This past week, news about a former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, VP for User Growth, caught my attention. He said he feels “tremendous guilt” about his role at Facebook – “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” Wow! Quite a powerful and introspective statement!
He talked about how they knew that what they were doing:
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”
This notion of no civil discourse has really come to light with such political divides in our country. It’s cyber-bullying and cowardice and has created huge tensions with people. What is really scary is how bad actors can manipulate large groups of people with no real way to hold them accountable for the consequences of their actions.
He goes on to say that Facebook became a way for people to curate their lives around a perceived sense of perfection. It’s a fake, surface-like popularity contest, ultimately leaving people feeling more vacant and empty.
Chamath’s advice is to push back hard and break away from using many of the social media tools available. He acknowledges that we are being programmed and challenges us to do some soul-searching about what we are willing to do to avoid/resist that programming.
“How much of your intellectual independence are you willing to give up?”
As we begin to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome a new year, it’s a good time to do some reflecting and plan for what to do differently in 2018. I’m not a huge Facebook user and have a heightened sense of awareness about what a time-suck social media can be for people. My challenge is to practice more discernment in how I spend my time and what content I choose to read when I engage in social media.
Fact: Your life is made up of moments, (AKA, time). If you waste your time, you waste your life.
Time is our most precious resource and we should be good stewards of that resource. My #1 goal for 2018 is to be more intentional about how I’m spending my time. How will I get the most bang-for-my-buck, so to speak? What activities are most valuable to me?
For example, I value my physical and mental health, so making time to rest, prepare healthy meals, exercise, meditate, and simply think/be, would be important activities for my time. If one of my goals is to continue to do interesting work, I’m going to prioritize activities that allow me to build and maintain great relationships with clients. I’m also going to make time to learn, so I can stay current and relevant and continue to build my capabilities.
What is it for you? Can you take an honest look in the mirror and acknowledge if your ego is getting in the way of making good choices about how you spend your time? Are you more concerned about what the social media “friends” will think about the life you lead?
Spend 2018 in ways that will make YOU happy and fulfilled and let go of the burden of having to “prove” you’re leading an idyllic life to an online audience.
Here’s to having the time of your life in 2018!
Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.