Binge shifting: My new unhealthy habit of consuming too much content.

Paul Alvarez

Now that we are all are living in the era of the internet surrounding everything in our lives. It is not surprising that entertainment and social media are the most robust when it comes to variety and binge-worthy content. Swiping through my Twitter feed or TikTok videos can feel endless, and Showtime autoplaying the next episode of Billions creates a continuous watching experience.

This provides positives and negatives. Positives in that we no longer can complain that we are bored. I remember as a kid laying down on the carpet in my living room with my brother bored out of our minds. We would find things that entertain us outside or even watch cartoons but these moments laying on the carpet in between boredom seems to no longer exist for kids. I watch my friends kids or my nieces and nephews who are constantly occupied with phones, tablets, or video game consoles.

So we have more than we can consume. That is positive but can also be harmful. As a soon-to-be parent, I know I will be relying on the digital babysitter more than I am willing to admit right now. And it would be hypocritical to say that I will never allow my kid to watch YouTube or use my phone when I am constantly obsessed with YouTube and my phone myself.

Being addicted to social media, I feel, can be a real thing. Sometimes I get sucked into scrolling through TikTok or watch YouTubes for hours, after a long day at work, to give my brain some well-deserved peace. The problem is I can keep going and going until early the following day. It isn’t until I make myself sick that I stop and shift my focus on something else.

This shift can sometimes be unhealthy too. Lately, I have noticed that I shift my bingeing problem between different kinds of media. It is not like I go on TikTok for an hour, YouTube for a half-hour, then Twitter for fifteen minutes before watching an episode of Billions. Instead, I stick to one and binge it until I either finish it or get burned out.

Recently I stumbled on the show Billions and binged the show for two weeks until I finished all five seasons. This was right after I binged the first four books of the seven Harry Potter books. Before that I read three parenting books straight while doing nothing else, not even scrolling through social media here and there.

Lately I have been going back and forth between TikTok and a new YouTube channel that I found on TikTok, called The Sneak City. TikTok is a better version of my favorite app of all time, Vine (RIP), so it is no wonder I can binge it for hours. TikTok is just my kind of content.

Sneak City is apart of a category I never thought I would be obsessed with. The channel is about a couple who own a resale sneaker shop where they buy and sell new and preowned shoes. Even the new shoes they sell are considered preowned but are new because they have never been worn before — or DS, which means Dead Stock, a term I didn’t know until I started watching.

Growing up, I had a friend who collected Jordans, and I used to go with him and a few other friends to the mall and stand in line from 10 PM to whenever Foot Locker or different shoe store opened, when a new release of Jordans would come out. I never bought any of the shoes and never had any desire to collect them. Watching this new channel now; I wish I had since some of those shoes I recognize now since I see how much they sell for.

Regardless of the content, the point I am trying to make is I get obsessed with something, and then I am in constant binge mode until I am worn out and utterly sick of it. A few months ago, I binged a ton of videos of a YouTube channel called Audit the Audit, where the hosts will “audit” a police or law enforcement encounter by bringing up laws and other related legal reasons the interaction was either lawful or unlawful.

Now I can’t stand Audit the Audit. It is still a great channel, and the videos are very well made, but I watched so many videos that I am sick of it and no longer have an interest. The same is for Harry Potter and some of the parenting books I was reading. I get so obsessed with one thing, and I binge it to the point of no longer being interested anymore.

Instead of this binge shifting, I need to and try take a more healthy approach to content and media. With all of the streaming services and other subscriptions available with high-quality content, I need a better approach in watching and consuming media with a more balanced process.

The plan I came up with is to stop everything and think about the things that I am not doing instead of binge shifting between all of these social media and video services. Exercising, dieting (and cooking), preparing for our new baby, and spending time with my wife and my cats are more important than getting lost in what a used pair of Travis Scott Jordan 1’s are.

Next is what media I can do in-between these activities and prioritize them to add to the list I made above. Reading is the number one since I have a few more parenting and baby books I would like to finish before the baby comes. The next set of content are a few shows that my wife and I are watching together. The Crown and a few movies have been sitting on our Netflix list that I would like to watch with her but have been preoccupied elsewhere.

Now in-between my workout in the morning and getting ready for work, I can scroll through TikTok for a bit. At lunch, I can keep up with Sneak City and listen to a podcast while walking around the block. Little spurts of some of the things I have binged before will not only give me the satisfaction it brings in consuming it, but it may even lead me to keep watching it since I won’t binge it to the point of disgust.

Binge shifting is something I think has spawned by the internet and so much online entertainment being created constantly, but I also believe that the last year of being home more is also to blame. Before, I had real-life reasons not to be on my phone from 6 PM to 1 AM.

Before March of 2020, I was getting up at 4:30 AM to go to a HIIT gym with a friend, go to work from 8 AM to 5 PM, had a part-time job delivering pizzas, sometimes from 6:30 PM to 9 PM. Other nights I would spend time with my wife, either watching TV, visiting with friends next door to us, or several other things.

Having all this free time during the pandemic allowing me not to have to plan for future weddings, trips out of state for holidays, visiting with friends and family after work or on weekends, or other “normal” actives has created a world where I shift from one activity to another but in a state of constant focus instead of sharing my time between all of them.

One great thing that I have stayed consistent with that breaks up my binge shifting is writing for Techuisite. My audience has grown, I make a little bit of money, but most of all, I do love writing on Medium. Writing will always be a special place for my mind and a keyboard, and extremely appreciate those that care to read.

As for binge shifting, though, I hope those days will soon be over. Not only with my new plans and goals to focus on other things and trying to balance my time with all of the things that I like. But now that I am one shot away from being fully vaccinated, I also see a time where I can start seeing people again.

Being able to have weekends full of friends or just going to places with my wife sounds like just the thing I need to break out of my constant consumption of media. Billions was great, and Harry Potter will always be something that will be hard not to binge once I start reading it. But I am ready for more variety than just scrolling or watching things on my phone and iPad.

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My passion is in technology. I write reviews about gadgets that interest me but also provide some kind of value in my toolset to achieve my goals. Most of my writing is surrounded by technology and how it plays a role as a tool, help with productivity, and also provide mindfulness for a more fulfilled life.

Turlock, CA

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