Pedro Piñera

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Social anxiety

2 January 2020

I keep falling into the same trap over and over: believing that I should be active in social media to be connected to others and have a prosper professional future. My relationship with them is a rollercoaster. There are times when I neglect using them, and there are other times when I’m very active on them.

Not using them feels great; I am more present and sleep better. I don’t have to think about what creative bits to share next on Twitter, what photo to take to amaze people around me, or what project to work on to create some hype and make developers think that I do cool stuff too. I have the mental space to listen to myself, to know what I want, how I feel, and to look after important things such as the health and the family, which I tend to disregard when I’m on social media.

When I’m on social media, I feel anxious. I feel anxious when I see people traveling and having fun when I’m just “enjoying” a rainy day in Berlin. I also feel anxious when I see developers on Twitter talking and sharing things that I don’t have the bandwidth to play with. I feel all those things happening so fast, waste the scarce of attention and energy that is left for me after 8 hours at work. I don’t sleep well. I go to sleep with the phone and wake up with it too. Every moment of boredom is filled with infinite scrolling in timelines that bring me more anxiety.

I’ve tried to have a healthy relationship with social networks, but I can’t. I have a personality that doesn’t make that easy, and social networks, whose business models rely on exploiting our vulnerabilities and using our attention, doesn’t help.

For that reason, I’m starting 2020 by taking another break. Hopefully, an I-don’t-know-the-end type of break. I have my personal website where I can share my thoughts, collect the stuff that I find useful on the Internet, and write down the books that I read. It’s my own space on the Internet where I don’t feel the itch of social validation. It won’t be easy, mainly because of the sense of loneliness that the break creates. Still, I’m hopeful that this time I’ll overcome the difficulties and have a healthier life without social networks.