I read this essay yesterday that really made me think. Rachel’s beautifully crafted essays always make me think. This one felt especially timely because I’d just finished taking stock, assessing the changes and discoveries that have evolved over the course of this project so far.
My anxiety has been up and I’ve had brain-drain from too much digital consumption. I’d had a sneaking suspicion social media scrolling was at least partly to blame, but Rachel’s essay brought it into stark relief. We can’t escape the distracting noise that is technology, but is there a way to turn down the volume?
Today I conducted an experiment. I dropped off Facebook and Instagram for the entire day. Actually, I had to click on Facebook to wish a dear friend happy birthday, and just as my finger was about to hit the notifications, I shut it down. There’s no way any of it was urgent; I refused to click. Later in the day, as text messages were popping up, I read the texts and then found myself unconsciously clicking on Instagram. What is wrong with me? I deleted the app from my phone, eliminated the temptation.
Today I operated in real time. I did not feel like I was being pulled in as many directions. I was more connected to my daughter. I was less irritable. Less anxious. I stayed on task. I got a few hours of writing in. At our friend’s birthday dinner tonight, I was immersed in conversation, connected to the people around me.
I’m wondering, should I schedule my social media check-ins? There are reasons to stay engaged there; I don’t want to disappear completely. But if I don’t limit my use, the habitual scrolling takes over. Everyone does it. We drift into our phones for a moment that becomes many moments, eventually looking up, glassy-eyed, irritated to have been interrupted from the mind-numbing scroll click scroll. Should/could social media check-ins be limited to a few times a week? Has anyone tried this?