Who’s guilty?? I know, I certainly am.
The Danger scroll.
The kind where you jump on social media with the attitude of, ‘ah, I wonder what’s going on in the world. I’ll just jump on for five minutes.’ Fifteen minutes later… oh dear, what kind of evil is this that has just swallowed up my time and my mind.
Now, I’m totally not judging anyone who does this. The only person I judge is myself, because I know just how much it zaps my energy, momentum and inspiration. I must add, I am slowly unfollowing various accounts that seem to act as a negative trigger for this.
I’ve realised, scrolling for me, is a numbing technique I like to use. Let’s even call it a dumbing technique. The act of reaching for my phone is instinctive and you may be familiar with that feeling of having lost a leg when you can’t find your device. Picture me frantically turning the house upside down, digging around in old handbags, wedging your hand down the side of the sofa cushion, declaring, ‘I’ve definitely lost my phone this time,’ only to find it in your coat pocket or somewhere equally obvious. Urgh, the agony of not being connected to the online world for five minutes. I might miss a message, if I don’t respond immediately, they’ll think I don’t like them. It makes me weirdly irrational, when I think of myself as being pretty self-aware.
If you’re familiar with the wonderful words of Brene Brown, you may be familiar with the description of ‘numbing’. Numbing can relate to alcohol, drugs, gambling and even scrolling on Instagram to briefly escape the realities of life. It is the opposite to action. Tell you what, glass of wine on a Friday night, over a scroll, is my rock and roll. It has quite a hypnotic quality which slowly but surely pulls me in. Although connected to thousands online, the online ‘world’ entices me out of the present moment, out of my kitchen, away from my children and into no mans land. And yet, I continue to do it. It’s an obsession. The act of holding the weight of the phone, like a weird talisman keeping me anchored in grounded in all the wrong ways. Feeling the comfort of your thumb moving gracefully over the glass screen is as close to using a dummy as you can get. Our phone is our friend and the ‘Danger scroll’ is an inspiration killer.
I find it zaps me of any confidence in myself and even what I have to offer the world. Remember my post the other day about staying in your own lane. The vice of social media is that my voice gets drowned out, trapped before I’ve even said anything. The voice drowning it out though? My own. A danger scroll is swiftly accompanied by self doubt, worry, and an angry little monster bouncing on my shoulder, momentarily crossing it’s arms and tapping its foot impatiently, to lean in close and whisper, ‘Who do you think you are??!’
I know I’m a walking contrary because, you know Lisa, you are actually posting this on social media for people to read. I know, I know! But my advice today is, if your creativity is flowing and you have an idea and were about to take action….do not, I repeat, do not, take a quick pit stop in Instagram. No joy will come of this mini-break. It will not act as a comfort blanket. Do not scroll in the hope of inspiration because ultimately, it’ll lose it’s meaning and gusto and cutting up any joy it once held for you into tiny little pieces. (A bit like that horrible boy in the children’s book, Paper Dolls.) Failing that, you’ll convince yourself you are an imposter anyway! Just stop now. That is, until, of course, you post something yourself and the notification pings of ‘Likes’ start filling your home screen. Aaah, the joy and the recognition circle begins. Which is why the love affair I have with social media continues.
We rely on a Like to bolster our confidence, to say, I see you. Maybe one day televisions and phones will have a little pair of arms attached, that will embrace you when it senses a pained expression across a furrowed brow as you scroll.
You may have seen in my stories last week, I’ve been busy creating a vision board for this year and I’ve actually amazed myself in the way I’ve changed tact with my approach. I want to come at things in a gentler, quieter, considered way, more aligned with my values and freedom. I don’t want to feel tethered to pleasing the algorithm. I’ve tried but I can’t beat that kind of witchcraft, so I won’t waste energy on it. I want to encourage you to trust your instincts, that you have the answers that you won’t find from a scroll.
Instead of a scroll, go for a stroll. Ooh, I like that one!
Having said all that, (and before Instagram deletes my account,) I’d love you to share accounts which are your go tos for joy, warmth, advice and support (because social media can be used for feel good) Here are my top five for today: @father_of_daughters, @jessicarosewilliams, @simpleandseason @suzyreading and @_drsoph
Illustration by me to accompany A.Powell’s wonderful article ‘The Juggle’ in the latest issue of @Motherdom