I must admit, its hard to not “just quickly” reactivate my account because there is a deep sense of “FOMO”. Its like scrolling through drivel and knowing what everyone else is doing or complaining about gives a sense of something that I cannot explain. Humans seem to thrive on drama. I don’t know why, but we revel in bad news. I honestly don’t think I am only speaking for myself. But we also seem to thrive on knowing what everyone else is doing. I cannot fathom why. I am 100% guilty and I still have Instagram to keep tabs on things on the life and times of those I follow. But I feel like I have more control of the content that ends up in my feed.

I first thought that if I stopped following news sites, it would be better. But Facebook has no boundaries and would suggest posts for me. Posts that I tried to avoid. I think that this pandemic has brought the worst out of people. To be honest though, I can go back to so many posts I have written in the past and I have thought someone pulled the plug and humanity is going down the drain. There is just this public platform where everyone and their pet that has an opinion can post it and the misinformation spreads way faster than any virus could. We all want to blame lock downs and isolation for the great depression that everyone is feeling, but truth be told, part of the problem is having too much time on ones hands to get sucked into the drivel vortex of vitriol and trolling.

So in the sprit of trying to reclaim boundaries and choose the content I scroll through, I made the decision. When you want to de-activate your account, every option for why you want to deactivate has a proposed solution. Like if you aren’t getting what you were expecting, there is a recommendation to find more friends. Of if you want to just take a break, Facebook will automatically reactivate your account in 7 days. You really need to have some strong courage of conviction to leave that platform. I am not the first and I won’t be the last.

How has this week been? There has definitely been a sense of loss. Like what do I scroll through while I wait for the kettle to boil, or wait in queue, etc. I reinstalled the kindle app and I decided to satisfy my need to scroll by reading books. A while ago I started reading real paper books at bed time to reduce screen time, so that has stepped up a bit. There was also a sense of anxiety, I have been feeling anxious the last few weeks from the therapy, but that not knowing what is going on type of anxiety. Like I am missing out on important information; so random because there is nothing important on Facebook for me; I don’t need to advertise, I don’t buy anything either. Nothing in my life will fall apart if I am disconnected.

Facebook was great in the beginning; a way to connect with old friends and people who I hadn’t seen in 10 years, but those who I really want to stay in touch with has my phone number. We have become so reliant on this social platform to communicate.

When I listen to Jamiroquai’s song “Virtual Insanity”, I always think of how reliant society is on technology for everything and its this part of the song;

Futures made of, now, virtual insanity

Now we all, we seem to be governed by a love

For these useless, twisting, of our new technology

And now there is no sound, for we all live underground

Anyways, more rambles from the busy mind. Lets see how week 2 goes. Step 2 will be to delete my account altogether. But one day a time.

Update: Facebook account has since been deleted. And it has been for a week and honestly, the reality check in the last 2 weeks; of all my “friends” on Facebook, only 1 person texted me to ask if I had disconnected because he initially thought I had blocked him, but when his wife couldn’t find me either, he realised it was me and not them. The reality is that on social media, I think we are all in it for ourselves, and when we remove ourselves, no one even notices because there is just too much noise. I didn’t disconnect to be noticed, in fact that didn’t even cross my mind until now, but it was just a reminder that we invest far too much in those platforms and there is so much disconnection in that kind of connection.

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