Photo by Jon Garcia
Son of a Motherless Instagram
by Lorenzo Gomez III
For the past couple years, my church, City Tribe Church, has done a volunteer 21-Day fast at the beginning of the year. Everyone picks something that they want to fast from for 21 days as a sort of a way to reset and start the year off right.
Last year, I gave up alcohol for 21 days. Not that I’m an alcoholic, but I had noticed that I was starting to drink way too much. This was a nice little way for me to get my drinking back under my control and not the other way around. The second thing I gave up was sort of odd but ended up being the best part of the fast.
Last year, I gave up Twitter. I didn’t delete my account, but I removed it from my phone. Over the past few years, I have had this slow realization that Twitter makes me angry. To me, Twitter has begun to feel like the entire world is trying to condense all of the most complicated issues in life into 280 characters. And even if I unfollow people I don’t want to hear from, if someone I do follow retweets them, I just can’t seem to get away.
So, I decided that I would delete Twitter from my phone and I would only log in after work from my laptop. The craziest thing happened as soon as I did. By the end of day seven, I started to notice I was a lot less angry. Then one night, I logged into Twitter just to see what was going on and was quickly reminded of why I removed it. As I scrolled down, reading the world yelling at one another, I could feel my blood pressure rising and my heart rate pick up. I closed the window and went on with my day.
Removing Twitter from my phone had unexpectedly doubled my happiness quotient.
So this year, I decided to take a similar approach with my 21- Day fast. This year, I gave up two things. The first was cursing. I have come to realize that I am a major potty mouth and I need to tone it down. I don’t judge anyone that curses and I absolutely feel like sometimes the best way to communicate is by dropping a well-placed and strategic F-bomb.
But the real big change was social media. This year, I took it up a notch and removed all social media from my phone. For me, that means no Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, since I never added Twitter back to my phone after last year.
I have to tell you up front; this year sucked and was really difficult. And given the fact that I failed miserably within the first few days on both items, I got back on the horse and kept trying. Not cursing has just made me speak less and have way more “Scrubs”- like fantasies in my head, where I am body-slamming someone, but they just don’t know it. The social media part, though, that is was WAY harder this year for two main reasons.
- Crack Head Syndrome - I didn’t realize it but I check my social like a straight-up crack head. In line waiting for coffee, check social. Choice of reading a book at lunch or checking social? Social always wins. I know there is a way for your phone to tell you how much time you spend on each app and I purposely have not looked at it, It’s because I already know it’s like 4000 times a day.
- Instagram Love Affair - I really love Instagram. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because of all the cat memes, maybe it’s cause it feels like a game to me. Whatever it is, Instagram is the abusive relationship I can’t seem to give up. I find myself downloading the app in secret, even though no one is watching. I tell myself, “I can change him.” If we get married, then everything will get better. But alas I know it’s just not true.
Let me be very clear. I am not suggesting that everyone has a problem and should stop using social media. I am not judging anyone who uses social media regularly or even all day. What I am saying is, I know that LORENZO GOMEZ has an unhealthy dependency on social media.
And as I reflect on the 21 days, I realize I need to address my social media dependency. This fast has taught me that social media is slowly gnawing away at all aspects of my life. I need to be reading more, writing more, working more, chatting with friends more, and pretty much everything else more than I am currently.
But for now, the question still remains -- can I get it under control? Or maybe 21 days needs to become 365 days.
Gosh. I hope not.
Lorenzo Gomez III
A San Antonio native, early Rackspace employee, chairman of the 80/20 foundation, CEO of Geekdom Media, cofounder of TechBloc, lover of cats, & author of The Cilantro Diaries & Tafolla Toro.
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