I was talking to some friends last night about how their parents used to warn them about the dangers of TV (it’ll rot your brain!) much in the same way as they warn their own children now about their smartphones (it’ll kill your attention span!) ⚰️
And with research saying our attention spans are bordering on that of goldfish thanks to the portable devices, it’s easy to see why these warnings continue from generation to generation. The only real difference is that now, the TV goes with you everywhere and is specifically designed to enslave your attention 😲📱
As Facebook’s current head of marketing bragged in this speech, the average millennial checks his or her phone 157 times daily. That’s a total average of 145 minutes every day that we’re trying to feel connected, validated, and liked.
But that’s not the reality I want anymore.
And while not a millennial (I’m one year too old to be considered one), I still checked my phone first thing when I woke up for years. It was the first thing I reached for in the morning before my cup of coffee.
Ahh, that sweet dopamine hit first thing in the morning. Then 157 times more throughout the day…
So a few weeks ago I made a conscious decision to claim my mental independence back. I decided to start looking at the world through a different window… one with nothing but blue sky on the other side.
1.) The first thing I did was manage my Facebook life. I deleted all my likes. Every single one. (I had to create an iMacros script to help out – it took 3 days).
2.) Then I unfriended anyone I hadn’t talked to in over a year (they’re not proper friends anyway!).
3.) Next, I unfollowed all my friends so that whenever I go into Facebook now, I have absolutely no feed – and no idea what’s going on with them. We actually… you know… talk about stuff now.
Here’s what I see when I log into Facebook now.
It’s blank. It’s freeing.
4.) But it wasn’t until I deleted Instagram and Twitter off my phone, and every other filter bubble enabled app, that I realized just how cloistered I’ve been.
I’ve realised there’s a terrible beauty in not having any news given to you.
At first, it felt like I was missing out. I’d only check my social feeds once a day through a browser and there wasn’t anything there. What was going on in the world!? A few weeks went by and taking stock, I noticed my life hadn’t changed in the slightest. Except well, maybe I was smiling a whole lot more at strangers.
Yes, I’m sure bad things still happen to other people, but did I really need to be reminded of it every waking hour of every day? People seemed fine. Genuinely fine. And it’s not that I’m uncaring, I just only have so many cares to give… Surely they should go towards something productive?
Take away the information delivery mechanism and suddenly you have to fend for yourself.
With nothing really to do on my phone anymore, books are now my constant companion (the public library is a wonderful thing!). Long-form content now holds my interest, when previously anything over 800 words seemed so tedious.
It’s been a complete neural pathway realignment. I can feel it! My eyes aren’t darting from image to image, post to post.
Now they’re looking for people’s smiles, book covers, roses to smell (yes this is a cliche but boy do they smell good), and I’m finding that hey, things are just fine.
Which in fact, they are. More and more so every day.
So turns out things are good. Real good. And all it took for me to realise it was to look up from my phone and actually see the world how I want to see it. Not how others want me to see it.
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