Social Media Detox
Well, as usual, my timeline since my last post has been pushed back for the umpteenth time. Mostly because I have focused on life, family, and career growth over the last few months, now that I am mostly settled into a more viable groove, I’m back to what I love to do most, and that is to write about experiential revelations pertinent to me (and maybe some of you).
Social media has been a full-on crap storm for the last few months. It has become a progressively toxic place where you play pin the tail on the donkey with cow pies and argue which one of you is dirtier. I’ve had to remove myself from the equation because I noticed that with so many streams of attention feeding, I needed to step back from much of it. I was hard-pressed to stay engaged with family on Facebook, clients on Twitter, and Instagram. Modify posts so that I could be on Pinterest and be on other places all the time. Oh yeah, and also keep things professional on Linkedin because it has literally gone the way of being a career-based Facebook platform.
Frankly, the attention suck had become too much. The additional provisional bias in speech and labeling things as one thing or another has made it even less appealing to me. Recently, I liked and commented on my bank's page, an MMA post, and a friend's vacation photo on Instagram. On my next post to another page to support a friend, I got flagged for spamming and being extremist with my content. I was upset by their wording. We all know that these fact-checking agencies have no bias whatsoever, so I went to comment again and was put on probation for 14-days as well as shadowbanned. I took that as a blessing.
Last fall, I took the approach of deleting my Facebook personal and professional page. I got so much hate and backlash and was told that I would kill my coaching business and online presence. I agreed that it might be true; however, I felt it needed to be done. I have not returned to Facebook, and now it may be time for other areas to follow the same removal process. I’ve actually done this with Pinterest and other platforms because they really have been feeling like a distraction from life.
Let me explain further. If you have ever had to detox from something, be it from an allergen, carbs to cut weight or your favorite food, you notice the tendency to try and fill that void. The pull can be psychological, chemically, and internally like a wormhole. I’ve never done drugs, but I can imagine that a similar psychological construct can happen when you stimulate certain levels of epinephrine or dopamine within your system. You want to have more and get that physical/runner's high. I was right.
Am I under a spell?
The process for me has been excruciating. Like an addict looking for their next fix, the on and off sensations of needing to be on my phone have been triggered more than once. I have been looking for the little red number to let me know that I have a message, post, or some other need to check my phone when nothing is pressing anymore because I am closed off. Yet the twinge remains inherently strong. Since I am a little mad at times, I decided to take a solid dose of beta-alanine with a nootropic to focus on writing some papers for my class, and I noticed the sensation overrode what I thought I needed to do at that moment.
As the weeks have gone on, I began to wonder why my body and mind were doing what they were doing. Am I under a spell? You could call it that; however, in many ways, it is full body indoctrination. During my current studies in digital forensics, some nuances are becoming clearer as the days go on. Everything in our digital lifestyle is intentionally set up to keep us, permanent customers. They shape the icons a certain way, make sounds linked to certain functions, and keep light gradients set at certain wavelengths to stimulate you as well as keep you on. The clearer thing that has come to my mind is that instead of you purchasing a product, you are the product. I take snippets from a mock investigation that I did within the outlook and Gmail interface. I was extracting data to compile a timeline analysis of events that happened for a company. My timeline analysis was made to see how certain vulnerable information had gotten out of the company and was published on a competitor's website. Again, it was a mock investigation but very pertinent to what could happen in a data breach scenario in most companies.
What I noticed were a few things:
1) Everything is recorded.
2) Everything is viewable, even deleted items.
3) Deleting information makes humans and AI fill in the gaps and feeds into Locard’s Exchange Principle. (The presence or absence of evidence tells a story of what happened)
4) Very few things you do on a computer or online are secret
5) Most data ends up somewhere and is analyzed by something or someone
6) If something feels weird online, it is weird
7) Anyone can mimic anyone online, so be careful on how much you feed the system
This post, I am noticing now, can feed into many areas, but to stay cognizant of my thoughts, I will stay the course by saying as much as we think we need social media or electronics, they need us more. I’ve been going back to the art of being mindful of my separation from things and getting out more. Given the desert summers can be blazing right now, but it is good for humans to be out and mobile. If anyone I know professionally or personally reads this, please know it was not you; it was me. That sounded cliche in many regards, but applicable to all of us. I listened to Cal Newport the other day on a podcast, and he said something that struck me to the core. He said, if it does not feed you forward, then it is detracting from your potential.
I will take that advice and reinvest my energy into other things. Right now, more than ever, work, life, family, and education are top priorities. If you’re feeling drained and like you need a boost, then maybe a social media or digital detox is right for you. Maybe I will or maybe I won’t get the account back, but no matter this has been a blessing in disguise.
Wishing you well on your journey,