My media fast has been mind-blowingly enlightening. As I mentioned the other day, after a couple of days I felt 100 percent better. No depression. More focus. My brain feels sharper. I think eliminating everything is a very important part of this exercise. By doing this I have realized what I miss and what I don’t miss. I have also been able to see what I am addicted to since I don’t have anything distracting me from my reactions to things.
I miss reading for entertainment. However, it has been good to take a break from it this week because I have been able to get the reading that I need to do for work done. I am taking a management class and I tend to choose other things to read, given the chance. This exercise has really caused me to focus on the reading for my class.
I miss listening to music. However, I have really enjoyed running without music and Runkeeper. I may not go back to running with music. I like the freedom of being gadget-free.
I don’t miss television at all. I never really watched it anyway.
I have mixed feelings about the internet and social media. On the one hand, I miss interacting with my friends. But I really don’t miss, at all, the clutter that these sites push. I don’t miss the inane news stories. I don’t miss the memes.
I have also noticed the way these social media sites make me feel, and the way not logging on everyday makes me feel. There is this pull to check. I noticed something bothersome yesterday. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone but kept the Facebook Messenger app. I used it yesterday to send a message to my brother. When I was on the “compose” screen a list of my FB friends was there and next to their names it told me when they were last active on Facebook. Why do I need to know this? And there is something about this knowledge that triggered this addictive need to “check Facebook.” I have developed this habit of needing to know what my friends are doing. It is unhealthy and weird, frankly. The FB developers have tapped into a social, voyeuristic instinct that humans have. I have never liked it. I don’t need to know that my friend has liked her other friend’s picture (a stranger that I have never met) from their trip to the Bahamas. I feel like this is an invasion of the privacy of both my friend and their friend. And I have never been able to figure out a way to turn this off. It is just pushed to me when I log on, whether I want this information or not.
So, needless to say, I think I am going to extend my social media fast. I will log in this week for a moment to upload photos from my brother’s wedding and to check in. I may also check in from Paris (probably not though. I want to experience Paris with no distractions). But otherwise, I think an extended Facebook/Twitter/social media break is in order.