Are You Held Captive In The 'Like' Trap?

This should have been written by now. Instead, it's nine minutes past noon, I'm still in yesterday's clothes, and my super douchey blend of coffee is almost to its last drop. Sure, I could blame the day of the week, Monday, for such a late start, but that'd be as big a lie as...fuck. I opened TweetDeck again.

All I have to blame is myself, and my strong attraction to The "Like" Trap. The Like Trap encompasses far more than Facebook, and social media as a whole. At our core, we all want to be seen, heard and recognized. This can be accomplished in person through a variety of both positive and negative means, but damn does social media make it so easy while making it feel so real.

Likes, retweets, +1s, shares feed our core desire, and satisfy our thirst. We post something we believe to be profound. We say something funny. If it doesn't get recognized, poppycock. I don't think poppycock actually fits in that sentence, but it's an awesome word that needs to make a comeback. If what we post does get recognized, we get a shot of serotonin, the chemical responsible for feelings of happiness and euphoria.

It makes us feel better, and one of many reasons we get sucked into Twitter or [insert your favorite social network here]. It's a drug, that feeling. Some people go skydiving to feel it. I just spend way too long coming up with a joke that'll exist for nanoseconds in a land of infinite time.

But none of it matters. That awesome tweet may satisfy you temporarily, but your work will satisfy you permanently. The problem is, sending that tweet is immediately more satisfying than your work which doesn't pay off until days, weeks, months or even years later.

How do we get out of the habit of scrolling aimlessly through feeds, posting quip after quip? How do we get ourselves to prioritize work over checking Facebook for the 117th time? Unlike Kanye West, I don't have the answers. But I think it starts with analyzing our habits, and being real with ourselves. Social media is a fantastic networking tool, and we confuse that with work, which it an extent.

Think of Bill Gates or Richard Branson or anyone with even 0.05% of their wealth. Did they get to where they are by just networking their faces off? That was part of it, but they also got there by doing their work, whatever that may be, and not letting distractions, which social media is one of many, outweigh the time they invest in said work.

It's all a delicate game of balance where the equilibrium is far too often that of a drunk person. Drink up or sober up.

Photo credit: Kenny Louie

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