It's been a month since I decided enough was enough by way of my life on social media. I had watched my life go from regular 80's kid to full blown millennial madness and it was time for one of my tried and true personal experiments.
Deleting facebook felt right at first and truth be told I had done it several times in the past. It felt a little like quitting cigarettes, where you might have quit a hundred times before you finally got fed up enough to really quit.
Deleting facebook on my phone was easy, a little too easy. When I went to uninstall it the option read (disable) not (uninstall)... what the heck?! It would seem that many people are in this dance with the social media giant, and rather than fully uninstall and re-install the full application you could only disable it. As most people, it would seem go crawling back within 24 hours. All you had to do was click a couple buttons and facebook was back, and better than ever.
I was dead-set on that not happening to me, so I went after my phone like an otter tries to crack open an oyster. Every app had to go, permissions were slashed down to the point that the phone started to protest "if you disable that this device might not work properly!" My response "Good."
I had that phone culled down to next to nothing other than texts, phone calls and a new non-google email. It was no fun at all! It was almost a paper-weight! Huzzah!
What once constantly called to me like a vivid siren song now sat there like a lump on a log.
It didn't take long for me to start to get those cold turkey shakes, while I wasn't into full-blown tech addiction I was certainly hooked enough to feel a pretty intense detachment phase. Even as I reached out to friends and family via the older ways and got several responses it didn't feel the same. Gone was that finely crafted dopamine fix and I was feeling worse for the wear.
At one point I bottomed out and felt extremely depressed. Not having that feedback loop scrolling before me was depriving me of those little dopamine hits throughout the day and it was becoming more and more difficult.
As the weeks went on and the spring weather gave way here in Minnesota my difficulties began to melt away along with the spring thaw. I rediscovered some old passions, and took it upon myself to try and keep some secrets about myself for a time. Where the social norm is to go online and talk about every new idea you have and broadcast it to the rafters, I decided to take my new work and simply keep it quiet.
Once I got used to the new chemical loads running through my head and not having my every thought and emotion instantly responded to I decided I was much better off for the experience.
I spend my mornings connecting with nature, and my days working a day job and my nights are spent with friends and family. There are times where I have this strange sense come over me that somehow I am squandering an opportunity to somehow expose myself and my ideas to some sort of 'audience' but then I look down into the eyes of my newborn son and
I get this incredible moment of clarity... this is the audience that matters. This is my life and my family, and while it's fun to share that experience with others sometimes I realize now that most of that "sharing" isn't done because of an organic desire or need but driven by an addiction that is exasperated by an algorithm that is big social media.
I have realized how many pictures of my tranquil walks in the woods I would have "shared" that I decided not to share, and by removing that desire I removed the phone from those tranquil walks which has allowed for deeper thinking, and further adventures.
I have also seen how not sharing that flippant observation or idea has allowed it to take a different shape over the series of days and weeks as I continue to think about and refine a concept into something that might have never grown had I gone public with a concept too early.
I have also had a few really lovely conversations with people who were genuinely interested in the happenings of my growing family, as I have not posted one picture of my newborn son to facebook. I can have fun, impromptu talks with people who haven't already seen and heard all my personal news.
I am going to be striving for a balance between tech and humanity and I'll be erroring on the side of nature for better or worse. I may continue to use some of these platforms from time to time but I'm convinced that long-term continued use will warp your mind, something special.