"In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable. Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article. The idea that if you engage in enough of this low-value activity, it will somehow add up to something of high value in your career is the same dubious alchemy that forms the core of most snake oil and flimflam in business."
~ Cal Newport
Today marks my 27th day off social media and there is no turning back.
If I was to drop dead tomorrow. Do you know what the most important thing is to me?
That I have lived a meaningful life
If you believe that spending your days attached to your social media accounts is a productive use of your time. Well, then you're fucking delusional!
Social media is engineered to be addictive and to fragment concentration.
Have you ever been reading a book and stopped to check FB?
Have you ever been watching a film and stopped to see how many times your tweet has been retweeted?
Have you ever caught up with a friend and checked your social media accounts whilst sitting with them?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions. Your ability to concentrate has already been weakened.
As millennial computer scientist, Cal Newport says in his powerful New York Times Column:
"The idea of purposefully introducing into my life a service designed to fragment my attention is as scary to me as the idea of smoking would be to an endurance athlete, and it should be to you if you’re serious about creating things that matter."
The more you use social media, the more your brain craves a big hit of stimuli.
In the first few weeks of being off Facebook and Twitter, I felt directionless when I opened my browser.
But you know what I've learnt in the last 27 days?
It's actually okay to be bored.
It's actually positive to reflect and contemplate.
Social media robs us of those natural states of being.
People use work as their excuse for being on social media.
But to quote Cal Newport again:
"As you become more valuable to the marketplace, good things will find you. To be clear, I’m not arguing that new opportunities and connections are unimportant. I’m instead arguing that you don’t need social media’s help to attract them."
My productivity has tripled in the last 27 days. In that time I have done the following.
I've penned and filed three 600-word Maxim Columns
I've written 16 Non Sex Blogs
I've written 4 Sex Blogs
I've written 2 Huff Post Articles
I've written 1 Medium Article
I've completed 2 x 5k runs
I've endured 10 x cardio/weight sessions
I've written 27, 000 words of my book (1000 words every morning)
27 Morning pages (which equates to 81 pages of longhand)
27 Gratitude lists
Read one book and wrote a review
Designed a new website
Slowly paying off my debts
Showed continual kindness and compassion to others
Watched umpteen films
Teaching myself to play the ukulele
Learning new songs on my keyboard
Usually I would also have newspaper columns to add to this list. But I have NOT been pitching to editors. I don't need rejection or censorship whilst I rebuild my self esteem.
At the end of November, I shared a column on social media that had taken me six months to write. I poured my blood, sweat and tears into that column. I allowed myself to be vulnerable.
And not ONE fucking person LIKED it on social media. I was devastated. More so at the fact, that I wanted their validation.
THAT was my turning point.
I will NEVER let that happen again. I will NEVER require anyone's validation except my own.
Right now I AM PRESENT in my life.
I don't CREATE for others. I CREATE for myself.
Whether you praise me or criticise me. It doesn't fucking matter.
Because I will continue to do what I do regardless.
The only social media I have is Pinterest.
That site gives me unlimited joy.
My name is Vanessa de Largie.