Sometimes, I open the fridge and stare into it. I know exactly what’s inside: a container of milk, some vegetables, chicken. Perhaps that plastic container of sentient pasta I made a couple weeks ago and never ate (or cleaned out).
And yet I go over and stare into it. Maybe I think there’s something I hope to find there that I didn’t before. I’m not alone, people do this all the time. It’s a cultural phenomenon, people coming back to a known conclusion with the hopes of something changing.
“The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result” — a famous quote attributed to everyone from Mark Twain through Albert Einstein that I believe is especially fitting.
I feel like I do the same thing when I stare emptily at my social feeds. Why do I keep coming back again and again, several times a day, just to find the exact same result?
My mind drifts, my eyes focus nowhere in particular, and time flies by. My productivity is ruined and my spare time is wasted. The reality of social media is that we don’t give a shit about ninety five percent of all the stuff people see fit to post.
I have one hundred ninety nine friends on Facebook, and I can safely say I can count on one hand the people on there that I am in constant contact with. Maybe another dozen that I am in semi-regular contact with. The rest show up in my feed with various pictures and posts which I really have no business seeing.
Twitter is no different. I follow news outlets, friends, people in my line of work and athletes, among many others. There is only so much variation and content those entities produce.
Instagram I just plain and simple refuse to use because it’s an even less disguised example of me wasting my life staring at selfies of the same kissy lips or someone’s lunch, with a filter that makes it look overexposed in more ways than one.
So why do I keep spending time staring into my social fridge?
I look at it because I’m bored. I feel hollow because I waste my time staring at social feeds as opposed to alleviating that boredom and this creates a vicious circle from which escape is difficult. I feel like there’s a snack in there somewhere that I missed, but as soon as I open up the page in my browser the familiar malaise of passive observation washes over me once again.
Like a heroin addict that no longer feels the raison d’etre of his problem, I now continue my habit to maintain, and this is a dark place to be.