EFFECTIVENESS: 8/10 EFFORT: 8/10 ENJOYMENT:04/10
For this weeks habit, I decided limit my social media consumption, namely Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram.
It’s no secret that I have an addictive personality. I just do. Smoking is probably my most pleasurable vice and I have picked up the habit countless times after ‘quitting’. It always comes back to wanting just one cigarette, which then turns into two the following day, four the day after that, and so on. Now I usually don’t really realize that I’m doing this until it gets out of control. I’ll smoke 15 cigarettes one day and suddenly realize, ‘Holy shit, I’m nearly smoking a pack a day, what the fuck happened?’.
Now a similar thing has happened to me with social media. I should explain that I was never a big fan of social media and generally thought it quite poisonous. I thought it was just a way for people to fulfill there narcissistic tendencies and fuel their ego. And although some people do do that, I don’t think I was seeing the full picture. If our culture has decided to use social media as a way to connect, and I like connecting with people, then I shouldn’t throw away the baby with the bath water (I think that’s the saying? Trying to sound smart here). Rather I decided to throw myself into the trenches and lead by example. I would create content and post things that I would like to see more of on social media. I can’t change what other people do, but I can control how I use these platforms and what I use them for.
After becoming comfortable with the idea of posting content online, I finally agreed with Mads (my business partner) that our company should have a social media presence, which meant I would be creating and posting something roughly 4-5 times a week.
I very quickly realized the power of ‘likes’. Getting that little heart to light up on Instagram gives you a tiny rush of endorphins. For me it’s probably a need for validation- that people like what I am doing, so that I can convince myself that what I am doing it good.
Well fuck, that very quickly turned into me checking our accounts multiple times a day. Just to see how well a post was doing, who had liked it, what people commented, etc. And I wasn’t really conscious of this until I caught myself pulling my phone out of my pocket and immediately checking Instagram without having told my hand to do so. I had just done it automatically. I don’t like being the person who feels the need to check something on their phone every time they have a free moment in their life. I also didn’t want my mood to be determined by whether ‘enough’ people had liked that days’ post. I wouldn’t get depressed or anything, I could just feel myself be in a slightly worse mood after a bad post, or a slightly better mood after a good post. And those micro-changes in my mood were scaring me a little. How could something so insignificant have an effect on me, no matter how small that effect might be. Shouldn’t I be above that? Shouldn’t I find happiness from myself, not from what other people think? So I told myself I needed to be more conscious of this.
And to do so I decided that for this week I would regulate my social media output as well as my consumption. I would only be allowed to access each platform twice a day. Once to post something, and once to check and see how it is doing.
After the first day I wrote this in my phone: “Genuinely difficult”. We had just posted a video on Youtube that required an immense amount of work to make and I just wanted to know what other’s thought about it. I kept turning on my phone, unconsciously pressing the app, and then quickly exiting out before anything had loaded.
It took me about 3 days to finally get rid of this unconscious tick. It definitely got easier as the days went by. I found myself still thinking about how something was doing, but accepting that I would find out later that day, and that’s fine. Nothing’s going to change.
The last couple of days have had similar results, but I’m a lot less concerned about how people are reacting to it. Naturally I want to know what the reactions are, but they don’t influence my mood as much. I think posting something and then stepping away from it for the rest of the day kind of let’s you form your own opinion on whether it was good or bad, and then at the end you have a solid opinion for yourself that is a lot harder to be affected by other people. I can still care about what they think, but it doesn’t necessarily affect my opinion of the content.
Reigning back my social media usage has been good. I find myself bored on the bus again, which is a good thing I think. Plus you get to people-watch. And we all know that a good people-watching session is one of the greatest pleasures in life.
Happy Habit Building,