We spend a lot of our life searching. Sometimes we search for the wrong things. Far too often we are searching in the wrong spot. No wonder that search can feel unending.
This morning I was reminded of an old joke. A man comes along the street at night to find a drunk looking for his car keys under a lamp. He joins in the search but neither of them can find anything. Eventually, the man asks “Are you sure you dropped them here?” to which the drunk replies “No, I dropped them over there, but the light is better under this lamp.”
The anecdote came to mind this morning as I was searching through my social media feeds. I realised something that had been creeping up on me:
Whatever needs had prompted me to scroll the feeds was not present in what I was seeing. Whether it was distraction, good news, validation, connection or hope, the best those feeds could offer was a proxy for that experience, a tease of the possibility that experience was out there. I could keep waiting or I could log out. I chose the latter.
I need to retrain my brain. I’m going to find another place to search. I’m going to step away from the bright lights and go search in the dark where there’s a hope of finding something meaningful.
- If I want distraction, I have much to read and music to stream.
- If I want good news, I can go read it at source in credible publications
- If I want validation, I can do the work
- If I want connection, I can reach out to others directly or re-engage with small communities with meaningful connection
- If I want hope, I can dream
Social media feeds are still a powerful way to reach others around the world, learn from differing perspectives, benefit from the curation of others and to find surprises. Over time my use of these platforms has evolved from these purposes. Using them effectively involves searching in the right place with the right tools for the right content.
My brain threw up the human equivalent of a 404 error message. It is time to refine my search.