Social Media* versus What-You-Said-You-Wanted
If you want to read about how [Smartphones + Social Media] is impacting, negatively in my view, how we interact with others and live our lives, you can skip directly to all the links at the end of this post.
On a week night in late 2014 I went to bed early because I wanted to wake up very early to hit the gym the next morning. I laid down with my iPad and a ‘quick check of Facebook’ turned into ‘bed after midnight and no gym the next morning’. Does this sound familiar to you?
I spent over 2 hours going through a low-value feed, sensationalistic news, checking other people’s lives (and comparing them to mine) and seeing if I wasn’t missing out on something. Ever happened to you too?
With that beer gut still hanging in front of the mirror, I quit Facebook that day. I still had an Instagram account and my Twitter account.
A while later I started filtering my Instagram feed to remove useless distractions. I removed most ‘friends’ I don’t think I would invite to my next birthday party, trying to only ‘spend time’ (follow) with close friends, family, those I admire, some that I am very close to but live far away and feeds I think help me move forward (Tim Ferriss, Richard Branson, some zen quotes, motivational or entrepreneurial stuff).
I also kept the IG account because I wanted to contribute to whoever wanted to read the stuff I was posting, focused on bringing people from living on auto-pilot to actually pro-actively making their choices. Then came trolls. A great friend. And my oldest brother. They were like: “Dude, you don’t know how to use Instagram. It’s not a blog! You’re wrong!”
I fought for a bit, but I haven’t logged onto my IG account ever since. I admitted that the nicest the picture I put, of whatever travel destination, party or myself and my girlfriend, the more ‘likes’. It didn’t really matter what the text was about, IG was always about a nice photo of ‘happy’ and great colors. Enough.
But one thing made me a little proud: people I had never met and the friends I admired the most left some comments, encouraged me to keep writing, thanked for the push I was trying to make. Curiously enough… those were people I saw as thinking outside-the-box, despite not always having the courage to LIVE outside-the-box (it’s fucking hard!).
That’s basically how this website was born. As an attempt to run away from the superficiality of Instagram or Facebook, the anxiety of notifications, of social approval. Ran away from attention deficit in a 1-page article. Now an attempt at brevity and concise writing. Long form.
So, why the story?
My mom complained we didn’t put our phones down during family lunches. Then we bought her an iPhone and she spends 1h+/day playing Candy Crush.
A friend spends 3 hours a day on IG despite not being so satisfied with her life.
Intrigued by my phone usage and with the challenge of investing the capital of 3 families I needed sharp focus. I installed an app called Moment. It tracked how many times I picked up the phone and how much time I spent on it. I wasn’t surprised to see I picked my phone up around 150x/day. Then I reduced to 120x. There’s checking of prices on Bloomberg, P&L on brokerage app, news + articles on Twitter, group chat on Slack, WhatsApp. Summary: 95% noise.
If between action of unlocking phone + loss of concentration for nothing you spend 20 seconds it means 40 minutes per day. Don’t you complainf of traffic jams?
In early 2016 I quit WhatsApp, was called ‘an alien’ by friends.
Then I installed an app called Freedom that can make your phone a vegetable if you so choose it to do for you.
Due to forced peace my life is much better: higher productivity in business, more free time for myself and loved ones, more fit, better and longer nights of sleep and all side benefits from living in the 90s!
In case you want to know why, below is a compilation of material that will help you understand why you can’t get most of what you say you want.
Oh, and by the way. I missed FB and IG for something like 0.0001 days. Give tech-peace a shot.
Pay it forward.
More than ever before, we control our brains by controlling what we put into them. Choosing the media, the interactions, the stories and the substances we ingest changes what we experience. These inputs lead us to have a narrative, one that’s supported by our craving for dopamine and the stories we tell ourselves. How could it be any other way?
Scratching an itch is a route to pleasure. Learning to productively live with an itch is part of happiness.
Perhaps we can do some hard work and choose happiness.
* Social Media or Smartphones in general
* I’d love if Twitter never showed me how many followers I have or any ‘likes’ I get, but they do it to keep us hooked.