I came to a realization the other day, and shortly after that decided to deactivate both my Facebook and Instagram. The problem sad to say it is my apparent addiction to social media. The realization hit as I spent about an hour arguing with someone via PM, something which without social media tunnel vision and manipulation, never would have happened.
Social media has as a whole made me far less social. I’m an introvert to begin with, so my fuel tank for socialization is already extremely limited unless I’m currently engaged in activities or conversations I personally find interesting. Instead of burning said fuel via direct person to person interaction, it was done online. By the time I had opportunity in the offline world, my low fuel light was flashing.
I sit and think about it – so many times I had a brief interaction with someone in the real world, and instead of connecting directly I ducked behind that virtual shield of Facebook. I wouldn’t get to know them by asking – I’d look them up on social media and if I found greater interest afterwards – I’d add them as a friend and wait to see if they were addicted like me.
In very few instances this resulted in further engagement, conversations, etc… I’m not even talking about trying to date people here, just human interaction on my terms using the modern (read: idiotic) paradigm of social media. For most though, I just became another number on a pile of “friends” numbering in the hundreds if not thousands – and that is only if they accepted.
If they didn’t accept, I would literally wonder if I read the cues wrong. After all, I saw Facebook as a safer route to engage, I control the taps here, don’t I? Early on it used to grind my gears when a message wasn’t accepted or a friend request was ignored. Now with so much else to look at, I embraced my dopamine fueled apathy and moved on to the next post.
So much of what I see every single day on social media is cultivated first by other real people only showing what they want others to see, and further by mysterious algorithms working behind the scenes to draw our attention where IT sees fit. At the end of the day I’m still just a lonely introvert, sitting at home and rapidly scrolling through an endless feed of nothing.
The entire time, my socialization tank gets emptier, and emptier, and emptier until the point I really don’t care that I’m lonely. I don’t care that I’ve been single for the better part of a decade. I don’t care that when I go out the only conversations I get with real people are the folks serving me food and drink that are forced to interact with me to get paid.
That said though, some of the best conversations and interactions I’ve had over the past few years were with bartenders and wait staff. They are people too after all, so many I see simply running on auto-pilot until their shift is up… Others however, there’s something resembling a friendship built there which can expand beyond the working week. I’ll take it.
In the mean time, my social skills fall away, and instead of seeking contact, conversation, and socialization with real flesh and blood people where a keyboard or touch screen is not involved… I’m left confined to my own mind, as are others, and I wind up arguing with them over a reality that outside social media or our own brains – simply does not or should not exist.
Social media thrives on social manipulation, and I’m !@#$ing done with it.
So for now, I’ve deactivated Facebook and Instagram. Tiktok is next. I’m cutting off the source of my dopamine addiction and forcing myself to put down the phone. I plan to use my limited supply of introvert fuel to interact with people in the real world for a change. I think nicotine may be easier to kick than what I should have walked away from back in the days of MySpace.