Mental acuity clearly has taken a hit. Without social media, every few minutes I feel stranded without any idea what to do with myself, even as I do other things. Very similar to nicotine mental addiction. Every few minutes, I would forget what to do with my hands. In this case, I forget what to do with my mind. It’s going to take some time to rewire. Without real physical withdrawals, though, it’s not so bad. Well, no physical withdrawals apart from a tiny attention span that is growing but still not very useful for anything except facebook.
I don’t know whether to consider that withdrawal, though. It’s clearly the effect of using the tech, as opposed to the effect of not using the tech. It’s just become apparent without it. The advantageous part of quitting now is that the symptoms of withdrawal had already become an everyday thing for me. Every second between facebook had become a slog of scatterbrained difficulties, perhaps exacerbated by working a register at a restaurant where all of my meatspace interplays had reduced to forty-five-second bursts with people I’d never see again. My temper was short, my ability to calm down lessened — all symptoms I’d noticed from nicotine withdrawal. So if I’m going to be in constant withdrawal unless literally using it, and using it 100% of my day is not a possibility, quitting is quantitatively the same.
(In case you haven’t noticed, when I’m stressed and my mind is taxed, my vocabulary goes up ironically. I have trouble thinking of simple ways to convey ideas, and start spouting a lot of fifty cent words and using textbook syntax.)
It occurred to me that many of my more nonsensically vile interactions over the past year or two were very similar to when I’d quit smoking at the same time as a friend. We’d get into an altercation instead of conversations because both of our brains were taxed, leading to: 1) incapable of communicating properly (both telling and listening accurately), 2) going straight from misunderstanding to unbridled rage, and 3) not being able to expel said rage once begun. We’re all on a drug, and going through the phases together. There are very few sober people to help us rehab from social media and with so many addicts both enabling one another and discouraging quitting, we may be in for more striking breakdowns of the social order because of our loss of grip on reality and our own temperaments.
In summation: symptoms of algorithm addiction (it’s not the social media, it’s the underlying algorithm that has mutated into a habitual form [the end goal of all products in a capitalist system is to create addiction]) I’ve so far diagnosed:
1) shortened attention span
2) inhibited thinking
3) detachment from 3-dimensional space
4) inhibited person-to-person empathy
5) increased label/stereotype identification, ie tribalism correlated with source of dopamine hits as opposed to actual physical identity (Rachel Dolezal, as a for instance, might be the end result of having more black friends on facebook than white)
6) shortened temper / burnt out dopamine receptors no longer capable of compensating irritation chemicals
Synthesize this information with the symptoms you’ve seen around you, especially in Western culture broadly, but also in personal interactions both on- and offline. I think you’ll find you have experiences that have almost no other explanation.