Thursday, September 25, 2014

Father stays on Facebook; domestication of the dog continues unabated

Recently a friend on Facebook posted that he moved the app to the last screen of his iPhone, out of a desire to have it take up less of his time. Then he shared a link to an article posted on the ABC News site titled "Mom Deletes Facebook From Phone and These 5 Things Happened" (because unless a story is in list form no one will read it). I clicked over and read it (gleaning the gist of how the writer had an almost addiction-based relationship with social media), then left a comment on my friend's post "#6: Mom writes self-congratulatory article."

Then he perhaps jokingly responded he expected a Dougression about that. But instead, I give you this:

That comment was, of course, a glib reaction. Undoubtedly, there was probably some element of subconscious envy on my part fueling that, given the writer got her piece on a major news site and I just have my intermittent posts on the blahg here that get read by 12 people (because I'm not inclined to write in list format). However, it's also merely the sort of response that fit in with the amount of time I had in that moment to say something pithy (and perhaps hold a modicum of being worth read by the other friends of this friend who may see it).

I suppose it's easy for me to sit back and be glib because I never had an obsessive relationship with social media. I'll check FB or Twitter when I have a free moment to occupy, but I can go days without posting anything or even without looking at what others have posted; it's entirely opportunistic (in that I go there only when I have an opportunity); it never took time away from the rest of my life.

I don't know how I did that. I don't mean to imply or suggest it's any sort of impressive accomplishment on my part. It's merely how the situation turned out. I don't know that I could write a list-based recommendation to others in general about how to do it if they were trying to break an unhealthy relationship with social media. Saying "Try not to have an inclination toward addictive personality" seems hardly applicable. Any problems with those sites I've avoided are probably dumb luck or are particular to me… and stem from decades of introspection and attempting to accept most people don't give a shit what I have to say—and really, they shouldn't.

(Again: No one's reading this far, because it isn't in a list.)

That's probably it: I never developed any sort of significant response in my online life to have reinforced a dependency on such interaction. I don't delude myself that I deserved any such level of attention, so it's completely fair how things turned out. However, I can speculate that in some alternate universe where this rumination were all the rage (as frightening a thought as that is) and I had thousands of Twitter followers (rather than 20 or so—a quarter or so are clearly porn bots I didn't bother to block) and hundreds of people commenting on my Facebook page, etc., that I'd develop a different relationship with social media.

So, perhaps the key is to be not all interesting, with intermittent bursts of thoughts that are just barely clever enough to justify any single other human bothering with them, but not such that they elicit much response.

That's probably just a way of saying: How you can avoid an unhealthy connection to social media is to have a very similar personality to mine—which, I am fairly certain, most people do not have (thank goodness for them).

I have no more advice on kicking the social media habit other than the obvious: If you think it's interfering with your life then it probably is, and you probably should try to let it go. As to how you go about that I couldn't begin to say. I am in no way qualified to even pretend to have the slightest expertise regarding overcoming addiction of any sort. However, you should feel no obligation to participate on those sites; if you don't want to, don't. It's fine not to.

But I would say if you do "kick the habit" successfully, it's fine to just enjoy that for itself, without feeling any compulsion to brag… or, you know, to write an article about it.

Of course, if some editor is silly enough to think that's a worthwhile topic and pay you for it… or if someone you know essentially goads you into ruminating (or whatever the heck the above was) on it, you can ensure that never happens again.

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