As I commented in a previous article, I recently gave up using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. When I did it, I was somewhat sure about the benefits that it’d bring to my life but there has been other things that have happened as a result, of which I was not aware. One of those things was my dependence on the smartphone.
When I was using social networks, I had their apps installed on my iPhone. That created a behavior on me that led me to frequently check what has happening in the social space. From time to time, I opened Instagram to see the most recent stories, Twitter to be up to date with everything happening in the industry, or Facebook to follow-up with what my friends were up to. With iOS 12 and its feature oriented to encourage people to spend less time with their phones, I started to be more aware of all the time that I was wasting on those apps. Interestingly, more awareness didn’t result in less usage.
With those apps uninstalled on my iPhone now, I can’t use them anymore. Even thought it’s been a few weeks, I sometimes pick up my phone from the pocket in the aim of checking them. My brain gets somewhat disappointed when it realizes that no, those apps are not there anymore and that there’s nothing to do with the iPhone. I always end up putting the phone back in my pocket and doing something else. I feel that I’m reverting the habit that during the last few years social networks have created on me. Crazy, isn’t it?
My iPhone is useless nowadays. I barely use it for my keeping public transport ticket, checking the map, and sporadically, searching for something on Google. I feel far less attached to it than what I used to. All because I don’t have presence on social networks anymore. That made me think about all behaviors that we have, or products that we own, that would not exist in my opinion if there wasn’t such as a thing as social networks.
Let me be more concrete. Do you think Go Pro would sell so many cameras if you could not share the videos afterwards? I don’t believe so. We feel the urge of sharing and letting people know what we are doing and seeing, and Go Pro makes that sharing more visual, real and pro. Take another product, trackers like running watches, step counters, sleep trackers. Most of those products include the social component. If you take a running watch for instance, you can share your workouts on social platforms like Strava, which in fact synchronizes your data with Facebook or Twitter automatically. I’ve been myself checking Strava several times after the workout to see if I’d gotten any likes. At some point when using those products/services, the social validation becomes a main reason for using them. It requires an effort to ignore the social side of things and rather, focus on the activity itself.
I’m glad that I made the decision of giving up social networks and that I’m starting to lose the urge and the need of sharing what I do all the time. I feel that I enjoy my trips, activities, reads and open source work even more because I don’t feel the need of telling the social networks about it. I continue to write in this, my website, because I like to reflect on the ideas that I ponder or the work that I do, but never with the intent of letting people know that I do or think about certain things.
Hope you have a wonderful week 🙂