Our social lives have gotten a lot more complicated over the last decade, why is this? It seems that all we try to do is make things easier and for the most part they are. Uber is there to pick you up; social media tells you what’s going on in real time, Eventbrite lets you RSVP with ease, it’s all just a click away. There is a catch to all this though, one that you might not have considered as more of your time disappears into the digital toilet. Why are we are busier than ever with all this tech to assist us? It’s because we are leading two separate lives.
Your analog self and your digital self both require your full attention and too often these days they conflict. For example, your analog self is enjoying an excellent meal at a restaurant with an old friend, but your digital self demands that you snap an Instagram pic to share with a lot of people that don’t care all that much about what you are doing for dinner. Your old friend should have priority over your Instagram picture of duck fat fries. Then why the self-involved crappy phone move?
We have all become infected with this virus, a little digital demon that lives in your head that demands your attention and worse, your endless contributions to “the feed.” The challenge now is how do we manage this virus, because there is probably no shaking it unless you move to rural Vermont.
The first thing to do here is to get a handle on just how bad your digital self is jacking up your analog day, here are some behaviors to look out for to help diagnose your situation.
- Do you start to suffer separation anxiety when your phone is not on your person? In other words, can you be without your phone for a couple of hours and be ok?
- Do you check in more than twice a day on FB with your location?
- While at a concert do you always pull out your phone and make a terrible recording that you will probably never watch again?
- Is your entire FB wall filled with posts that are only about what you are doing? In other words, you aren’t sharing anything with the world except your selfies and whereabouts.
- Can you go for longer than two days without being on your social media accounts?
- Do you sometimes feel depressed, anxious or left out when you are looking at your FB feed? These feelings are a real problem; check out this study to learn more about the psychological effects of your selfie selfishness.
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions you might be giving your digital self too much consideration, and it’s time to shut that little demon down.
If you think about this for a minute as two separate lives, it all starts to add up in a pretty frightening way. If you are spending more time focused on what’s happening on a social media platform, then you are neglecting the real you, and that’s a bad idea.
The digital you can’t taste, touch, feel, see or hear anything, it just demands a contribution to the feed that gives you an artificial feeling of fulfillment. Your posts, almost 90% of the time are just bullshit that no one really cares about; if you are honest with yourself you will see the truth in that.
Ask yourself what feels better, a hug from someone or a “Like” on a post you just made? It’s the hug. Obviously, it’s the real touch of another human; it’s the real thing, not the digital substitute we have been utilizing for the last decade. We have been isolating ourselves the entire time, tricking ourselves with artificial feelings from often frivolous likes or comments.
Social media has backfired for a lot of us, and we have forgotten to be “in the moment” and enjoy ourselves in reality.
So how do we start to take control of the situation and put our analog self before our digital? The first step is simple, take some time off to reboot yourself and readjust to the world around you.
Put the social media apps on your phone in a folder marked NO or simply delete them for a week and live your life as if you were in 1998. Your phone should be used for email, calls or the occasional text, but that’s it. You can do this! FB, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter can live without you for a week, I promise.
Now comes the tricky part, make some plans with your friends to go hang out. It’s time for the real you to have an uninterrupted dinner, movie night, concert or even a festival if you can get to one. It’s time to focus on your social skills again without the media part, enjoy the company of others and realize that your digital self is kind of a dick that needs to be taught a lesson, a big one.
What will happen next will be a type of freedom you haven’t felt in a long time, maybe since 1998. For lack of a better metaphor, it will be as if you are walking out of a fog and into the best party you’ve ever been to, the “real world” party. No, not that “Real World,” that was the start of a totally different reality problem.
Music will sound better; conversations will be more meaningful, your friendships will deepen to a new level, and those feelings of anxiety or depression will dissipate. Hi, analog you, nice to see you again!
When you go back to your digital life, you will start to see it a little differently for the time suck that it truly is. Hopefully, this little experiment has helped you to reevaluate social media and your place in it. To be clear, Facebook and the others are great tools and even entertainment when used with care but always remember to keep the digital you in check; it will make a huge difference in just about every aspect of your life.