I am scrolling through Facebook, skimming through post after post. Everyone does so nowadays searching for interesting, funny, entertaining content to feed their minds right? After an extensive amount of time on the platform I, of course, got bored. So I put my phone away and try to run through the homework due for tomorrow. Not even 2 minutes later, I get a text. I pick up my phone and next thing I know i am now exploring through Instagram liking posts after posts after posts. Next platform visited was 9gag, followed by Youtube, Tinder, Twitter, Tumblr and back to Facebook again. I glance at the time and realise its already midnight. At this point it hit me, I’ve spent my whole day glued to my device. I dwell on myself and then promise to never do it again. Funny how we do believe so when we say that to ourselves right? Think about it; in one day, i lost 24 hours – 24 hours of hustle, 24 hours of mastering new skills, 24 hours of value creating, 24 hours of network building – 24 hours of my precious life energy. For doing so, I am a piece of shit. Or at least I was when I was deeply entangled in this cancerous man-made hypnosis feeding on my life. What about you? Are you still stuck in the matrix?
“The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day.” – The Telegraph UK
Honestly it may not be as bad as stated above but this stretched example shows how social media eats away your time everyday and what comes out of it is basically nothing but spiked emotions that last 10 sec to 5 mins from a viral post from Facebook. Those posts/emotions stack up as you scroll, and scroll, and scroll and with every flick of your thumb you are only feeding yourself a doctrine that you won’t even recall in the next hours. Social media is the brand new socially acceptable drug approved by the herd, a.k.a society. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware about all the benefits social media brings to the table and if you’d ask me I would never choose to live in another era than this one right now. However a subtle observation that I picked up through teachings and personal experience relates to the fact that when the masses start using the newest ‘cool’ thing around, they turn it into shit. A vast majority of people use social media mostly as a means of entertainment and push it to the extreme. But wait a minute, are you saying we shouldn’t have fun in life? Not at all. What i am trying to point out can be clarified through a simple exercise:”A vast majority of people use social media mostly as a means of entertainment” – Repeat this sentence replacing ‘entertainment’ with ‘living life through others’ and evaluate how it sounds.
In anything that you do in life, a clear line needs to be drawn between entertainment and productivity.
Now, one could argue that it is sometimes good to be able step into someone’s shoes for a moment and I do agree completely with such insights. I love watching TV shows such as Planet Earth 2 or Game of thrones that transport you into an entirely new world by the value they transfer onto you. However i strongly believe that similar to a drug, over-usage kills the essence of those amazing shows and they end up sucking the life out of you in the process. Understand that those shows are, first of all, a product. And I believe that there are 2 sides of a coin to every product. One side is the value-sharing essence and the other is the business essence. The value sharing part of the coin is where the passion put in the creation of the product is crystal clear to the senses. You can feel an exceptional vibe and energy coming from the product as it captures your attention and immerses you into a completely different world thus providing you with immense value. A perfect example would be a Disney movie to a child. Now, the other side of the coin stills concerns the immersive aspect of the product but viewed differently. The product immerses you with the passion but it does so in an attempt to create a funnel for future sales. Great products are fully optimised to create a need. What we are uncovering here is the subtle art of creating addiction. At this point the latter latches onto you like an python on its prey and binds you creating a necessity for it on a repeated time basis being daily, weekly and so on.
This illustrates the basic cycle that creates addiction. In this consumer-driven era, its essence is present around you more than you could ever imagine.
If it’s still unclear let me elaborate more deeply on what social media is really about. The major platforms are free. What does that imply? When something is free no one ever questions it since the value from it is undoubtedly positive as the retail price is zero. This is where you ask yourself, why is it free then? A recent saying that I stumbled upon from Seth Godin (google him btw, he’s amazing) elaborates on this and I quote, “You are not the consumer of social media, you are the product being sold.” What social media gains from you being glued to your device 1-8 hours a day is the social awareness it generates from you using the platform. Billboards are nothing compared to the advertising power of social media. The price of posting an ad on Instagram equals the shelf price of your right kidney on black markets at the moment you are reading this, and the former’s price is still climbing steadily everyday thanks to us. So imagine how much time extracted from your day-to-day is sold back to others without you even knowing. I was mind blown when i discovered the ugly truth.
“You are not the consumer of social media, you are the product being sold.” – Seth Godin
All that said, this post is not meant to make you feel like you have been victimised for every minute you spent on social media. View it as a call to action to open your eyes and see what is actually in front of you instead of living in the dreamy, unconscious world that society has slowly painted around us. I am not telling you to ditch social media completely, but to question this sleepy state that it subtly drags us into. We have so much potential as humans and ‘squashed potential’ does not sound pleasant. I believe that the first step to everything is awareness, next is action. In the next post I will elaborate further on what helped me in propelling myself out of this Matrix of a world through simple daily tasks & exercises. This would be a sequel to my first post of “burn the boats and conquer your life”. Draft named “blue pill v/s red pill” LOL.
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