It’s been about 3 months since I deactivated my profile on the world’s favorite social media network. It’s the best thing I could have done for my tech / social media footprint, my eyes, my free time, and my privacy. And I still think about reactivating it sometimes, too.
My 2018 New Year’s resolution (and 2017, too =/ ) was to do less on social media. Be less involved across different platforms, delete what I didn’t want, didn’t need, didn’t use, etc. I knew I was becoming a bit of a tech zombie, between working in IT and social media being the main way that me and my whole damn generation communicate.
Back in 2016 I would have several notifications a minute on my phone at peak times during the day. It was just too much – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, personal email, work email, texts, and of course the occasional actual phone call (always when I’m in the middle of typing something, no less) – it became a headache to just have a smartphone. I would silence my phone for a 2 hour movie and would illuminate my screen to see at least a dozen notifications. My anxiety levels were being spiked by almost every vibration, every time that little sound went off on my phone.
The allure of smartphones as a new technology is long gone. As millennial in my late 20s, I just get tired of using technology. It’s even harder to be an extrovert in today’s world while trying to not over-use social media. I had been deleting unused and unwanted social media accounts of mine since 2015. Some I stayed off, and some I brought back, reinstalled and logged back in. Why? Feelings of boredom, loneliness, not knowing what to fill the void with when I deleted a heavily used app of mine. Mainly, I didn’t want to be so ‘against the grain’ that I lost my most practical ways to communicate with friends and family.
I had been on Facebook since 2006, when I was 16, a sophomore / junior in high school. Back then, Facebook was considered the way out from the mainstream social media site of the time – MySpace. We all know how that went.
Facebook became the central hub of how I communicated with anyone and everyone in my college and post-college years, save for my closer friends and family who had my phone number. Between profiles, photo tags, and Messenger, it became the norm, the dominant avenue, the unquestionable arena where all people (my age, at least) were expected to be.
It’s no secret Facebook has their shady side. Most people have heard of and/or know about the recent info leaks, but don’t want to cut the cord. Why? It’s just not convenient, and that’s no accident, either.
A common thing you’ll hear in conversations among anyone nowadays, not just young adults is “Find me on Facebook,” or “Facebook me.” It can be awkward, sometimes even a social deterrent, when someone replies “I’m not on Facebook.” How surreal is it, that a social media platform is so strong, so widespread, that it carries a social stigma for those without a profile? This is an underlying form of peer pressure that is still a big reason why millions of users have begrudgingly kept their profiles active.
I deactivated (not deleted, that’s different in FB world) my account right before the whole scandal with Caimbridge Analytica came about, so I feel like my timing was pretty impeccable.
I built up to this by taking a few de-techifying steps for myself over the past few years:
Disabling ALL phone notifications except for texts and alarms
Re-evaluating, uninstalling, and deleting accounts on unnecessary apps on my phone
Making accounts private
Archiving / downloading my entire Facebook profile and account
Deactivating my profile
The last 2 steps came this Spring, and I feel liberated to a large degree. I didn’t go full FB commando though, I still use the Messenger app (no site profile required) and I didn’t ‘request deletion’. The Facebook process for deactivating profiles is full of ‘Are you sure?’ type confirmations, guilt-tripping tactics included. As a user, one is not able to fully delete their profile without ‘Requesting full deletion,’ and awaiting some kind of correspondence.
I haven’t requested full deletion, because, well, after depending on social media my entire adult life, it is hard to fully let go, despite all that I know about over-using technology and social media.
I don’t want my own human experience to be desensitized by technology. I also understand it is an ever-changing world we live in, with no ‘normal’ really lasting for too long.
Something I try to do is strike a balance between making social media useful, but not so much that my time, energy, and moods are consumed by it. Don’t be a tech zombie, but do enjoy what works for you. Don’t go out of your way to be a tech hipster, either. – RSM
(My goal was to emulate Anthony Bourdain’s writing style and narrative voice while writing this.)
A lot of details in my life were, to put it softly, up in the air.
Fate had pressed the reset button on my life.
I had more couch time during this year then ever before. Not a good thing, folks.
I was used to the thrill of the night, the crisp smell of New York City hot dogs, pretzels, and streetmeat permeating the air of wherever I ended up for the evening.
I neglected my mom’s couch and TV for years and didn’t look back, until the time came where I had to, as us literary types would say, ‘gracefully surrender the things of youth.’So with no job, an upcoming IT course to take in the summer and a will to resist my former temptations, I got comfortable and found a few shows to watch.
It sounds easy, but for me it wasn’t.
When it came to TV in 2015, I was a strict ‘only movies and sports’ guy, with a hard pass on any TV series. Back then, I couldn’t sit still. I hated being inside and sedentary for too long. I figured my time was better spent outside, being with human beings than watching other human beings on the idiot box.
I started watching ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ and ‘Ancient Aliens’. I had a good laugh every week and a plethora of alien conspiracy theories to catch up on. I loved both shows but was easily bored after a few months, which is why I tended to shy away from TV shows in the first place.
Then I stumbled upon an old rocker-looking type fronting a travel show called ‘No Reservations.’ I watched Anthony’s Bourdain’s trip to Colombia. And then to Beirut. And then to Seoul. And then to Tokyo. And then I re-watched the Tokyo episode two more times. And then Johannesburg, and then Madagascar… I could go on.
I was more eager to cook new recipes (or even cook at all, at first) after watching a slew of episodes documenting his delicious meals, late nights, and heart to hearts with friends and strangers alike.
Watching Parts Unknown and No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain became way more to me than just finding a show to watch. He was my tour guide, giving me and his audience a casual, blue collar-esque, gritty yet beautiful view of the world. He spoke my language, and I don’t just mean English. I loved the way he interacted with local communities abroad. Bourdain focused less on ‘high-end cuisine’ and landmarks, and more on the people that passed by, lived, and worked in or near the famous, touristy crowd magnets.
He seemed comfortable everywhere he went, interacting with any and every local willing to give the white-haired, tatted up American man with TV cameras the time of day. Bourdain showed me places I never knew of before that by the time the credits rolled, I often had them listed on my travel bucket list.
While I applied to jobs, learned a new career, and stayed out of trouble, every new place he showed me strengthened my aspirations. “I want to be able to travel like this,” I thought. Bourdain had a traveler’s dream job, through his culinary and writing skills. I thought maybe one day my writing skills or something else could afford me the same.
Of all the tens of thousands of TV shows ever made, there’s really only one time my actual neighborhood was shown at all, and it was Anthony Bourdain’s episode about The Bronx. It blew my mind to see him walking down White Plains Road, 233rd Street, and meeting DJ Kool Herc, the founding father of Hip Hop music, at Moodies Record store in Wakefield, the Bronx. Tony was already my self-proclaimed ‘old man goals’ before this, and it was a uniquely heartwarming moment for Bourdain to walk down the streets I grew up on, looking around my neighborhood with the same admiration and curiosity as he would to any other place in the world he had visited.
It’s pretty clear he has influenced me a lot. I don’t like to think he’s gone, he’s just on his way, traveling somewhere else. – RSM
It happens so many times a day, I catch myself coming to, right before I walk right into you;
Yes, you, whoever’s right in front of me, walking towards me, almost a victim of my daydreams, since reality is sometimes bores me.
I’m surely thinking of 5 to 10 other things, at any given time, give it time, I’ll find a way to weave them all together, and altogether I’ll make ’em rhyme.
My daydreams have always been a bit strong, but it was never a concern until I learned of a certain word:
‘Dissociation’, the extremes of one’s consciousness stream distorted by a purely imagined false reality, identity, or scene.
I don’t suffer from anything official of the sort, but it’s a bit eerie, the level of daydreams on a daily that I report;
If my mind could record, it would catch a few dozen memories distorted and replayed in the mix of impromptu imaginary screenplays.
I like the way this works, a vivid brain does not necessarily make me insane, but I get a little paranoid, hypochondriac style, when I realize reality is sometimes tapping its foot, waiting, saying “You and your immersive daydreams need to stop playin’.”
I’ve always loved the way my thoughts flow, and along with my imagination they put on a show; I also know that DID is all too real, a different league, and hope that those who suffer from it get the help they need. ❤ – RSM
How it was vs. How it is
How it is vs. “What if…?”
Late 20s vs Early 20s
What I did wrong vs. What I did right
What I did right vs. What I could have done better
What I wish I did vs. What I’m glad that I did
What I know now vs. What I knew then
Abandoning a risky lifestyle vs. “I’ll always cherish these memories”
Suit & tie rat race vs. “That’ll never be me, bro”
Middle class independence vs. Broke, at mom’s
In bed by 11pm vs. Starting the night at 11pm
Needing more sleep vs. Getting more sleep, but still not enough
Studying for IT certifications all day vs. YOLOando all night
IT vs. Journalism and Music, sponsored by retail
“I’ll try anything once” vs. “That was fun, but that was then”
“Veni veti vicci” vs. “You’re PROUD of that?”
Love hoped for vs. Love lasting
How it was vs. How it might have been
How it might have been vs How it is
Still undefeated, with unmatched poise, ferociously determined, a soul at ease, round after round:
‘How it is’ wins; once again, and every time. – RSM