The feed. We are consuming the feed one digital byte at a time.
The Facebook feed. The Twitter feed. The Instagram feed. And on and on the list goes. The feeds are everywhere.
What are we being fed exactly? “Stuff we don’t need” is the answer. Other peoples lives. Ads for things we shouldn’t buy. News- sensational and emotionally fired-up NEWS and all of the comments about that news made by ordinary people- AND the comments about the comments (ugh). Let’s not forget about all the MEMES….
There are plenty of articles and studies out there as to why its so hard to stop doing this and why you should.
This isn’t one of those articles. I mean, come on, its impossible to stop being part of the digital society. Instead, I’ve got some ideas that will help you manage the constant stream of information competing for your attention.
Option 1- Get a Dumb Phone. Remember those first cell phones? Texting took forever because you had to rely on your ability to remember where the letters were positioned on the number pad. So you might not have bothered and just called that person instead. Texting was a HASSLE. And the only distraction on the phone was that SUPER fun game- Snake. I personally had so much fun playing that game I must have reached level 2 at some point. *yawn*
But it was really good at one thing- calling people and receiving phone calls. Yep, it was great at being a phone.
You can still get your fill of Facebook via your computer/laptop/tablet. It just makes it less convenient and will help you cut back on some digital carbs. So when your contract is up for renewal just ditch it and get yourself a brick.
Option 2- Mass Destruction!! Total Annihilation. Maybe you are feeling ready for something a bit more extreme. Burn those tablets. Melt that laptop. Smash the consoles. I reckon this isn’t really practical for most of us, though. But I bet you could get along just fine with a single computer?
You know I’m right. The computer does email. The computer does internet. I mean you don’t really need to constantly wiki everything. Sometimes it’s good to guess and have a discussion with friends about I dunno, why most china is blue. Flex your brain muscles, work your imagination.
Plus, you will make deeper and more meaningful relationships when you allow your friends to see your vulnerabilities. Show them that side of you that is a little naive. They’ll be glad to share their knowledge and together you become more awesome people and tighter friends.
Option 3- Say “no thanks” to the app. If you have to do that thing- do it the slow and annoyingly incompatible way through the tiny web browser. Make it a level of annoying that will make you want to stick your whole head in a bucket of pig slop.
Plus think of all the space you will save on your phone to take a million pictures of your dog or tiny human… or food. You will have so many minute details thoroughly documented that all future dentist and doctor appointments will be a breeze. They’ll zoom in on that cabbage leaf you had for dinner and see the tiny spec of snot- flu diagnosis SORTED.
Option 4- Tell your partner (gf, bf, husband wife… ) flatmate or CAT to intervene. You are going to need help… particularly if you get pretty worked up over the injustice that is LIFE. Your tribe cannot let you become that troll we all despise. You must make silence your cloak of cool. Silence might SEEM like compliance (trust me I get it) BUT its your secret weapon. The whole internet does not need your views on Donald Trump or Mom problems or whatever. Your best friends need those views. Save the short and concise version for family during the holidays. But leave the dribble. Leave the angry stuff to the idiots with nothing better to do.
You need this person (or pet) who lives with you to completely disapprove of everything you want to “give a piece of your mind” to. Literally everything. Their one job is to say NO!! Don’t. or DELETE that. Just delete it. If you have no one and your cat is bad at glaring at you (really?? your cat doesn’t hate you? are you sure you don’t have a dog??)… if you have no one, then you have me right now. DELETE THAT POST. Put the finger down. Put it down and walk away this instant. Don’t look back. Don’t keep reading what the rest of them have said. You DON’T need to know!! Aren’t you glad you know me? Anytime- ANYTIME you need to hear that just you pop over and see me.
Delete it. No really go delete it. Delete it now.
Option 5- Have kids. This is a high risk solution so be warned. Overall, however, kids are distracting. The baby stage is probably the most difficult to overcome the urge to indulge… particularly during the night feeds when you literally have nothing else to do. But beyond that, when those tiny creatures of destruction begin walking and talking is where you’ll have your work cut out for you. You will be so busy making sure they don’t kill themselves on an hourly basis that you will savour those 10 minutes a day scrolling through the feed. It will be nourishment for your adult-conversation starved brain. And when they start going to school and doing stuff, you’ll become the chauffeur, the cook, the cleaner, the medic, the teacher, the friend, the referee… etc. Trust me you’ll stay busy in new and ever more “distracting” (ok AND sometimes stressful) ways.
For that reason… option 5 is a risky move because if you don’t turn to booze (like most of us do) you may instead turn to the feeds. Its a double edged sword though. You’ll get your fill of interesting DIY projects, cute kid pictures, the latest fashion and gadgetry… but you’ll also suddenly feel like you are not good enough and somehow everyone has life sussed out when you are just hanging on by a thread. Lies! The internet lies (say that to yourself over and over and over again).
But I think the best reason for number 5 is that kids break stuff. I reckon at some point at least one if not two of your devices will be out of service due to your child’s mere existence. Also, if they don’t break all your stuff, when they are old enough, they’ll just steal it. If you don’t have it, you can’t use it. Done.
Hopefully, you’ll find a good kick-starter that works for you to help you at least cut back on your computer carbs. When you’ve trimmed the digital fat you’ll find that you’ve got the time and energy to devote to life pursuits that are really worth you time and energy!