Social screens

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I’m addicted to my social feeds and the compulsion to pick up my phone every 10 minutes is ruining my life.

That’s an exaggeration. It’s every five minutes.

If I’m at my desk doing bookwork or emails, I pick up my phone without thinking to check Facebook. Constantly.

When I drive into my garage and turn off the car, I reach for my phone to scroll Instagram. Immediately. I don’t even take off my seatbelt.

When I run the shower to wash my hair, I position my phone to watch YouTube, fingers and toes wrinkling while my eyes flicker at the device propped up against a perfume bottle on the other side of the steam-streaked screen. A shower can take 30 minutes.

I’m in trouble and I need help.

Am I late to the party with this? I suspect there have been doctorates conferred, or at least Pinterest quotes published, documenting addiction to social.

Nonetheless. I’m hoping a full confession, committed to the diary, might prompt change. Because I’m tired and unproductive and this problem needs confronting.

I’m always up late, lingering in the living room long after the family has retired. This is my way of avoiding bedtime anxiety, the twilight terror that comes from bouncing between undone tasks like a pinball at the mercy of perpetual flippers.

It’s only once my eyes are too heavy to resist that I turn off the television, reluctantly. Even then, exhausted and with a monster to-do list on the dawn horizon, I reach for my phone.

Sometimes I’ll scroll and swipe for another hour, tapping my appreciation for a photo or love for an old school friend’s grandchild.

The compulsion is more urgent and the tapping more frequent when I’ve published content. Those days I stab at my phone obsessively. It’s like a nervous tick as I check the world’s response to my voice. Do they like my words? My images? Me?

But even on the days when I’ve added nothing, no creative contribution or commentary, I itch for engagement and can’t turn off without trawling.

This is possibly an occupational hazard. Creating content and publishing to social media is part of what I do. Regular scanning is important to keep in touch, not only with what’s going on but with how people are communicating. Videos, gifs, copy writing and design trends – I need to be on top of this stuff.

But not at midnight. And not every five minutes.

As I reach for the publish button I notice I’m awake much too late again. At least tonight (this morning) my screen time has been productive.

Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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