Social media (or as I like to call it, TwitPinStagramBook) is destroying my attention span--and, quite possibly, my entire freaking life. Constantly checking status updates on a slew of social networking sites from my computer, iPhone and/or iPad prevents me from living in the moment.
I spend most of my workday on social media sites, searching for story ideas, connecting with others in the industry and broadcasting blog posts through our various channels. I also manage to keep up to date on other important matters, such as what the folks in my network are doing, seeing, reading, buying, loving, fearing and eating throughout the day.
I usually check in with Instagram on my after-work commute, and then when I get home, I log on to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, despite the fact that I’ve already spent a decent chunk of my day mentally absorbed in these virtual spaces. I mindlessly scroll through my Friends’ updates in my Newsfeed, halfheartedly digest the latest tweets and re-pin crafty decor ideas I already know I will never try at home.
Imagine what I could have accomplished in the countless hours I’ve devoted to liking, pinning, favouriting, following, unfollowing, tweeting, commenting, hashtagging and creeping on various social media sites. Huge things! I could’ve accomplished huge, gargantuan-sized things, people!
I’m not condemning social media; it's more of a love/hate thing. I have seen how these platforms work as incredible marketing and communication tools and, while I still prefer face-to-face interactions, I do enjoy staying connected to friends who live in faraway places. Like Switzerland and West Philly. But after spending a day jumping from one site to another, I feel depleted from information overload. My brain is exhausted after spending hours trying to calculate whether a link is worthy of a click, and deciphering what information is pertinent and that which is utterly banal.
Of course, the irony is that I'm only adding to that sound and fury every time I update my status with a hot-off-the-press link to a 2life article. I guess this further illustrates how dependent upon this technology I (and also "we") have become and the complex relationships we’ve created with it.
I can’t quit social media entirely--just as a food dieter cannot stop eating--but I can try to be more mindful of my consumption.
So I will try life with Social Media Lite, the aspartame-free alternative to the full-fat version of my recent binging. It will be tough to limit my daily screen time, but I think I can get through it…with a little help from my Facebook friends, of course.
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