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What Am I Doing Here? An Explanation.

If you’re enjoying Instagram or Facebook and find that they add a lot of value to your life, then this piece may come across as critical. And I don’t want to be confused with making a judgment about you and your decisions. The following is a personal reflection on what those platforms meant to me and why I've decided to leave them behind.

(The irony that you likely got here through a link on my social media accounts isn’t lost on me. But I thought it was worthwhile to leave a breadcrumb behind in case anyone was curious.)

Reality is a precious thing, and I’m afraid of losing my grip on it. That and whenever I hear the term “Metaverse” the next 5 words out of my mouth are usually “run for your fucking life”. These Covid years had me leaning on my social media apps more and more in order to feel connected, and with good reason. For almost 2 full years interacting with people in the physical world was literally dangerous. Then I came to the disturbing realization that I’ve never felt more disconnected than I do right now. As the world re-re-opens I am not allowing that habit to persist.

It went something like this: get the urge to connect/communicate with people, consume social media feeds to fill that need and/or post something in order to feel seen, then log off having not communicated with anyone in a personal, meaningful way. No rinsing, repeat endlessly.

Was it all negative? Of course not, and that’s by design. The feeds these platforms provide are a roller coaster where the downs are just as important as the ups, which is classic addiction. That post made me feel enraged, this post made me feel liberated, that post made me feel lost, this post made me feel seen, that post made me feel ugly, this post made me feel beautiful. Much of it removed from context and presented as a figurative existence. It stripped me of my attention span and desire for nuance. It watered down my spirituality in favor of beliefs more cult-like and tribal. Every layer above "Human Being" has the ability to divide us if we let it do so, and I refuse to let these platforms widen a gap that I can feel turning into a chasm. All while Silicon Valley billionaires say that they’re bringing us together.

I’ve gotten to a point where I can find happiness in life itself, and once I had done that I realized I don’t need these algorithms manipulating me anymore.

I’ve already noticed a few changes since the departure. It feels like I’ve gotten 25% of my mental energy back because there is no longer that subconscious riptide pulling me out to a digital sea. Whenever I get the urge to connect/communicate with people, I text or call a friend and that 1 on 1 exchange has been deeply fulfilling. I can look at my body and think “what do I want/what would be healthy for me?”. And for causes that I believe in I'm forced to develop plans to contribute in a real-world/tangible way. I'm tempted to say that every part of my life has gotten better, and I definitely feel more connected with reality.

So what am I doing here? Blogging? What the fuck?

Because I still believe in being connected! The internet is a magical thing, and I believe it's important for people to share their stories and understand each other. But here there are no third-party manipulators, no likes, no comments, and no dopamine hits for Ol' Jonny Brain. It’s a 1 way street where the payoff is expression itself. That and if you ever find yourself thinking "I wonder what Jon is up to...", there's somewhere to go! Sure, I’m going to reach a lot less people in the short term, but I know it will be better for me in the long run.

A final thought; after setting up my own website and seeing what it actually costs, I think about all of the truly incredible tools and storage capacity Facebook & Instagram provide free of charge. What is the real cost of that? Is it our souls?

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and I’m paying for mine from now on.


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