Do you remember when social media was about showing off our newest haircuts, our favorite music, and the best customization we could do to our profiles? When we could still see the posts from our friends and the people we followed without having to wade through the posts of people we didn’t know? Where we didn’t have a million different ads, people in MLMs trying to sell us stuff, or just one more scroll for our next dopamine fix?
I hate what social media has become. I’m not gonna lie. It’s become a giant pit of neverending content. Always changing. Never enough. More content. More views. More likes. More videos. More algorithm. This is true even for those who use social media to be social! Even sitting here writing this post, my mind wants to be called back to the neverending scroll to distract me from the outside world. Is it another way to dissociate? A trauma response to the current state of the world? My brain can’t keep up with it and I mean this quite literally.
Due to the effect that social media and internet use has on the brain, these activities can be both physically and psychologically addictive. More specifically, when an individual gets a notification such as a “like,” “breaking news,” or an update on a sports score, the brain receives a rush of dopamine which causes us to feel pleasure. Social media and the internet provide immediate access to information and endless amount of instant rewards in the form of attention from others for fairly minimal effort.Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute
I am a person with a few mental health disorders. I am also a person who has experienced multiple traumas in my life. I naturally have less dopamine and serotonin in my body at any given time because of the way my brain is wired. This constant battle on social media is taking its toll on my health and my life, and I’m not even that bad. Or I didn’t think I was, but recently I’ve come to realize that it may be worse than I thought. I have found myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Twitter. I have TikTok but I try to stay off that app as much as possible. If not, I’ll end up scrolling for literal hours. I have timers set for my social media apps but I still find myself reaching for my phone just to fill the space.
And I know that I’m not the only person like this. I’m not the only one who struggles with focusing on tasks, reading books and longer articles, and not reaching for my phone when I have a second of my day with nothing to do. Writing this post, I know only a handful of people will probably read the entire thing. That’s just the nature of our current digital world. It’s been designed to function just like drugs. One quick fix. The next hit of dopamine. Come back for more. Scroll. Scroll. Scroll…
This also affects my witchcraft and religious practices. I have to drag myself away from the computer or my phone, reminding myself what’s important in life (hint: it’s not the little computer we’ve attached to ourselves). My focus has suffered severely because of the constant barrage of digital noise around me. And this is a hard line to walk when I’m also someone who makes content for that digital world. My videos, blog posts, and social media posts don’t do as well when I don’t have a catchy hook or some form of clickbait title to get your attention. And I don’t want to have those, either. I don’t want to feed the addiction of being online. I want people to come to my content and be able to focus. I share so others can learn. I partake so I can learn, too. But I’m really struggling here with being online.
I’m going to be stepping away from social media more and more. This comes at a good time, anyway, with the announcement that Instagram just made. Social media is exhausting. Algorithms are exhausting. And I’m tired of fighting them or trying to work around them or with them. I’m tired of clickbait titles to get attention. I’m still going to post on social media. I will have scheduled posts, video announcements, and things like that. But I won’t be spending as much time on any social media platform as usual.
Social media used to be for community, to bring people together. Now it’s full of influencers and marketers. It’s more difficult than ever to create a community around common interests. It isn’t impossible, I know that. But it’s difficult for someone like me to find that community, be part of it, and not get lost in the next quick fix. I’ll be hanging out more on Discord, so if you’d like to get away from the social media algorithms and talk to people more closely, feel free to join me over there. My Discord server is open to all walks of life (unless you’re a trash human) and I’d be happy to have you there.