Over the course of the last month or so, I’ve taken a step in a different social direction – I’ve deleted, yes you heard me right, deleted both the Twitter and Facebook apps from my iPhone, hence the substantially lower volume level of communication originating from me.
In my day job, I find myself interacting with lots of new people every day, but very few of them on a regular/repeat basis. Being in front of new faces every day, and not in the office much, I haven’t formed the traditional ‘work wife/husband’ relationships that many of my peers have who work in other industries; that person or group of people that know you better than anyone else, because you spend so much time together, a pseudo-family if you will.
Human beings are a social creature, and I found myself leaning on the social media channels for my daily dose of human interaction. I was replacing the gap of close interpersonal interactions in my own life with surrogate friendships forged through these channels. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t ‘fake’ friendships, they just don’t have the same dynamic as in-the-flesh human interaction. Rather than true in-person interaction, I was living in a world of ‘like this’ or ‘comment on that’, and doing so became an automatic, almost pre-programmed response. These channels of communication had my brain at peak levels of interaction 24×7, and had become a distraction from ‘getting away from it all’ – the mental burden was tremendous! I was literally never shutting down. To that end, I owe a bunch of people an apology for being ‘in your face’ to the extent I was; it was annoying, and I’m sorry. In many ways, over-communicating had become an addiction, and was a behavior that I needed to modify.
So what’s next for me – well, I’m going to continue using social media as an avenue to interact with my peers, but I’ve got to be more diligent and controlled about how and when I use it. It’s no longer ok for me to stare at these apps all day long, all the time ignoring what was happening in ‘meat space’ around me. That was the ‘heroin’ that had me hooked, and I was mainlining it!
I will continue reading and posting, but in a much more controlled fashion, paying attention to how these technologies captivate my attention, and not letting them take control. Social media doesn’t affect everybody in the same way it did me – but in retrospect, there were warning signs. Technology has the potential to improve our daily lives in so many ways, but if you can’t put the phone down, close the app, and walk away, it’s time for a digital detox, so that’s what I’m doing.
And for now, that’s all I’ve got to say. See you in a later post!