Social Media Is Rotting My Brain (And, apparently I’m not going to stop it…)

(Before you recoil in shock, I DID NOT drop the F-bomb when I was talking about SnapChat. I said “look,” not the other word. Calm down.)

For a long time now I’ve convinced myself that I need social media.

I need it to market myself as a freelance writer. I need it to help communicate with students and parents about things going on in class. I need it to stay connected to friends I don’t see very often. I’ve used just about every excuse in the world that I can find, and up until now, they’ve all worked to keep me connected.

…to keep me logged in

…to keep me hooked!

The definition of irony – links to social media next to an article about the dangers of social media.

The reality though is that, just like Dr. Cal Newport, author of the book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, says in his Ted Talk, even without social media, it is possible to have friends, know what’s going on in the world, collaborate with others–in fact, he says that quitting social media will make all of us “better off.” I really want to believe that is true. I want you to believe it’s true, too, because I’m afraid that all of us are being permanently harmed by our obsession with social media.

When I think about it logically, I’m not even sure why I stay. The last time I saw something on Facebook that I actually cared about was….let me think….well, I can’t tell you. Most of what comes up in my newsfeed now is just promoted content–not even posted by friends. I’ve stopped following at least 100 of my friends because they insist on posting politics DAY & NIGHT. I can’t roll my eyes as far back in my head as I want to when I see posts by well-meaning yet easily-duped folk who believe what the read from The Onion or Babylon Bee. I mean, seriously…

And yet, I stay.

By staying I’ve seriously damaged my ability to focus–to do the serious work I need to do. I spend precious time glancing at my phone to check my social media and email accounts. Just in case. My mind races back and forth and I struggle to stop it. I’ve lost the edge I need to be truly productive with my time and effort. I’m not giving adequate attention to the tasks which are most important. When I’m with family I’m lost in mindless scrolling through pictures, videos, and messages that I’ve already seen a hundred times.

So, what I’m I going to do about it?

I don’t know. But, I can tell you that I’m not going to make some big promise about getting away from it because I never seem to follow through on those. I do intend to make my next phone (which I hope to purchase soon) a “dumb” phone so that I’m forced to disconnect for at least a little while. I’m going to try to limit my time on the sites. And, maybe some day…maybe some day I can disconnect for good.

Am I alone in this? Can any of you relate to this deconstruction of an otherwise perfectly good brain? Do any of you reading experience difficulty  focusing on a task without constantly checking social media? I sure would like to hear from you. Please comment; share your thoughts; share solutions if you have them.

Seriously, I want to hear from you!


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