Earlier last week I was watching my favourite YouTuber, Casey Neistat, talking about his problem with Social Media. He spoke about “needless scrolling”, which is something I’ve spoken several times about on this blog. In fact, one of the main reasons I decided to start writing this blog was to spend less time scrolling. The idea being that in moments in which I would typically use to mindless scroll Instagram, I instead write on this platform about something a bit more meaningful and worthwhile. Casey said about how social media feels like this dark blanket that constantly cloaks over him. This is one of the best metaphors I have ever come across for how social media, specifically looking at social media over posting, makes me feel.
When I’m in a moment where I’m not occupied by exercise, work, creativity or basic life function like cooking, showering and cleaning, then I’ll probably be scrolling Instagram or Twitter. Another favourite of mine, being a runner, is Strava. Although, notably I don’t seem to get as bad of a feeling when I scroll Strava as I guess it’s a bit less mindless due to it playing a big part in my interests. Instagram and Twitter on the other hand, never leave me feeling good or worthwhile after a good mindless scrolling session. I don’t ever feel sad or down after scrolling (unless I’ve read something really dark) but more like I’ve just been enveloped by some dark blanket that shields the sunshine and I can’t get it off. By brain feels like its been shut away instead of feeling open and full of opportunity. The sensation is not nice, yet, I still feel compulsive to check social media in any down moment.
Now I’m a pretty strong willed person. I’m not like most people in that I find it easy to workout, to wake up early, to eat well and not to get sucked into common norms that people are sold to be what they should be doing, when in fact that they don’t actually bring them any of the joy that they are sold they will. However, social media is just one I can’t seem to shake off. Why? Well the same reason we all use social media – to stay relevant. In order to be a creative, you need exposure and social media offers the most accessible exposure there has ever been at our finger tips. The problem with the algorithms is that you need to be interacting with your social media in order for your posts to do well.
It’s a bit like writing an essay on your laptop. You sit down with the intention of opening Word, hitting the keyboard with words of wisdom and hopefully filling the page with a grade A essay. In reality, what you do is open word and then your internet browser and then you tell yourself to do research and get distracted and before you know it a few hours have passed and at best your essay has the opening paragraph written. Social Media is the same; you go to post but end up looking at it and then before you know it you haven’t posted, interacted and you’re staring at a video of someone trying to eat “The Rock’s Cheat Day”… at this point the blanket cloaks you gently and you feel the horrible dark feeling as your brain is juxtaposed between clicking off the video or onto another even more pointless watch.
It’s a vicious cycle and one that I’ve yet to find a full solution for, even with a fortress mind like mine. I’ve tried cold turkey and done days where I left my phone in my bag, logged out of all outlets and shutdown my accounts but this left me very disconnected. I’ve managed to go weeks without looking, even with everything logged in and my phone in my pocket, but like all things it comes in waves of severity. The best I can do is try to limit myself by making sure I’m as busy as possible in all other areas of my life.
Whats your solution?
Today’s athletic update: 3000m recovery swim after yesterday’s Half Marathon. In the gym this evening for some strength work and mobility/stretching. I’ve decided that I want to my it a goal to be able to do the splits. Flexibility is a must for runners but also it’s something that just enhances everyday life – my kind of challenge.