I just came back from another Apotheosis retreat held in Costa Rica. It was mind-blowing, as always, and I’ll surely write more about it on a different occasion. For now let’s say I was completely off Facebook and Twitter for entire 9 days. I only checked messages and other social media a few times that entire week. I didn’t miss any of these. In fact, I was surprised why I’m not disconnecting more often.
Social media are designed to take as much of your time and attention as they can possibly get. This is no conspiracy, it’s their business model. The more time you spend on the platform, the more ads you will see, the more money the company will get from advertising. Nobody even necessarily has to have bad intentions. The incentive to get more eyeballs on more ads can alone create a monster that exploits our most basic instincts, and becomes increasingly addictive with time.
In fact, it’s so addictive that after 9 days of being completely off Twitter and Facebook, I came back straight to my old browsing habits as if nothing happened. Yes, I was more aware of how much time I’m spending exploring the rabbit holes of random internet discussions, but I kept doing this. I found many insightful, uplifting, or funny bits in these conversations–but that’s the whole point. These addictive beasts will keep serving you valuable nuggets every now and then to keep you refreshing all the time in hope for more and more.
I know there’s a lot of valuable content, groups, and discussions both on Facebook and Twitter. I also know the way I use them now serves Facebook’s and Twitter’s needs more than it serves mine. Some world-class psychology experts there are working full-time to make you keep scrolling your feed for as long as you can. 9 days is far from enough to break the spell and start using these platforms consciously as a tool for genuine connection and empowerment.
Now that Christians start observing Lent today, it’s a great occasion for me to go completely off Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the next 40 days. I’ll still be using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to connect with my friends and family. I will also continue blogging daily here, as I’m seeing myself progress and learn to write faster than I did ever before. It will be interesting to see how what I create evolves when disconnected from the immediate feedback of clicks, comments and likes.
What am I going to do with all the time I’d normally spend scrolling Twitter? I’m not sure yet, but there are a few ideas I’d like to explore. For sure I’ll be able to write more in-depth pieces which can’t be quickly jotted down at the end of the day. Hopefully I’ll be able to publish another article on HighExistence again, something I’ve been putting off for a while telling myself I’m too busy with my blogging challenge. If time allows, I might also end up coding a mobile app from scratch, joining a traditional signing group, or learning more about painting… Who knows? The world is full of possibilities.