#29: Chasing the Likes
I "quit" social media more than a year ago. I deleted all the apps from my phone and stopped posting anything except the automatic posts from my social media bot, Meet Edgar. I had found that so much of my life had become performative—doing things that would look good on social media, taking photos of things (meals, my kid, sunsets) that I normally wouldn't, so I could post them, etc.—and I didn't like the way it made me feel. I would post something and then refresh it a million times to see how many people "liked" it, who commented, or how many views it got. I was chasing a dopamine rush instead of just living my life. And I was caught up in the comparison culture social media breeds, where I was holding my real life up to everyone else's carefully curated highlight reel. It was bad for my self-esteem, and bad for my mental health.
Recently, though, as I've started my new venture, Starling Consulting, I've had to engage more with social media. I'm posting blogs daily and working on building a following on LinkedIn, which necessitates more interaction with the socials than I've had in 18 months.
It's not going well.
Just this morning, I found myself chasing the likes again, re-loading LinkedIn a million times after sending out invitations for people to like my page. Every number higher was another dopamine rush, and every refresh without an increase was a crushing blow. Obviously, I didn't cure myself last year by quitting social media. I just removed temptation. My task now is to regulate my relationship to Facebook and LinkedIn, to figure out how to use them as tools without them taking over my self-perception. Again.