If there's such a thing, I'm pretty sure that for most of us, that would mean getting off these brain drain apps and platforms completely.
I went on an Instagram hiatus on December 31st last year. It's now been three weeks since my last interaction with this toxic app, and I feel the effects clearly. I've gone on extended breaks before, and compared to others, I'm hardly a heavy -- I take A LOT of precautions to not spend much time there even when I am using the app. Every time I take a timeout, it's striking how much better I feel.
There's absolutely nothing I miss. I don't miss the annoying 'hashtag activism.' And I don't miss the many people who despite knowing so little, but still feel empowered to deliver their hot takes on every emerging crisis, currently for example the Israel-Hamas war.
I don't miss the selfies. I don't miss the filters. I don't miss the fucking 'yogic' handstands. I don't miss the public love declarations to partners.
I don't miss the mindful quotes. I don't miss the 'haha-look-how-much-fun-we're-having-and-you're-not-invited'-posts.
I don't miss the coaches coaching coaching for huge 'investments.'
I don't miss people in the so called 'wellness space' calling price 'investment.' That actually makes me sick to my stomach.
I don't miss the virtue signaling.
And I really don't miss the dissonance I feel inside from participating in something I KNOW is harmful, the tension I feel inside from NOT being authentic, for NOT having integrity.
And I especially don't miss the yucky feeling of speed getting trapped in my body from taking in tiny little bite-sized pieces of content.
Because even when they're actually sweet once in a blue moon; like a cute kitten or pup, or someone making fun of coaches coaching coaches, or a lovely piece of art -- they are like pick'n'mix candy -- ultimately bad. Bad for my poor brain, bad for my nervous system. They impact my ability to concentrate; they hijack my focus. And ultimately that ability is my superpower. It's your superpower.
And finally, I don't miss that feeling that usually creeps in after only a few minutes of scrolling. That feeling of lack. That feeling that's been engineered by these powerful tech companies with access to the sharpest, most well-educated brains, and the most cutting edge softwares and algorithms, to make me feel that way.
We all know that what we see isn't real. And yet, some very ancient part of our brain is fooled. And we slowly begin to suspect we're failing. We don't look like the filters, so we're ugly. We can't do handstands, so we won't reach enlightenment. We're not currently sipping a drink on a beach lit by a fuchsia sunset or doing a yoga pose on a mountain top, so we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.
I don't miss how, when I used to have the app on my phone, my finger would wander to the icon and click it, as if my finger was remote controlled, and before I knew it, and without wanting it, I would be engulfed in those nuggets of nothingness instead of engaging with the real world around me.
My only little worry now is how my absence is impacting my business.
And that's what keeps me there. That's what keeps so many of us there.
But a few of my colleagues have gotten off, and they are doing well. I believe that the future is offline, as online is just getting worse and worse, with AI and deep fakes, and with the polarisation shrinking whatever common ground is left.
I definitely STILL spend way too much time online -- reading The Guardian (which I think is a very respectable newspaper but I still overdo it) checking and responding to email, 'researching,' 'shopping,' checking the goddamn weather. It's crystal clear that my attention has been impaired. I find it way harder to concentrate these days. Which means my ability to do deep work also is impaired. As well as my ability to be there for my friends, family and for our beautiful fucked up world.
I have experienced how when I spend an extended period offline, such as when I did a two week silent retreat last spring, my ability to concentrate returns, and I feel way more peaceful and happy.
So bottom line, even if you have a highly curated feed, with only the most feel-good content such as cute animals, permaculture blitzes and Rumi quotes, you are still supporting these assholes, you are still creating unnecessary greenhouse gases, you are still wasting your precious time AND you are still destroying your biggest asset, your super-power; you are ruining your ability to pay attention to what you want to pay attention to, and you are ruining your capacity to do deep work.
And chances are you aren't as present as you could be for your friends and for your life. And presence and embodiment is what makes life sweet.
And you're using up your phone's battery.
And finally, every minute we spend on social media, emits greenhouse gases which speed up climate change.
As we're destroying the planet, we make the world's richest and most powerful people even more rich and powerful. And these people are not philanthropists like George Soros, nor are they part of the billionaires with a consciousness that ask to be taxed more. No, these assholes want to build bunkers and colonialize space.
How do you envision pro-social media use?