新东方英语·中学版 2017年11期


I don't think social media is "evil" or "ruining the world". I think social media is completely amazing—and it can be used in so many beautiful ways. But for me, social media often felt like an alluring1), tempting2) "distraction". It clogged3) up my brain. It pulled my attention away from important projects. It just didn't feel "good" for me, personally. So I decided to stop using it. I deactivated4) all of my accounts. That might NOT be the right choice for you, or for your career/business, but so far, it's working out great for me. This is the story of why I decided to step away from social media, and how it felt when I did.

I had a Facebook account for about 24 hours. I traipsed5) around Twitter for a couple of years. I had a brief flirtation6) with Instagram this summer.

While I have experimented and dabbled7) with various social media platforms over the years—from MySpace to Friendster to Pinterest and beyond—I rarely play with any platform for more than a year or so.

I currently do not use any social media networking platforms at all. I do not think I will ever use social media again. People often ask me, "Why?"

It's a reasonable question, one that I continue to revisit and reconsider through the years. Because social media is not "bad" or "evil" by any means. It's absolutely magical.

Social media helped me to find my true love. Social media helps unknown voices get discovered. Social media helps people to express themselves. Social media dissolves8) the barrier between "maker" and "consumer". With social media, everyone can be an artist and share their work publicly. These are all very beautiful things. I recognize all of that.

And yet, despite everything, I continually arrive back at the conclusion that social media—at least, in the way that I tend to use it—is "just not for me."

Why is that?

Well, let's consider: Twitter. I was active on Twitter for about 4.5 years. It was fun, amusing, delightful for my ego, and led to a few intriguing9) opportunities. Yet, in the midst of my tweetery, I often felt a nagging10) feeling inside. A voice was asking, "Alex, is this really how you want to be spending your life-minutes? Isn't there something else that might be a more meaningful use of your time? Wouldn't you rather be walking outside, talking to your mom, writing a novel, working out, mailing a letter, volunteering, you know, all of those things that you 'never have enough time' to do?"endprint

Mostly I would ignore that quiet voice because, ooh, look! A new re-tweet.

Over the 4-ish11) years that I was active in the Twitterverse, I tweeted 9,074 times. That's approximately 2,016 tweets per year.

Let's fast forward. Imagine that ... it is the end of my life. I am (hopefully, if I am lucky) 100 years old, with wispy12) silver hair, tucked into my deathbed, reflecting upon a century's worth of dreams, passions, adventures, and a few regrets.

At the end of my life, will I say to myself: "My God, I am so grateful that I tweeted 151,200 times (2,016 tweets per year times 75 years starting around age 25) over the course of my life. Time well spent! How wonderful!"

Will I say that? I wish I could say, "Totally! I will feel very pleased!" But I know, deep in my heart ... that I will not.

I will not feel peaceful and content knowing that I tweeted 151,200 times over the course of my life.

I will feel unsettled13). I will feel remorse14). Regret.

I will calculate all of the minutes that I spent coming up with thousands upon thousands of tweets—thinking about those tweets, typing those tweets, editing those tweets, publishing those tweets, tracking to see who "liked" and "re-tweeted" my tweets, and then re-sharing my witticisms15) on various other platforms—and I would probably come to the grim16) conclusion that it was somewhere in the realm of 1.8 million minutes spent on Twitter, alone.

1.8 million minutes of my life.

1,250 days. About 3.4 years.

At that point, I will probably cry.

I will mourn my lost life-minutes, never to be recovered.

I will fantasize about all of the things I could have done with that time.

The kisses, the walks, the rich conversations, the sunbathing, the moongazing, the books, unwritten.

I will desperately want to claw my way back through time for a chance to do it over.

But I will not be offered that chance.

So that is why I no longer use social media and why I probably won't use it again.

Because I know that at the end of my life, sharing pics & quips & LOLs & emoticons & working diligently17) to create a "presence" on social media networking platforms & eagerly seeking "likes" & "shares" & "hearts" and so forth is not a time investment that I will feel proud of. To the contrary, it's one I will probably regret.

Others may feel very differently and that's perfectly OK. This is my life. You've got yours.endprint


Chapter 2 Childhood time第2章 童年时光