Approximately 24 hours ago, I deleted all of my personal social media accounts. This blog was born out of that impulse. I had already deleted Facebook back in February, but Instagram and Twitter were a hard habit to kick. I swayed back and forth on it, took a short break occasionally, but everyone would always comment about how “it’s important for the industry we’re in.” I’m not interested in a 280 character, recklessly hashtagged tweet. Give me the long-form, gritty, fumbling-my-way-through-life-choices kind of full-on Word doc. Finally between the 24 hour news cycle on Twitter, the massive privacy breaches of Facebook, and the constant facade of Instagram that presents a very glossy and incredible life, I pulled the plug.
I found myself having anxiety over managing all of the different outlets. Trying to remember to post, worrying about engaging people, generating content to keep the ‘likes’ flowing, even though there are a lot of very unexciting and trying days while creativity is happening. This isn’t how I want to live life. Going home for the holidays always enacts some degree of self-reflection. Seeing my family, missing my father (who passed away in 2014), and the endless parking lots and gray skies, always send me into a nostalgic wormhole.
A lot of people who have read my writing recently, have been egging me on to write more. I decided that I (we) spend far too much time consumed with the appearance instead of the art. Don’t worry about promoting yourself, let your work promote you. Do work that is so good, so undeniable, that people evangelize you themselves. Don’t let some false idea of keeping up with what amounts to an Escher diagram of celebrity, distract you from your work. People will tell you “it’s just entertainment”, but that’s not true. Social media has profoundly changed the way our brains and emotions work, and how we interact with each other. Like most technology, they can be fantastic tools if used responsibly. As human beings, we’re really terrible at responsibly using them.
I need to let my mind wander, run wild, like when I was a child. I find myself having my best ideas in the shower, which is the only time I really don’t have a screen full of filtered inauthenticity in front of me and my imagination can escape the gravity of the LED backlight. I used to do a lot of thinking in the car, but had found myself scrolling through Instagram and Twitter when I’m stuck in traffic or at a light. It becomes increasingly hard to be alone with your own thoughts, but that’s exactly what I need more of. I’m not sure at what point I became scared of my own mind, probably when I fell into the trap that everyone else’s life is a non-stop vacation. I want to read more, write more, paint, play piano, hike in central California, really focus on birthing ideas and most importantly, bringing them to fruition.
iOS has a neat new little feature called ‘Screen Time’, which will tell you how much time you actually spend looking at your screen on any given app. According to my statistics, I spend about an hour on average a day looking at Instagram and the same at Twitter. If we do a little math to multiply this by an entire year: 14 Hours a week between the two of them, 56 hours in a month, 672 hours in a year. Divide that by 24 hours, and you end up with 28 days. Twenty eight days out of a year are spent solely looking at Instagram and Twitter, consuming brainpower, and causing anxiety. Almost one whole month of my year that I’m not focused on my work. Think about that. Do your own math.