Raven Unplugged

©2022 Michael Raven

Unplugging.

For some reason, these past few weeks, I’ve started obsessing about untethering myself. I’m sure it is evident in the themes I’ve been writing about with increased frequency.

I stare at my phone and wonder what it really brings to me as I shitscroll. That’s not to say everything is dreck, but goodness gracious, a good chunk of it is utter and total junk food for the mind and eyes. If I reduced my Twitter feed, for example, to the people I really enjoyed reading and feel add value to my life, I would be down to less than fifteen minutes a day of time spent on Twitter. Instagram? Aside from a few folks who message me through it, I would spend an average less than two minutes on it a day (honestly… almost zero aside from the rare, infrequent messages). Facebook has already gone off my radar because of some snark that wore me out — it wasn’t meant to be hurtful, but it was, and that was that, so screw it. I check on occasion in case there is a message, but I never review my feed.

And I ask myself: What would happen if I just got rid of social media, only checked personal email once or twice a day, limited my WordPress involvement to something other than having it on in the background, turned off all news feeds, and maybe even turned off my phone for a good chunk of the day. How would my brain chemistry change?

Aside: I can’t do anything about my work environment, but I’ll tell you that I would sing hallelujah loudly from the top of the mount if we got rid of the instant messaging atrocity called fucking M$Teams. Everyone seems to think I should have it installed on my phone and I’ll be damned before anyone forces me to make myself that available to their fricking workplace whims. If you need me that bad outside my normal working hours, you can call me…

Sometimes I think that all of this interconnectivity is a sickness. It all seems like fantasy that has gotten out of hand: from politics to sexual innuendo to emotional triggers to bullying to hate to… it all seems inflated and, as I step back and try to give it the 10k-foot cold eye, I realize that almost none of it is real. Even the “NEWS”. And yet, many of us have this weird visceral reaction, often anger or some other negative emotion, to this pure fantasy world we’ve created with electrons.

It makes me anxious just to think about it, and I’m not usually one who is prone to anxiety attacks.

Even really cool stuff like writing feels like an exercise in tapping into that Pavlov/dopamine treat bowl and, sitting back, one has to ask just how sullied the experience is and how many of the metrics are real measures of anything when everyone’s looking to score some of the good stuff and they figure if they dole it out, it will multiply and return. And… it does to some extent. Except when someone has more. Then, regardless of the dosage of dopamine you receive on an hourly basis, it seems a bit sour around the edges because we often feel we need more of the good stuff.

Look: Jessica has more hits than you and she totally just shitposts while you put thought and energy into what you wrote. Gods, why do people not see your genius, and dish it out to that virtual tart?

Yeah, I think too much. But seriously… what would happen if? You? Tuned? Off? And dropped? Out?

Some questions may never be answered.

7 thoughts on “Raven Unplugged

  1. A lot to chew on and I have frequent chats with my fiancée over social media and whether or not it’s in our best interest to unplug as we get older and at times struggle to have our voices heard. The internet and of course blogs and social media are a full-on tundra which creative people must not only weather, but dig and blaze in order to scratch out an audience. This, with algorithms coming into play with like and dissimilar artists and writers.

    You put so much of yourself into your work and poetry and your work is deep, emotive, sharp, brilliant, vivid and times heart-wrenching. The gamble with putting our work out digitally into these blogs and even sharing on FB, etc. is we thrust ourselves against a largely obtuse audience who aren’t looking for what we offer. Same as us going to a poetry open mike in a coffeehouse and competing against a bored, uninterested java crowd and the hissing espresso machines, which I am highly familiar with from my own time doing open mike a few years. You are an absolute machine with your poems, which after a while I’m sure feels empty and flat when you’re cranking out gem after gem and only “x” amount of people see them. You’re very gifted, Michael, so I hope your book moves units and you start to open yourself to a real-time audience.

    The sad fact is we have all become addicted to social media and dependent upon it in certain manners…for me, it’s having the connections to my friends, many of whom don’t stay in touch by conventional means, other friends who are distant acquaintances, old school classmates who have come to see the light with each other for the most part and can bury the teenager angst for a new adult enlightenment. Of course, I keep on social media from being in the music industry and with other writing professionals, to have platforms to pitch, announce and share our new projects, all that good stuff. My fiancée has a certain writing and witchy community to which I’ve now bridged being on the Wiccan path, so there are just so many excuses to belong to social media instead of ditching the whole thing. Sad, but true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the very high praise and the lengthy feedback. I’m blushing. Honestly.

      Social media definitely has it’s benefits, and maybe I focused too much of my ire on them in this post — as it is really the sense of disconnect from reality that the entirety of the internet seems to suffer from. I’m just as guilty as the rest, having the bent neck looking downwards as I walk from one haunting to the next. I recall what it was like before, and part of me aches to not circle round and round a reality based in a tiny, prismic window held in my hand.

      As far as the writing goes, I have always written to write. It’s always nice if folks share that journey with me but, at my core, I’m not doing it for the eyeballs. I’ll admit that some of the larger stories seem utterly stupid to entertain if no one reads them, which is probably why I don’t put too much emphasis on writing fiction and get discouraged when the interest seems lackluster. But I write mostly to entertain myself or to exorcise my demons.

      There are times I miss my neopagan connections… However, I have mostly unconventional concepts and it is probably better for most people if I keep to myself in those matters. I do envy people who do have that sense community at times, however.

      BTW, you two looked good together on your post. Looks like you had a decent share of fun in spite of the money grabs you had to endure. 😉

      Have a great extended weekend, Ray. It’s always great to have you around when you have the time and inclination. Thanks!

      Like

  2. I tried it with GodHatesGoth and then came back anyway. My life is very empty at the moment, so I appreciate the socialness of it all, just (as you stated) not to the degree that it forever pushes to try to take control over my life. I limit my posts to roughly once-a-week and try to take time to review the blogs/twitter/fb of the people that I find interesting. Well written, sensible rant my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I can appreciate everything you said. The social elements are nice, when they are real. I’m lucky that I can find people interested in real interaction, although they are few and far between (it seems). That said. I’m pleasantly surprised when someone does interact more than one expects.

      Thank you for your recent visits and comments. I appreciate it more than you know. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As you know, I turned off my IG some months ago and haven’t regretted it. I also highly limit my WP time. I’m on telegram and TruthSocial as well, but I limit my time there as well. Only reading once every three-four days on those two. The more time I spend “IRL” the happier I am. I love WordPress though. I miss the art on IG, but I just can’t handle the cliques over there.

    I think unplugging is best, as much as possible. Personally, I actually turn my phone off for part of the day. 90% or more of what is seen online isn’t real anyway. Photoshop and AI and robots and all that… so might as well put your energy into the real and tangible. That’s my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately for me, real life often drives me to seek out distraction and escape the way it is set up currently and there’s no clear path to change that as things stand — although there are some potential ways emerging. I just need to decide how best to pursue those.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you. It was elements of real life that drove me to distraction as well, but of course for myself, I’ve learned to cope in some areas better, some aspects have changed, and I’ve changed my attitude quite a bit… but I do understand in my own way.

        Liked by 1 person

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