C. G. McGinn

Writer

Ramblings about Books and Writing

Give up

"And with that, the steel door closed shut, never to open again." -Final line of Winnie the Pooh

Whoever 'they' is, says that a large part of being addicted to cigarettes is the physical action of hand-to-mouth, and that a good way to kick the habit is to occupy your hand with something else. I've never been addicted to anything stronger than cheese puffs and I was never one for coin tricks or conducting, or whatever it is one does to occupy one's hands. But I think there might be something to this.

Take social media and smart phones for example. In life's little pauses, many of us find ourselves reaching for our phones, intent--and perhaps content with scrolling through news feeds, Twitter lists, and Facebook feeds from friends we never see, never talk to, from as far back as elementary school. Are we really interested in these things? No, probably not. For every ten status messages that appear on my Facebook, only half the time is even one worth reading. And yet, I found myself continually reaching for my phone, checking my Tweets, and scrolling, scrolling, scrolling down endless digital papyrus at uninteresting status updates. No offence to people who post on Facebook. Hell, I post on Facebook every time I hit the publish button on this blog. For me, I just found an unsettling habit forming, and yes I'll be so melodramatic as to compare it to smoking. It had to be done. I couldn't not check my social media outlets. I was a multi-app-tapping-social-media-junkie.

I gave it up. I deleted my Twitter and Facebook apps. I kept the Messenger app because it actually involves a form of social interaction: chatting. But the lurker-apps--the quasi-stalker bullshit of scrolling, they're gone. Yes, you'll see me post stupid videos of my dog, and yes, these posts will still appear on these social feeds. But that's because A. I like posting dog videos, and 2. I'm not out to change hearts and minds and realize that a great deal of the traffic on this site comes directly from Facebook and Twitter. I'm using social media as the digital billboard that it should be, and not as a substitute for basic human interactions. If you want to be my friend, make the effort. Don't just hit Retweet.