Social Media Disconnecting

Twitter? Signed out. Facebook? Logged off. It started a few days ago after noticing my frequent phone checking, which spurred a reality check. How did I get so hooked? It felt like brain drain. So Wednesday night, feeling staggered, I turned the key that arms the big red nuke button. I signed out of all my social media accounts and removed all links to them. I’m off.

Social Media and me

Maybe it’s just my periodic swing to find the balance between too much Twitter or quitting cold turkey. But I’ve once again been feeling the need, the compulsion, to distance myself from social media altogether.

Honestly, the main problem hasn’t been Facebook this time, it has been the blue tweety bird. My use of Twitter escalated in recent months. Like slowly boiling a frog, I didn’t feel the heat of the dumpster fire that is Twitter…until recently.

I noticed how I felt the need to check Twitter, catch up on notifications, see who said what, and look at stats. What I hadn’t noticed at first was how often I did this throughout the day; a habit formed. At one point, my wife was talking to me when I realized I began actively tuning her out as I grabbed my phone and started reading Twitter. Yikes!

Despite having a few tailored lists on Twitter, I’d gravitate to the main stream and just scroll, sifting through noise, reading snarky comments…Twitter is said to be the comments section of the internet, and the trolls and bots know it.

Just days after creating a second Twitter account for Jason Journals, I had to delete the app from my phone. The very next day — no joke — is when Elon Musk announced he was going to buy Twitter in a hostile takeover. My first thought was, “Whoa!” My second thought was, “I bet Twitter is blowing up right now…I should go check it out…oh wait, the app isn’t on my phone.” Yeah, talk about a bit of addiction maybe?

I think stepping back from social media right now is best for me; my hiatus is indefinite. And I likely won’t delete my accounts because I often return to them after a good long healthy break (a.k.a. digital detox or declutter). Then again, if I stay off long enough, or if something else prompts me, I’ll probably push that nuke button.

Social Media and others

Is social media bad for society, civility, or democracy? Well, to some degree yes, as smarter people than myself have argued cogently (see Cal NewportJaron Lanier, and Tristan Harris to start). There is some utility in it, some good, but I think its net result is bad. That said, I understand many people can handle social media and make it work for them in different ways. And I’m not better than others for avoiding social media (I’m not using #DeleteFacebook for virtue signaling). Yet I think social media should probably be deleted from the internet altogether and that we’d all be better off with blogs (maybe I’m biased).

I support social networking but not Social Media. The Web Itself Is The Social Network.

Having just finished re-reading Glenn Reynold’s short book called, “The Social Media Upheaval,” I recommend you read it and discern for yourself. Also, Cal Newport is a great example of someone successfully living social media free. He has a podcast, blog, and has written several books related to this topic. You can also hear him speak on the subject in YouTube videos

For now, I think my measures of social media abstinence are enough to let my brain and psyche calm down. Well, that combined with turning off even more notifications on my phone, tablet, and laptop; I further tightened the screws on that too. So far, it’s remarkable because I can already sense a bit more calm and quiet in my day since my phone is not frequently alerting me to info that, 99% of the time, is neither urgent nor important. 

Also, in the absence of checking my phone, I started to rediscover the joy of long-form reading…but that’s for another post. 

Have you considered your use of social media?

10 thoughts on “Social Media Disconnecting

      1. Well, I hope it didn’t sound too harsh, but I know many (myself included) have a like(?)/hate relashipship with it. But one thing is for sure, social media does an excellent job of making us feel FOMO. I know that sounds like a broken record, but it bears keeping in mind every time it lures us back. At the end of the day when we are at the end of our lives I’ll bet none of us wished we spent more time tweeting.

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        1. Not harsh at all; I LOL’d when I first read it. Yup, love/hate thing is true. And FOMO is real… I was thinking of giving Facebook 30 days of inactivity before I nuke it. It hasn’t been addicting to me in a long time and it has some utility for me, so I hesitate. Yet I know I don’t need it. And on principle, I prefer it didn’t exist… Twitter, though, is getting nuked.

          BTW I have catching up to do at Brad Journals and have some of your posts going to my reading list.

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          1. Yeah, I quit Twitter a year or two ago and then about two months ago I took a peak at it (without signing up) and it was like that infamous firehose metaphor. It was very overwhelming and felt just horrible. The interesting thing was that since I had shifted my content consumption to longer form reading, Twitter felt like a swarm of hornets. Very uncomfortable and uncontrollable void of deep thought or focus. (thanks Cal!)

            On the site front, I think I’m about to combine both of my sites into one. And since I’m someone who loves to tinker with design, it’ll most likely have a new look. I’d love to start writing again soon, but my freelance work is a bit overwhelming at the moment. I’m hoping that will change soon as well.

            Changing things with my sites was spawned by the recent WP changes and the fact that I don’t want to pay higher rates in the future.

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          2. Thanks, Brad. I sat down for the 2nd time to practice and learn the Full Site Editor on a free WP test site, hoping to tweak my blog theme to my tastes. It looks kind of close, but oh my, I do not like the Full Site Editor. It’s new to me, I know that, but it is complex and busy and too much. I’m not giving up yet, but I feel like it. Also, it’s still in “beta.”

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    1. I think it is if you switch your theme to a new theme that supports full site editing. Not 100% sure. I exported my current site, then imported it to a new test site to try the full site editing with my content and no risk of hurting my live site. I will need more time to practice full site editing if I decide it’s worth it or not, and I think it’ll take another 18 months or so for WP to polish it and leave its beta status.

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