The Social Diet
I geek out about human behavior, no really, I read anthropology studies for fun… these were the best classes I ever took in college. I have become increasingly aware over the past years about the impact social media is having on us and our kids. I took some major action in this area of my life recently, and deleted over 4500 people off my facebook and unfollowed all but maybe one or two celebrities on Instagram. I also unfollowed any accounts that made me feel like crap about myself… especially if it promoted things I cannot change (mainly that I’m not 22 anymore. lol)
I think most of us feel like we have a pretty good grip on social media and how it can fuck with our heads, how fake it can be, and what harm it can potentially cause our kids. I’m pretty pleased that my kiddo is not active on social media and shows no interest in it, besides watching youtube videos about gaming. The interesting thing is, I really don’t think that most of us realize what is happening when we browse our Instagram or scroll through our Facebook feed. We are being fed. Yes, like animals in an experiment.
What is Really Happening
This isn’t a claim I’m making it’s what the creators say they do, pretty openly, that they are creating a purposefully addicting service and placing new things in front of you all the time to see how you react. Now, before you say, “so what… it’s no different than TV or radio…” I beg to disagree. The difference with social is there is a constant feedback loop. You don’t have that with TV or radio. Your TV isn’t watching you (although some would argue that point, that is a whole different post) but Facebook… oh yeah, they are watching your every damn move.
Again, you don’t have to take my word for this, a quick google search will bring up hundreds or thousands of result relating to how social is causing you harm. The University of Pennsylvania released a study recently that revealed that people who spend only a 10-minute period on each of their platforms per day… were significantly happier and felt less depression and loneliness. There are dozens of similar studies to back this one up.
We Have to Start Paying Attention
Now here is the irony. Chances are you got here from some sort of social platform, right? Yes, I’m a huge pro-social media fan-girl… but here is the caveat. I’m only a fan if you chose to use your social media to genuinely connect with others and not just shoot your mouth off or compare yourself to others. Yesterday (at the time of this publishing) we saw another school shooting in Colorado. Many of us (40+ers) grew up with kids rolling into school with a gun rack in their trucks that were stocked. School shootings didn’t happen. So what has changed? This isn’t a gun issue, this is a mental health issue and we cannot keep ignoring what is happening and placing blame on a smoking gun anymore. Taking guns away, restricting how we get them is only a bandaid for what is really happening to our kids. My guess is that we don’t know how to help our kids so we figure, we’ll just take the guns away so we don’t have to figure that part out.
Okay… I’ll move on.
So here is how I remedy the social media mayhem into something more digestible for us all. You gotta go on a social diet. Yes, a social diet to get your priorities back in check. As you know, I’m a fan-girl and I love connecting with you all, but I also care more about your mental well-being than I do about your “like.” #truth.
Take inventory as to how much time you’re spending on your social spaces, how much you’re just watching… and not really “participating”… and then, cut your ass off like the drug addict you really are. Ouch. I know, but its an addiction you never knew you were being lured to, it’s not totally your fault. However, after reading this and you continue to use the way you do… it will be your fault.
Just limit what you’re taking in and spending time on. When you go to check your Instagram for that dopamine hit, call your friend instead or send her a text to let her know you’re thinking about her. When you check your facebook to see how many people liked your profile picture you put up 15 minutes ago… know what is really happening. *Did you know that Facebook keeps those photos up longer, and places them in your friends’ feeds with more regularity because they know it will keep you coming back to the platform for more dope? <— Ugly fucking truth right there.
Looking forward to hearing about how you reconcile your social diet for yourself… and how you feel as a result. Come back and let me know. Thanks for stopping by… and share this with your BFF, they need to hear it too. <3