Imagine you’re driving a motorbike back to your home, leaving right after your friend’s birthday party. It’s 3 pm afternoon, and you’re at the crossroad waiting for the signal to turn the red light green.
Five seconds is counting. Meanwhile, that same road is shaking harder and you’re looking at your motorbike wheels, “What the heck is happening!”. You lifted your head up, then left, then right. All the nearby vehicles, pedestrians on the road, some local stores on the side corner, everything is shaking because it’s the EARTHQUAKE.
5…4…3…2…1… BANG and all that you saw shaking have just been replaced with a sea coastal area. Your motorbike with a dinghy boat. The road that you’re driving on is turned into the water and now you’re sailing your boat in the sea.
You can clearly see the vehicles which were nearby you on the signal, are too transcended with boats. Some with motorboats, some with ships, and some are like yours; dinghy boats. And everyone in their water-vehicles at the sea is just wandering around, roaming here and there. You can feel how they’re moving as if with no destinations.
This sounds hypothetical, totally, right? Like how everything turns out to be sea from the road, it’s not the video game or GTA Vice City that we’re tapping our joysticks on. Exactly! But that hypothetical calamity is happening with most of us if we relate this to social media.
This sea where we’ve transcended from the road is a social media platform, or say is the internet! The boat you’re sailing on the sea is the platform we’ve opted for on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and if not social media then some OTT platforms like Netflix, and Hotstar.
So, we can say, to sail our boats in the sea is to stream social platforms on the internet; a sea of virtuality. And to drive our vehicles on a road is the reality.
Now, real case scenario, when we travel to a nearby sea, lake or ocean for boating, we go with the process. First, we stand in a queue at the ticket window, then buy tickets, then the person consulting boats alerts us with some instructions, then we get the seats and we sail our boats. If lake, then paddle-boat, sometimes in the sea, its dinghy boats, or motor-boats. And if you’re earning ample money, then it can be jet-ski.
All in all, we are aware of the fact that at 5 pm evening we’ll go boating or have jet ski time. Or if you’re a pirate, as if Jake Sparrow, having a very tight schedule, has to leave your ship and so-so. Through it all, for the case of entering the sea for any matter, we know when we’re going to leave the land.
Tell me how lame this question seems like: have your vehicle ever transcended to the boat? And moving the head left-right what you notice is sea, sea, and sea?
Unless it’s a video game.
Unfortunately, it is the case of social platforms. During our working time or even lunchtime, we can’t stop ourselves to unlock the phone, turn On the WiFi and open our favorite applications. Shockingly, it takes seconds for all, like that road to sea transformation. 5…4…3…2…1… BANG and we are sailing our boat of social media over the sea or ocean of the internet.
So, What Happens On This Social Media Boat?
As far as we’re on this social media boat, we aren’t even knowing or aware of how we entered the sea of the internet. Therefore, mood change is bound to happen. Most of us resonate with the fact that platforms like TikTok had very less attention span. Along with that, it not only stays with TikTok, there is one vital observation reflects the same case with every social media you loved scrolling your thumb down.
Imagine, for an instance, you’re traveling to Dubai. The next day you and your family visited its tourist places. And the same night, you ended up scrolling social media, and you started feeling inferior to your friend who just got a job at Google. Or you’re upset because of the para-social relationship you’ve built with your most lovable YouTuber. Where they’ve suggested Dubai is not a place to visit.
Just think how, not being conscious, changes your mood. Now it happens in a lot of other ways and of course, every aspect depends from person to person. But the thing is, if we’re not conscious enough, then mood swings are inevitable to the case with social media and its algorithm.
There are many studies about human behavior on social media, that obviously we’re ignoring as if we know it, but it’s actually important to know. Here are some studies:
What can we do next then?
For that, know the process of boating!
Standing in a queue, we buy tickets. Then we enquire about the instructions or the guide tells us. We take some safety measures along with us. And therefore from buying tickets to waiting for our turn for boating, after 15-30 minutes, we’re all good to go to have fun in the sea or lake. Besides that, how much time do you spend on boating? Half an hour, 45 minutes, one hour to be the max, right? And what do we do after boating? Come back to the road of reality, isn’t it?
That goes the same to social media, but we often fail to draw the lines of limits. 30 minutes, half-an-hour, an hour, or up till when?
Know the process of boating. Let’s draw the lines of limits, till what time we should turn back our faces to the road of reality from the sea of virtuality.
And before we take a plunge to open social platforms, just like the boating case, what we must assure ourselves is to owe some minutes or seconds before tapping the application icons. For example, look in the mirror or at your phone of black screen, say to yourself for 30 seconds, “I’m going to open this Xyz platform, and I know when to come back.”
Let’s keep us aware of using them by enjoying as happily as we do in boating. Boating ends in some time, so we have to apply the same logic to our social media usage.
But isn’t it too ideal?
Yes, it sounds too ideal. Like how can we ace social media usage, right?
No-one’s perfect, that’s what you will say. That is so true, my friend. It won’t always work that you’ll completely conquer social media. As if the very next day after deciding the limits, we’ll be more productive and fill colors in our lives.
No, that won’t be going to happen, anyway. We human beings are too complex, we sometimes lose the track, we sometimes forget the limits.
But on the contrary to this counter-argument, there still lies hope and the choice to start back again, the next day after suffering from the social media distraction. This is where we’ve to understand the capacity of our own being. For which we’ve some practical ways too, woo… hoo!
How Can We Do That?
- Alarm Method
Set the alarm at every hour of your work time. Suppose you’re working from 9 am to 5 pm. Schedule 8 alarms for 8 hours. Every hour, you’ll get a push with an alarm to make yourself awake with what you are doing. Pull out pen and paper, write what you did in every hour.
- Reward System
Reward yourself to use social media after every 2 hours or 3 hours only if you’ve done some work. Or you decide, plan and act, but use it as a reward system.
- Regular Social Media Breaks
Take a week of break every month or two. For example, put in your Instagram stories as ‘Meet y’all after a break, take care’ and feel the serenity of the silence, my friend 🙂
In case if your job is in digital agency or marketing, then fix your dates on your own. Start by taking it off 2 days or a weekend break, or give yourself the freedom to leave social media for one day.
- Turn Off Notifications
Except for WhatsApp or any important application, turn off the notifications of all platforms and thank me later. As simple as that.
Remember The Boating:
We detach the anchor of the boat, or a knot tied at the berth. And start sailing our boats using oars or with motors (if motorboats). After having fun during some limited time period in the lake, sea, or ocean, we come back to the berth and attach the anchor or tie the knot again.
The lake, sea, or ocean is the internet, and the boats are the variety of social media platforms that we sail over. This anchor, that we attach-detach, is our self-control, self-awareness, consciousness, whatever word you call it.
Let us assure that we use social media objectively with this great tool – anchor! Because social media has its own benefits.
For the sake of gaining such an advantage, let’s not transcend from the road to the sea transformation that we imagined in the very beginning of this topic. Avoid the 5…4…3…2…1… BANG and stay conscious before some moments of opening social media.
What do you think what really goes wrong with social media?