“I’m not okay. I need something else.”
The other day, I got some scary news about something. Hellbent on putting some distance between me and it, I went on a scrolling spree. That whole day, every free minute I had, I opened one of my Big Three (Facebook, Insta, Twitter) and went to town.
When the reels started, (they know my weaknesses: comedy and tender dogs), that was my free fall into the rabbit hole. Before the reels, I was at least ‘engaging’ with people I knew, commenting, reacting and whatnot. But once I started with the reels, that was over. It was just about me.
Then I couldn’t stop, even after I wasn’t having fun anymore. I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, I’m on the john, I’m in a long line, I’m ‘going to sleep,’ or I’ve just opened my eyes in the morning — scrolling. I think to myself, Okay, that’s enough. It’s junk food. Stop. I keep going. Scrolling, scrolling. What the hell is going on here? The loop is this:
1) I watch, 2) I like, 3) I want more, 4) I scroll.
It doesn’t even matter whether Step 2 is “I like,” “I don’t like,” or “I don’t care” — it always results in a scroll for more. Why? Why can’t I stop this rat-in-a-cage-clicking-for-the-treat behavior?
The answer is my brain’s been hijacked. By my own habitual dissatisfaction (something that all humans share). I actually believe that if I just scroll to the next thing, I’ll feel better.
I’ve fallen under the spell of I’m not okay right now, and I need something else.
It’s an unconscious, insidious process, and it’s running our lives. Because on the back end of this thumbslide, someone is watching. Not someone, but a series of algorithms created by millions of programmers, engineers, and marketing/sales execs. They measure everything — what we click on, how long we watch, what apps we use, all our searches, when we put down or pick up our phones, everything.
We’re being watched. So what?
I used to think only criminals needed to worry about being watched. I used to think, I’m not doing anything wrong. Go ahead. Watch my clicks…