John Lockwood

Unboxing a Mind

Giving Up Social Media - One Month Later

As I write this it’s February 4th. On New Year’s Eve, or roughly 35 days ago, I announced my decision to give up social media. A couple of days later, I refined that to be a three week test, lest my mind react would react as it often does to a perceived deprivation by doing the opposite of what we’re trying to will it to do. Today I’m here to give a retrospective report on the experiment, which had great results overall.

My effort was supported to a great degree by the Chrome block site plugin, which helped me avoid unintended “click habit” mistakes. On day 22 I decided to risk allowing LinkedIn back in my life, while continuing to block FaceBook and Twitter. (I don’t have any interest in Snapchat or Instagram, or they’d be on the list as well). LinkedIn was only marginally addictive and potentially useful as a way to connect with fellow software engineers and hiring managers, so I decided the potential benefit outweighed the actual downside. Then within the last day or so, I became frustrated enough with a video game’s encouragement of linking to Facebook and my attempt to set up a bogus account to do the right thing and remove the game from view on my tablet. I also visited Facebook last evening in an effort to get in touch with a former teacher of mine as part of an experiment to write thank you notes to people I’m grateful for in my life, an exercise suggested by the audio course The Science of Mindfulness.

With those exceptions I’ve been quite strict, and what’s interesting to me is not so much what has left my life (which was nothing much). Rather, what’s exciting has been what has returned to it. I described two of these in my Two New Mind Hacks article of January 11th, some ten days into the experiment. As of today, those two things are still in my life, that is:

  • I am meditating again, having recently re-commenced my basic Buddhist practice. I’ve also had several interesting visits to a local Sangha.
  • I’ve begun reading recreationally again, using both the RSS reader I mentioned and a library plugin I found as a result of an article I found through the RSS reader. (Not to mention a few old Buddhism books I had kicking around).

At the same time, the vegan diet and the walking are still going strong.

Yet even with all of that going on, I find I still have time to crank out the occasional masterpiece of narcissistic introspection like this one.

I know, right?