Social no more – or less

Going into 2016, I vowed to stop checking my social media sites on a daily – all right, hourly – basis and limit my visits to once a week. On paper, my New Year’s Resolution may have paled in comparison to my Facebook friends’, which included publishing scholarly books in their non-native tongues, climbing the jagged Himalayan mountain of Annapurna, and (toughest by far) tuning out Trump. But as someone whose sanity seems to hinge on interacting endlessly and mindlessly with strangers around the globe, I felt my challenge could rival anyone’s, except maybe The Donald denier’s.

I knew I’d have to push myself far beyond my mental and perhaps even physical capacities. So during the holidays, I took a break from organizing my 2015 “experience quotes” on Pinterest to map out my self-improvement expedition.

Anticipating that on Jan. 1, social media would light up with epiphanies about the previous day’s College Football Playoffs Semifinals, I decided to start my mission on Jan. 8. But after I updated my Linkedin profiles (why stop at one, two or three?), it hit me that the aforementioned gridiron discussions would continue through the Jan. 11 National Championship game. So I extended my launch date to Jan. 15.

As I tinkered with my Tumblr configurations, I realized Jan. 15 was the last day of the first week of classes at Penn State University, where I teach film and journalism. It only made sense to give myself a bit more of a cushion.

I circled Jan. 25.

As Jan. 25 neared, it occurred to me that I should round off my plan.

I marked Feb. 1.

On Feb. 1, a Monday, I woke up at 6 am, as usual. Out of a habit that seems to have formed long before Steve Jobs said “hi Phone,” I reached for my 6s. In a fluid movement, I activated a blue-and-white bird icon on the 4.7-inch screen that allows me to pretend I can delay my age-related onset of presbyopia. Then I remembered my New Year’s Resolution and turned away from Twitter, depriving myself of vital start-of-the-week info and analysis provided by the brand advocates, lap-of-luxury rappers and concussed athletes I follow.

By the time my feet touched the floor 45 minutes later, however, I had updated my Facebook status (you learn so much about yourself), showered my affection on half-a-dozen Instagram photos (each, a mind-blowing sunrise) and snuck a peek into Snoop Dogg’s latest insights (dude’s bona fide).

Having navigated semi-successfully through several clickbaits, I felt pretty good about myself until I realized I blew my New Year’s Resolution.

Then I recalled that I was allowed one grand social media visit a week. I posted a sigh-of-relief emoji on Google Plus and moved on with renewed determination.

Somewhere between my bedroom and bathroom, though, I exceeded that week’s social-media-visit quota.

I’ll restart Feb. 8.

Oh wait, that’s the day after the Super Bowl.

OK, Feb. 15. Ides of February.

Actually, that’s too close to the Academy Awards.

March 1. I made a hush tag for it: #NowYouSeeMeMarch1YouDon’t.

Want to see how it goes? Follow me on Twitter (@boazdvir) or befriend me on Facebook. I’ll post weekly (or, if I fail, hourly) updates.

About the Author
Boaz Dvir is the author of the critically acclaimed nonfiction book “Saving Israel” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), which follows World War II aviators who risked their lives and freedom in 1947-49 to prevent what they viewed as an imminent second Holocaust. Washington Times book reviewer Joshua Sinai described this nonfiction book as a “fascinating and dramatic account filled with lots of new information about a crucially formative period.” A Penn State associate professor, Dvir is the founding director of the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Initiative and the Hammel Family Human Rights Initiative at the university. He's an award-winning filmmaker. He tells the stories of ordinary people who, under extraordinary circumstances, transform into trailblazers who change the world around them. They include an average inner-city schoolteacher who emerges as a disruptive innovator and a national model (Class of Her Own); a World War II flight engineer who transforms into the leader of a secret operation to prevent a second Holocaust (A Wing and a Prayer); an uneducated truck driver who becomes a highly effective child-protection activist (Jessie’s Dad); and a French business consultant who sets out to kill former Nazi officer Klaus Barbie and ends up playing a pivotal role in history’s most daring hostage-rescue operation (Cojot).
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