On Sunday I wasted about 5 hours testing a new social media app.
I’m generally disciplined with my social media habits, so this was a whole new experience. And I went to bed on Sunday feeling awful: wired, anxious and in a state of FOMO. Most of all, I felt distracted.
I felt a sense of comparison, inadequacy, misalignment, and all the emotions that I’d researched a few years ago on the detrimental use of too much social media. These feelings were why I started limiting my usage; Sunday definitely took me back in time.
It got me thinking. How long will this all last? Or is this only going to get worse?
Some of my friends are totally addicted. Yet, more and more are disconnecting from social media. They’ve had enough, and have no real purpose to be on there.
I’m still in two minds on whether the work to be on social media is worth it. Because even if used in a curated, strategic and disciplined way, I still don’t know if the long-term risk is worth it.
Meaning, despite having a filtered feed across my accounts (so I only see what I want to), all the clever psychology of gamification and flashing lights is still at play. Even though I use it as a force for good, the low-level brain adaptation may not be worth the positive price.
I sense a rebellion brewing. I don’t know when, but it’s coming. It has to. This technology can only manipulate the emotions of nearly 2 billion users for so long before more start saying no.
In a conversation about this yesterday, I revisited a brilliant TED talk by Cal Newport, who has built an incredible body of work with no social media at all. Perhaps there’s a lesson or two for all of us here. Maybe I’m writing this as a memo to myself. Either way, go check it out here. It’s worth a watch.