You are more than a thumbnail

While sitting around some very large + appropriately named “party pizzas”, I engaged in truly wonderful conversation with human beings on a face-to-face level. As our bellies reached capacity, everyone found a way to make the same comment in their own words – we all had a great evening + were happy to have gotten together. One person so poetically said “it’s nice to see you beyond photos on Facebook … you’re more than a thumbnail.”

Slight rewind

Just before the start of the new year, I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone after being inspired by the lovely Victoria Prozan who completed the same action hours earlier. Full confession: I still used the web version on my iPhone almost daily because it’s a hard thing to quit.

It’s not that I have an intention to quit using that social platform, but the dependence on it for interaction + connection is not doing me any favors. I’ve always known that when I am feeling disconnected, refreshing my newsfeed or twitter lists doesn’t really solve the problem, but fixing those reflexes takes a lot of work. It’s no different than any other bad habit in that wanting to change isn’t enough + action without desire won’t last either.

The trifecta

Inspired by my friend’s choice to eliminate the passive aggression that is Facebook from her daily life, paired with the benefit of connecting with people in person, I felt a shift in my thought process around cutting back on my social media obsession. And then I happened upon a sentence in Paul Jarvis’s latest book that really framed this whole concept beautifully.

“[Checking virtual activities] takes you out of being present and puts you into observing someone else who is only partially present. … The more we refresh our streams, the less we’re actually doing.” – Paul Jarvis, Everything I Know

So instead of just wanting to change, I did something about it. I logged into Facebook on my computer + changed my password to a ridiculously random 16-digit hybrid of numbers, letters + special characters. Something that I have no interest in committing to memory nor will I ever want to type it out on my iPhone.

Change isn’t easy

Will I have a slight panic attack the next time I’m in a waiting room with an indeterminate amount of time before I’m needed or seen? Most likely. But the good news is that I have two new apps to obsess over – buddhify + everest. I’d rather find myself clearing my mind the next time I want to see what funny things my friends have said or working on reaching my goals.

And with each day, it will get easier to not rely on my old defaults for feeling connected. Call it muscle memory or call it habit, as long as it works.

So remember – you’re more than your Facebook profile photo, twitter photo or WordPress comment avatar. you are more than a thumbnail.

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