Lately I’ve been considering what’s important and useful as far as my digital world goes — particularly on my phone.
Really, the only thing that’s suuuper important to me is Medium (because it’s where I write these posts).
Twitter is kind of nice. I’ve started a couple meaningful relationships on there and usually shoot my posts through to my account, but 90% of the time, it sits unused. So this is where my deletion binge started. Yes, I deleted my Twitter account… For about an hour. But then I reactivated it because it doesn’t reeeally take up too much of my time/attention. Some people could waste all day on Twitter. Not me. Just not my thing. So I saved its life.
Next was LinkedIn. This was a no-brainer. LinkedIn is just so… Chamber-Of-Commerce-Luncheony. I haven’t updated my LinkedIn profile for about five years. Every time someone requests a connection with me, I get itchy. If it’s someone I like, I feel obligated to accept (and know that they’re seeing my old, outdated info). If it’s someone I don’t know, I immediately resent them for being a sleazy networker (even if they aren’t).
Boom. LinkedIn. Gone.
Next was the Facebook app. This one was the biggie for me. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal. I’ll whip out my phone, hop on Facebook, and scroll, scroll, scroll…
Just a few minutes here... A few minutes there... Like, like, grumble, grumble, share.
Sweet! A notification!
Oh, a birthday. Again.
But those minutes add up. I’m mostly a consumer on Facebook. My attention goes towards other people’s cat videos, kid pics, and ads. The only real creating I do there is when I take a picture of my kid via Instagram and share it on Facebook for the grandparents.
Something was calling me to delete it. I was super hesitant. But I finally did it. And my reaction was so peculiar…
It was like leaving an old girlfriend. First, it was like, no biggie. I’m fine. Huh… Yeah… I don’t need you.
And then I’d pull out my phone… And she —erm, it — wasn’t there. I was ghost-Facebooking!
Soon, I started missing it. What if I had notifications?! I might miss them! And then I’d miss that dopamine dump.
Oh, the euphoric dopamine dump!
But after my withdrawals subsided, the clouds parted. I was awake to my life again.
See, here’s the thing…
My job as a writer is to notice my life. This is hard to do when my attention is trained on my Facebook feed.
All of a sudden, I’d be hanging out with my daughter… and that’s… it. No scrolling. No liking. No little red numbers to incite me and pull me away from my life.
It’s weird. But what’s even weirder is that it’s weird.
All of a sudden, my life seems so… Analog. So hands-on. So real.
And it feels great.
(Oh, and please share this article with your friends on Facebook. Thank you.)