For the past 10 years I’ve been addicted to porn.
It may seem harmless, but this addiction contributed to strong limiting beliefs, awkwardness, shame around sex, and partly lead to my incarceration.
Even though we’ve all heard about addiction in the context of hard drugs and alcohol, my porn addiction has shown me first hand how seemingly innocuous behavior can be disruptive to oneself and others. Social media is no different.
Likes, Hearts, and Porn
Humans need connection. We are a tribal species. When I use social media, I am usually seeking connection with other humans.
Unfortunately, the connection isn’t real. We catch a glimpse of another’s life, a highlight reel, which is inauthentic and often makes us feel worse.
If we’re not scrolling aimlessly, we’re posting our own highlight reel with witty remarks, a fun picture, and soaking up likes, hearts, and validation to our heart’s content.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. They are all worth billions of dollars and they hire the best psychologists and experts to keep us on their website to make them more money.
But this is what makes it so sinister…
Boredom, ADHD and Addiction
Social media experts develop a user interface that is meant to dump dopamine into your brain and the more of these squirts of dopamine you get, the harder it is to focus or concentrate without them.
According to Cal Newport’s “Deep Work”, the constant use of social media has destroyed our ability to innovate and create meaningful work. There is always some form of stimulation at your fingertips and it is scattering your brain.
ADHD diagnoses have gone up by 41% in only 4 years (2007 – 2011). Now 11% of children ages 4 – 17 and 20% of boys in the same age range are diagnosed with ADHD.
The reason kids struggle with ADHD is because sitting in a classroom is against our nature. The reason more kids are struggling with ADHD is because stimulation outside of the classroom (i.e: social media) is making the classroom that much more boring.
Whether you are diagnosed with ADHD or not, removing constant stimulation in your life is going to allow you to be more focused in your work, less erratic, and happier.
Another Way to Use Social Media
I love my freedom. I hope to derive my sense of self outside of the social media likes, hearts, and well-wishes. They don’t make me and they don’t make you.
But social media has tremendous advantages. We can communicate with people we haven’t spoken to or seen in years who live half-way across the world. We can learn and share in a way our ancestors could never do.
Social media is a tremendous tool, but humans are flawed and prone to addictive behavior. The ideal is to use social media for conscious, inspiring action.
This is how you quit using social media for the wrong reasons and continue using it consciously:
Go nuclear – get rid of all social media. Delete the apps from your phone, use the Stay Focused app to block it from your computer, and go on a complete hiatus for at least 2 weeks to a month.
Feed killer – I use Facebook newsfeed killer so I’m not scrolling through on my computer. The objective here is to have access to communication with people, but without getting sucked into a vortex of cat videos and travel pictures.
Schedule “deep work” – I schedule my deep work daily at 5:30 AM. I turn my phone on airplane mode before going to sleep the night before. I do all of this so I have no distractions when I work on Nootropedia and other meaningful work.