- Social Media

Why quitting tech and social media is harder than quitting cigarettes

Trying to break free of the constant lure of your smartphone could make you feel like Michael Corleone in “The Godfather Part III”: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Bill Johnson tried taking a break. The 46-year-old sales director from Marion, Iowa, stopped using social media for 30 days, and it was eye-opening: Johnson read books, tackled his to-do list and discovered a knack for cooking.

But then he slowly re-introduced social media in his life, “and guess what? I started spending too much time on it again.”

Johnson’s giving social media abstinence another shot – this time for 90 days.

Aditya Rao has also found it hard to kick the habit: “I gave up completely on smartphones, and the experience for me was tougher than quitting cigarettes.”

Is it possible to unplug from the Matrix? And really, would you even want to?

Machines instead of humans

The smartphone most of us are fixated on is the most obvious affront to an age when folks looked each other in the eye rather than at some screen. But it’s not alone.

Consider how often you interact with or seek customer service from a robot or machine, as opposed to a human. And it may get worse through the expansion of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and eventually next-generation 5G wireless networks.

Disturbing signposts have been apparent for a few years, like when your bank charges a fee because you have the audacity to engage with a human teller rather than the ATM.

Still, many of us, whether willingly or reluctantly, are all in on digital – to bank, invest, shop, make travel plans, get directions, get answers, get news, play games, consume entertainment, check grades and homework, and, yes, connect and socialize. It may only be a small exaggeration to suggest that you talk to Alexa, Google or Siri more often than you do your life partner.