Social media. After years of forgetting its existence, I jumped back into the void.
Wow, it’s intense out there, isn’t it? Exciting, sure. There’s so much amazing content, uplifting stories, beautiful creative folk making the world a rich and rewarding place to inhabit. I feel like I could take a detour and never return, never stop reading. And the cat memes and baby goat videos. Love, is not too strong a word to describe how I feel about those.
All of that bright, shiny, distracting chaos. Perfect for those times when you’re stranded at the dentist and the magazines are seven years old, or you’re bored waiting for the pasta to boil, or you need an answer to a burning question.
It is like a siren’s call. Check me. Look at me. Actually, it’s more like a toddler’s demands. Too cute and loud to ignore. Not great for productivity though.
I’m stating the obvious here. But every hour spent checking your feed, is an hour you’re not putting precious energy into reaching your goal, unless your goal is to build something on social media, in which case go for it.
But if you have a dream to write and publish that book, compose a beautiful song or symphony, lift the world with art that reaches into the soul, then time on social media needs to be limited.
Because the darker side of social media can be damaging to creativity. After a long, what-the-fork? session on Twitter I developed some bizarre symptoms. Restlessness, headache, a never-before experienced grimy feeling (that’s the best word I can find to describe the sensation) and it dawned on me…
I had contracted Social Media Sickness. I didn’t even know it was a thing.
It’s the icky, spent-too-long-scrolling feeling. The restless, I’m missing something sensation after logging out. And those 24 hours spent recovering from SMS were my least productive. No, I really couldn’t be bothered re-writing that scene. And no, I don’t have the energy to edit that chapter. Ergh, can’t even be bothered reading a book (that’s when I knew it was serious).
Fortunately, I recognised the symptoms and quickly unplugged. I put myself into quarantine. I discovered that nature was the quickest cure. Spending time with friends helped too (keep your phone in your bag or pocket), as did reading a good book or watching a movie.
So, have fun – (baby goats!) – explore the amazing world of social media, but take it from this little Facebook/Twitter/Instagram patient, limit your time, especially if you have an important goal you’re trying to reach.
Your book/art/music/body will thank you.
“Look around less, imagine more.”
– Esther Hicks