Social Media Anxiety

F**k the Algorithm

Despite all the things I talk about here relating to not being beholden to social media, I am still a work in progress.

I can see the origin of my daily thoughts and feeling around “what I should be doing” and “what the algorithm wants”, it is the result of being manipulated by the machine and I don’t want to be part of that anymore.

On the scale of personality tests I am pretty 50/5 when it comes to emotional vs rational thinking (which can lead to endless internal debates). For instance I know Instagram isn’t good for me but I am afraid I won’t be able to sell my art if I am not on it. I don’t like Facebook, but I still have a page because that what people expect. I want to write about my thoughts and creative process but apparently nobody wants reads that stuff anymore.

Well fuck that.

I WANT to write blog posts.

I WANT to share my process without the pressure of ‘consistency’ and ‘authenticity’.

I mean the very idea that we have to think about our authenticity begs the question – can it then be actually authentic?!

So I am going to work towards things that I want to do, that spark *my* algorithm of creativity and share it in a way that makes me inspired, not anxious.

What triggered the above exclamation on the algorithm was that I just watched a TedX talk by Cal Newport called “Why You Should Quit Social Media”. I haven’t read any of his booked but I have heard about his philosophies around the interwebs on how distractions like social media prevent us from doing deep work and that social media is not good for us.

Anyway, his talk centered on how you can actually survive without social media and answered the three most common objections and it really gave me so clarity.

Cal Newport – Three Common Objections to Quitting Social Media

1. Social media is not fundamental technology.

                It uses fundamental technology, just like a slot machine does, and in the same way it is a form of entertainment, not a necessity. And taking a stance by not being on social media is no different from saying I prefer to get my news from the newspaper than the TV news.

2.  Social media is vital to be successful in the current economy.

                The market values the ability to produce things that are rare and therefore have value.  Conversely the market dismisses that are easy to replicate and produce. It rewards deep work – therefore if you do your deep work and produce something rare and valuable, people will find you.

3. Social media is harmless.

                It is well documented these days that social media is built to be addictive and can have significant impact on our mental health. Harmless is not good enough,  the benefits should outweigh the positives.

He finishes up by saying that life without social media is actually pretty fine. He still has friends and keeps up with what is happening in the world, and by preserving his concentration is quite productive.

I don’t know about you, but I crave to be more productive.

I am extremely fortunate to have all the time and supplies available to me to be able to do the work, yet my days get eaten up with surfing here and scrolling there, and clearly much much too much time *thinking* about the doing and all the anxiety associated with the thinking instead of actually doing.

REMINDER: I just need to DO THE WORK.

Faaaaaar out, how many times do I have to tell myself that?!

(Like I said, I am in the middle of this, I obviously need some regular reinforcing of this concept! And this ted talk is from 2016 – so I obviously needed some time to come around to this!)

So, what does that mean in practical terms? I have already deleted my personal social media, so here is what I am planning business-wise from now on.

CURATE MY INSTAGRAM – treat the content like a job, upload to a schedule and allocate time for interacting, unfollow everyone to avoid temptation and delete the app on my devices. Only use Facebook creator studio to post and interact. Say goodbye to Jamie 😭

STOP POSTING TO FACEBOOK – Post on FB that you can find me on the Instagram/blog if they want to keep following along.

COMMITT TO MY BLOG – write content I want, share what I like, stop worrying about analytics and algorithms. Use it as my creative outlet and nothing more. Have this be my place for deep work.

So what are your thoughts on giving up social media? Have you read any of Cal Newport’s books and found they have changed your views? I would love to hear from you, let me know in the comments below!

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