Last week I was horrified to see that, on average, I spent around 7 hours and 46 minutes a day on Social Media. I was on my phone like it was a 9 to 5 job but it wasn't paying the bills. Let me be very clear when I say that I do not have an addictive personality. I might own over 50 pairs of the same kind of sneakers, a hat for every NBA team, and more black clothes then a punk band, but those aren't addictive traits. Coupled with, being an impulse buyer, and avid thrill-seeker, I think I fit in with any other millennial. O yea, there was that month were I binge drank every day, but I was celebrating. Nevertheless, how could someone who clearly didn't have an addictive personality be chained to something like social media?
I Told Myself It Was For Business
Being a newly published author, everyone in the industry told me how important marketing and self-promotion was. Social media, Instagram specifically, was were I had my greatest audience. I would be a fool not to engage with my following and encourage them to support me as a writer and poet. Although most times I didn't get onto social media with a plan, I didn't know what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it. This would lead to me just searching, browsing, and getting engrossed by the vastness of it all. An hour and a thousand double taps, tags, and stories later I had done zero promotion. I was mixing business and pleasure.
I Told Myself It Was How I Stayed In The Loop
Like a lot of other millennials, social media is how I accumulated most of my news and information. I could find out who was trying to impeach Trump, where in the world Frank Ocean was, what was the hottest look at fashion week, how the new Lion King movie was, and if Cardi B and Offset were staying together, all on one app. Personally, I used Twitter for this but sometimes I had to cross-reference with Instagram or even Facebook.
Actually reading a newspaper for the news seemed absurd and I didn't want to turn the tv to the news becasue that always seemd too depressing. I couldn't be bothered to type in news sites that would most likely be more accurate than the retweet from the internet personality with a strong opinion. However, clickbait isn't news.
Also, a part of staying in the loop is knowing what my old high school lab partner and his new wife were doing on Sundays in their Idaho family cabin. Granted I wouldn't remember his last name if it wasn't in all his social media handles, we've never texted each other, and I wasn't invited to his wedding. Honestly, I'm pretty sure we followed each other a long time ago and now it's just easier to scroll past each other than to unfollow each other. Ok, maybe that's not staying in the loop.
I Told Myself It Was Motivation
We've all seen that adorable couple, perfect smiles, great bodies, the man is probably picking the women up, and they are looking at each other like they are the only two people in the world. The only thing is that they aren't and they are very aware of it by the 100 thousand people liking their picture and calling them #CoupleGoals.
The problem with using hashtags for motivation is that it really doesn't show you the path to take it just shows you the final product. Furthermore, you don't even know if the post you're looking at is all the way truthful. Maybe the couple you are now obsessed with is just two models who look good together and took to IG to boost their brand. Anytime someone post about their money, fame, or success it can be motivating, but wouldn't it be more helpful to show you their 5-year plan that got them there?
Now I Just Tell Myself Time Is Too Precious
Even the time that it took me to write this post would be doubled with me frequently checking my phone for minuscule changes in the social media world. Though social media wasn't exactly making me feel worse, it wasn't making me feel better. I wasn't logging off social media fired up to get back to the grind of everyday life, I was more so just wondering if anything had changed, and running back to check it again.
Since I have put limits on my screen time I've found more valuable ways to apply my 7 hours. I released I was staying up late just browsing endless content on my phone. Now with my screen time limited after 9pm, I'm sleeping longer and more restfully. Equally important, I'm waking up earlier, energized, and going for morning runs around Silver Lake. My screentime doesn't become limitless until 10am, so after my morning run, I get a balanced meal, drink plenty of water, and begin writing in my journal. By 8am I've accomplished so much more and I have a couple hours to write before my screen time unlocks.
Even when my screen time becomes “limitless” I have additional limits specific to social media. I make sure that when I log on it's with intention. I only have so long to promote my book, check on my friends, and get some creative inspiration from the other writers and artist I follow. All in all, I feel like I get much more done during the day, and Instead of looking at the life I wanted to live on social media, I'm actually living it.