Every day, there’s something new. Who’s the star of the latest Hollywood scandal? Whose political stance is in jeopardy? Who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s offended, who’s cheating on whom, and what show do you need to binge-watch next?
Given the rate at which we consume media, it’s safe to presume that if the latest Kardashian Instagram post or the Internet’s “meme of the moment” had caloric value, the obesity epidemic would skyrocket off the charts. Even though we know it’s bad for us, even though we know it’s meaningless, even though it’s blurring our vision of what is truly important in this world, we just can’t stop.
Year after year, we continue to spend increasingly more time frolicking in the garden of the social newsfeed. This place, once budding with family photos and milestone announcements, is now swamped with oversaturated headlines and videos aiming to generate the most likes and spark the most controversy. And we don’t seem to mind the drastic change at all; it’s as if our nation is deeply entangled in the ever-growing vines of viral news, and we don’t care how it affects our aspirations, perspectives, or progress, so long as it is “entertaining.”
But why are we so obsessed with the gossip, the mindless chatter, and the publicity stunts? With other people’s success stories, demises, and click-bait captions?
Perhaps all fingers point to our laziness, our lacking motivation, and the voids we’re trying to fill—all the viral articles and hashtag trend frenzies just feed into that weakness, like an aggressive virus or addiction. If you think about it, scrolling through the feed is the cigarette break of the 21st century: how long can you go ‘til you “need” another one?
Meanwhile, our priorities and aspirations have been shuffled into the same engagement-driven algorithms that power our social media timelines (and let’s put it this way: the “good stuff” is getting buried alive).
How can we possibly claim to be so busy, so overworked, and so #Blessed, but we still allow ourselves the time to subscribe to someone else’s life?
Must not want it bad enough, that’s all.
We consistently drift away from our own goals, our own desires, and our own communities, only to place the magnifying glass over the controversies of others—specifically the rich, the famous, and the scandalous. Acing that test, making meaningful connections and memories with our friends, climbing the corporate ladder, zeroing in on our own health and happiness… it all gets put on the back burner. Just for a second. Because hey, did you see his latest Tweet?
It’s a trip down the rabbit hole—pushing us further and further from the visions we’ve crafted for ourselves; what we truly want in our lives.
Instead, we look for a distraction from the tasks at hand. We crave an opportunity to dodge the bullet, take the shortcut, and give ourselves “a break.” Investing in viral media and celebrity gossip on the newsfeed literally feels like an activity, a hobby to many—but it’s not in the slightest bit fulfilling, and at the end of the day, there’s nothing to show for it.
Listen, we all need a break. But there’s a difference between taking a quick breather and allowing smartphone notifications to completely reroute you on the journey to your goals and dreams.
It’s time to realign your focus and “Favorite” YOU again.