Monday, March 27, 2017

Back to Social Media

After a nearly five week break, last night I signed back on to social media.  I've been hesitant to do so because frankly, I feel as though my life was improved without it but continued consideration led me to a place where I think the benefits can and will outweigh any potential negatives so long as I approach its use in a healthy manner.  And that's where things get interesting.  Defining what's healthy social media use can vary from individual to individual.  I think some cases of unhealthy use are pretty clear but I'm not even sure where the median would be anymore either.  I know now that my use prior to unplugging was unhealthy because it was affecting daily life.  No, I wasn't using it in a manner that would lead to infidelity or anything of that manner but it had become a time suck that was taking moments away from my family and other aspects of life.  Additionally, the arguments and discussions were and still are, getting increasingly out of hand. When I was involved I didn't see the impact but after removing myself for awhile it's pretty clear.  As such, it's time to take the lesson's I've learned and apply them because the reality is my long term goals pretty much require the use of social media whether I like it or not.

Plugging in may be necessary but we control what we give.
One of the biggest issues I noticed upon deactivating was the amount of mindless time I was spent looking at my phone.  It had become such a habit I honestly didn't even realize I was doing it most of the time.  I'd be watching a show and look at my phone.  I'd be out and about, and look at my phone.  I'd be working outside and when I stopped I'd look at my phone.  And when I say look, I mean I'd bring up my account, not just a quick check of the home screen for messages.  Then I'd mindlessly scroll and if I found nothing, I might refresh to find more nothing.  This cycle could and would continue and by the end, I was doing it constantly.  I don't know exactly what I was looking for but I do know that I was wasting a lot of time.  I tried to place when the habit really began in earnest and if I had to guess I'd say when we were living up north and our ability to interact with others was limited to social media. I believe I became much more reliant on it for information and it carried over to when we moved down here. My accident certainly didn't help either since it limited my ability to be active or even leave the house.  I had no idea the way I was using it had become an actual problem but now that I've been able to recognize it, going forward I should be able to avoid those same pitfalls.

Interestingly enough, none of that was on my radar when I made the decision to take a break.  That decision actually stemmed from the overwhelming and overbearing amount of negativity that's overtaken the news and social media in recent years.  I needed a mental break from it all because that negativity was actually leeching into my life outside of the net.  Finding out that I was displaying addiction characteristics was an unanticipated bonus.  I say bonus because it has and will offer an absolute prime opportunity to make some adjustments and gain some education regarding the subject that I'll be able to use going forward, plus it's providing me with an opportunity to write about my experience and lessons learned so that others may benefit.  In the long run I gained some valuable lessons without anyone really getting hurt.   That's certainly not always the case.

So now that I'm back on, what lessons will I bring with me?  First, I'm going to limit my social media time. Currently, I have no plans to reinstall the app on my phone and will do most of my work at my computer. Keeping access limited builds in constraints that will insure I don't fall into the same habits.  I'm not saying I'll be doing this forever because there may (and hopefully will) come a time when I'm required to have more access but for the time being, this will help me continue developing good habits. Second, I'm going to continue working to reduce the amount of negativity that shows on my news feed.  Many of the pages I follow are coaches of varying professions, scientists, philosophers, athletes, artists, musicians, educators, and the like.  Many of the political pundits, spokespersons, news agencies, and rabblerousers I formerly found enjoyment in following are gone.  I'm still willing to have genuine discussions with people regarding a wide range of topics including the ones you're not suppose to talk about, (religion, politics, ect), but the days of getting caught up or sucked into pissing matches with people who have no ability to talk without attacking or who will not even consider evidence contrary to their opinion, are over.  Positivitey, problem solvers, people who make me think and reconsider my thoughts and opinions, and those who force me to strengthen my own arguments because of the way they debate, are of much more value to me at this point in my life.

Lastly, I want to use social media as a tool for improvement rather than simply a way to follow others. There are a vast amount of opportunities and ways to gain education and I want to streamline my usage to more align with those abilities.  I want to use it to grow this blog and other writings I'm working on and once I've completed the necessary work, some other ventures I'm planning in the future as well.  I want to use my small voice to try and help others improve and grow their own businesses because there are millions of people out there with fantastic ideas who may only be a share or two away from reaching someone who can bring those ideas to life on a macro scale.  I want my social media pages and presence to help bring solutions, ideas, improvements, and education to others to whatever degree possible.  My time away was valuable and now it's time to show why.                  

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