Breaking the Spell of Social Media

Testing, testing. Is this thing on? October 2020 finds me fatigued–not unlike the rest of the world, I am sure–for me personally I am fed up with the artificiality and lack of priorities in our culture and our lifestyles, of which I am an active part. Though lately my mantras have echoed simplicity: “Make your world small,” and “Be here now.”

This morning, I sat at the kitchen table, ate a scrambled egg on toast, and listened to the radio. A former mantra came to mind: “The universe is a friendly place.” A mantra that ended up not being true, because it was then that Autumn choked on the head of grass, and someone’s child got swept out to sea on the Oregon Coast, and a friend told me she was getting pushed around in her house, and my Grandmother lost her mobility, eyesight, and independence, and a pandemic came, and then the wildfires “ravaged the west,” and who knows what else is in store for us.

So I took a bite of my egg sandwich, Autumn drawing with Crayola marker on my bare leg, and I thought “Make your world small,” and “Be here now;” which really means to me: Eat your sandwich and listen to the radio without trying to simultaneously email/text/scroll/make a phone call/a to-do list/pay a bill.

So. Much. Multitasking.

In line with my quest to simplify, my obsession with time (I want more of it), and to unconvolute my mind, I’ve taken a dramatic step back from social media.

My accounts are still there, in fact my Instagram can be viewed from this very page on my blog, but I am no longer making time for social media in my life. The documentary “The Social Dilemma” aired on Netflix recently and I watched it, confirming what I’d suspected all along: Social media is not a tool, as tools can be put down and used only when needed. Elegant, simple and functional social media is not.

I’m not saying I’m not going to use the platform. But it’s been days, a week, maybe more since I’ve been on there and, mentally, I am still waiting for the chatter and glitter to settle.

On an index card pinned to my bulletin board in my office are the words “More Blogging. More Creativity.”

Mantras of sorts. Intentions.

But honestly I’m still waiting for the creative vigor to come rushing back in. It’s hard, in a sense, not being propped up by the snappy gratification that comes from curating a portrayal of my #writerslife on Instagram. But I’m banking on finding more meaning in my work, nailing down some real time to write, and seeing my creative projects through to publication.

I am hopeful about the shifts happening organically within myself. Even before viewing the documentary, I’d deactivated my Facebook due to–frankly–emotional drainage. I am hopeful that my departure from social media does not impact my family and friend relationships–and keeping one foot in still will help insure that I do not lose track of them completely.

This rusty ol’ blog has been my soapbox since its conception in 2010. By its nature, the reader spends more time with a single piece. With me. Though I am admittedly missing some of Instagram’s features, my long form was suffering…dare I say on its way to being lost completely..due to social media. Perhaps this is just the beginning of me becoming a blogger again, now that the spell has been broken.

3 thoughts on “Breaking the Spell of Social Media

  1. It’s crazy the rush we get from the validation of our art. I could be writing an essay every few days, but instead I will post a story, enjoy the actual satisfaction and nervous system release of the act of writing, for the evening, then spend the whole next day checking my sites every few hours, to see if another person has read, liked, or followed. And that stream of satisfaction carries me in a strange, hollow way to where I barely need the act of writing, sometimes again for a whole week or two! The same with a song…it’s like, I lose focus on the process because the rush of approval takes center stage. And it gets muddled why exactly I create, although I’ll easily admit that being “seen”, heard, understood and validated is a huge part of it! I’m glad you’re back at it, I’ll take it as inspiration. I feel you!

    1. Yes, that sounds quite familiar, knowinghome! On the one hand, our audience is definitly larger on our social media outlets, but on the other hand, the social media bot monsters are getting exactly what they want when we spend more and more time on there. There’s a creative element, for sure. But I don’t think it’s what I envisioned as a child, youth, or young adult when I visualized my writing career. I’m hoping I can have a readership, just right here on my blog. Your willingness to stop, take a few minutes, and read my post reassures me of the possibility of that dream. Dream hard, girl. And write and rock on. xoxo

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