A large group of psychoanalysts and behavior experts have been paid to make social media apps and services like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as addicting and distracting as possible.
Most of us know there are benefits to some light use of social media. In my case, keeping up with friends and fans across the world, sharing creative works and experiences, meeting people, fighting with trolls, trolling on accident, finding skull memes, etc.), but it can quickly spiral out of control.
It seems that the majority of America has Social Media Addiction Disorder (SMAD). Things really started going downhill when older generations got sucked into technology lightyears ahead of the cable TV they’ve been accustomed to zombifying themselves with. Now disinformation (intentionally wrong information) and misinformation (mistaken information) travel at light-speed.
What To Do Instead of Selling Your Soul for a Few Zucc-Bucks
1. Learn A Language (or Five)
My biggest “replacement habit” for social media has been Duolingo and studying languages in general. Instead of getting distracted by the show & tell of social media, Duolingo teaches basic skills in many languages. So far, I’ve studied Ukrainian, German, Polish, Russian, Danish, Czech, and Portuguese.
Duolingo probably won’t make you a fluent speaker on its own, so I’ve compiled a list of ways I learn languages throughout the day.
Other Language Apps
- Egeman Can Use / Tobo. Flash card apps with simple exercises and word games. Highly recommended for vocabulary building and pronunciation practice.
- Mondly language apps (a great supplement to Duolingo and Tobo)
- New and used language books from place like betterworldbooks.com, eBay, etc.
- New and used audiobooks/language programs from eBay and anywhere you can find them
- Streaming services like Plex and AppleTV offer integrated subtitles from the largest range of languages I’ve found anywhere (Plex uses an open-source subtitle service, and Apple has professional translations for subtitles in many languages).
- Once you’ve started getting comfortable with a language, it’s time to meet some new friends who speak the language. You can communicate with people online or in real life, and my experience so far is that people enjoy teaching little bits of their language here and there. There are language groups everywhere, you only have to search for them using your preferred search engine.
2. Start An Online Store
If you create or collect anything, you can make a store out of it. Physical or digital.
For physical products, you can leverage platforms like eBay, Etsy, and Discogs (if you’re a music collector) to quickly create an online store with minimal overhead. For digital as well as physical products, WordPress with WooCommerce is a powerful combination (also free). The tradeoff with the WooCommerce option is that you’ll need to know WordPress quite well, or hire professional assistance to get it going and keep it maintained.
3. Learn To Play an Instrument
4. Finish Old Projects or Start New Ones
Whether it’s a book you always talked about writing, building a shed, or working on an old vehicle, this is your reminder. Stop getting distracted! Having integrity and doing what we tell everyone (and ourselves) takes incredible work and sacrifice that few people are willing to commit. Keep your integrity, do the thing(s) you told everyone you’d do.
If your main life goals have lost their appeal, then eject everything, start over, remove the clutter, and make room for new ideas. Don’t ask anyone else what your goals should be; ask yourself and take plenty of time to think about it.
As someone who has finished and released over 30 albums and published thousands of stock photos across the internet, I can say that it pays to invest into your projects. It’s also painfully hard work. It still feels worth it.
Shane is a musician, software engineer, photographer, and aspiring polyglot (speaker of multiple languages).