The notion of social media: is it possible to isolate oneself from it for at least 1 day?

24/Nov/2023 15:35:26 • Audio • 04:46

This is my first gromco note, I mean, if we don’t take into account that this is my third try though. But whatever, so yeah.

We’ve discussed the notion of social media and its influence on our life, on our society. And I’d like to say that I’ve tried this, you know, thing when you isolate yourself from the social media and you try to spend a day-off, so to say. This didn’t go well. I mean, this didn’t just go the way I expected it. It’s fine.

I still couldn’t, you know, isolate myself completely. I had to call my mum, I had to check some work-related stuff. You can’t do this, because you, students, tend to, sort of, notify me that you’re not going to have a lesson. So, I have to check telegram at least once a day. What I’ve noticed is that that was a real moment of clarity. Like my head had never been this clear as it was that day. No thoughts, no stupid memes, no stupid, catchy songs playing there. I was actually so happy in that moment because I could do whatever I wanted. The thing is that I’ve noticed is that there were so-so many things that were really for me to do, I just didn’t know where to start from, that was difficult. Though the most productive day of all my week-days.

And, what I wanted to say is that I will definitely try this thing one more time later, and I will be actually incorporating that. And, you know, I want to tailor such a habit into my life because I believe we shouldn’t overuse social media and rely on it too much, especially in this age of information, it’s just overwhelming, you can’t keep up with it, it’s impossible.

So, the question for you is: “Have you ever tried this technique?”, and if you have, what is your experience on that? Especially, I would like to know to what extent you could, you know, limit yourself.

If you haven’t tried it yet, would you like to? If yes – I hope it’s a “yes” here, - yeah, I’d be so grateful to hear from you later on in the same section, I would like to know about your experience, what you could do, how you felt, what you did during that day, and especially “what was the most difficult thing in doing this?”, because for me it was so tempting.

On that day, I was watching YouTube videos for education purposes, I was learning some stuff, and it was so difficult for me not to go into the comment section and not to read them because all those people, I just was so curious whether people had the same thoughts. Yeah, so. That’s it, I guess. This will be just a small note (it’s almost 5 minutes now, not that small, I guess). Share your thoughts in the same section what you think about such practices, when you try it, I would like to ask you to share some notes later on as well, in the same thread.

So, yeah. That’s it, I think. Let me listen to it now. I hope that my microphone is not that bad. See you!


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All right. Can one abstain from social media for a day? I should hope so. For many people, the answer will be no, but for many people, the answer to the question of can you go one day without drinking alcohol is also no, and I think that it's a similar situation. One has just become very dependent on a particular means of feeling good. Something that other folks have not mentioned, I mean, I certainly agree that social media is largely a waste of time, and it saps your productivity. Energy spent there could be spent elsewhere doing something that will be beneficial to your life, but for me, the main harm of social media is the tribalizing effect. You post to social media, you want people to approve of what you've provided, so you'll look to see who likes what, and if you say something that gets a lot of likes, well, the temptation is to say that, you know, some variation on it or to do something similar again, and the social dynamic that this drives is polarization. I mean, just saying something which is obviously true but not controversial, nobody is going to reward you for doing that. To get the reward, the social reward, the neurological reward, you have to push out to the extremes. And I've noticed here in the United States that people who consider themselves to be progressives or on the political, it's weird to say on the political left because they're not really leftists, they're mostly just mainstream liberals, but they see themselves as liberators of the oppressed. And they have become very, very intolerant of any dissent whatsoever, to the point where they will do anything in their power to punish you. Now, you know, if you express something that is not to their liking, this has actually worked in my favor in that I said something in a large group on Facebook a few years ago that somebody didn't like, and they took advantage of the fact that I wasn't using my given name as my screen name on Facebook, and they reported me for impersonation. And Facebook kicked me off. And no other social media platform has taken Facebook's place in that time. So I do have a Twitter account, and I will mostly just repost things, or I'll post AI-generated images, things like that, or I'll post links to things that I've posted on my Patreon. But I'm not, I don't go there, certainly I don't go there obsessively, I will go days, sometimes weeks at a time, without even looking at Twitter. And I don't get into arguments with people there, that's the most important thing. What I find valuable about not being on social media much is that I'm just not pressured to have an opinion, or to voice an opinion on a lot of things. There are topics that I feel passionately on, and I get angry about. But if I'm going to argue with somebody online about those things, or if I'm going to champion a point of view, I'm pushing myself further in the direction of extremism. And I don't want extreme beliefs to rule my life. Here in the US, the idea of being a normie is an insult. You don't want to be normal, you want to be exemplary. You want to be special, you want to be above and beyond the herd. But sometimes it's better just to not, to be normal. To be normal is fine, it shouldn't be an insult. Anyway, I could go on and on, as I tend to do. I'll stop there though.

Hi Sophie, this was an interesting post and an interesting question. I wanted to say that, first of all, I'm slightly surprised that you're including Telegram into the list of social media. If you count messengers, I think it's pretty much impossible for most of us to disconnect even for a day, just because a lot of our friends and colleagues are expecting an answer through these devices. However, if you're only talking about social media, such as Facebook, VK, or even I'm not sure whether to include Twitter in this list, then I think it's totally possible. And I totally agree with you that it does clear the head a little bit if you go free of social media for a day or two. So inconclusive results, but I think you're asking the right question, so I'd like to hear what others think.

Alright, hi everyone. That's my first message on this platform as well. I really appreciate your topic that you just brought up, Sophie. It's truly in the spotlight today. I would like to elaborate on that. So answering your question whether I do this isolation technique or not, today I say that I don't do it because I'm not dependent on social media anymore, but if you asked me this same question a few years ago, funny to say that back then I was grabbing my phone before I even thought what I was grabbing it for. I just wanted to get some information, any information, to get this sweet, cheap dopamine. But later I learned something that changed my mind, my lifestyle as well, the truth about our bodies and the dopamine bit effect that we experience when we interact with social media. So what's a dopamine bit? It's a real talk of the town, in the town of neuroscientists and psychologists who address this issue as very concerning. The thing about dopamine is that it has two characteristics. The first one is that it makes us motivated and happy and it's generated the most not when we finish our work, but when we are about to get it done, to make sure that we actually get it done. Evolution is majestic, really. The second characteristic of dopamine is that it's a resource and it's a sad truth to learn because once it's generated, it goes on cool down. So it's a resource to be managed. We need to accumulate a lot of dopamine in order to achieve things. Now let's get back to the question of social media. What do we get when we actually interact with it? We get dopamine, that's fair, but it's a very cheap dopamine. And what happens after it, after this interaction and generation of dopamine? The dopamine goes on cool down and we get that sweet feeling of happiness, but at the same time, the feeling of exhaustion and lack of energy and motivation to do anything else because, well, we're out of dopamine. And what we achieved with this interaction, nothing. And that's the worst thing about it. One could have spent this dopamine to do something important, but instead one spends it on a meme and that's just terrible. And I believe that this is exactly the main issue of social media. It's a dopamine bit and it's a bit of very precious resource that needs to be managed in order to achieve great things. The moment I learned about it was really the moment when I took a 180 degree turn and started to learn not to take isolation days off from social media, but to rather learn to manage my interactions with it in order to manage my dopamine resource properly. Well, I guess that's it. I hope that I managed to deliver my point. Thank you for your time devoted to listening to this message.

Oh, hello. Thank you very much for this question. I think it's a very important question nowadays. I suppose that limiting social media usage is crucial. And yeah, it's actually important to recognize that social media can offer valuable connections, very good quality educational materials, but it also leads to a constant stream of distractions and it lowers the level of productivity and just destroys all the mental clarity, as you have mentioned. And I suppose by consciously adjusting our habits, we can create space to focus on some important tasks and just clear our thoughts. Yeah, there are different tactics that we can implement. For example, I set timers for social media apps and I try to use a black and white screen, at least for the majority of the day. Yeah, but it's still challenging. And acknowledging this difficulty of reducing social media consumption is already a crucial step. It's very important. Maybe by being mindful of this challenge, we can take positive steps towards improving our overall well-being and we can prioritize our balanced relationship with social media. So yeah, thank you very much and that's it. Thank you.