I hadn't planned on writing anything here about this, but enough people have asked me variations of "OMG ARE YOU OK?" that it's worth saying something. On October 7, I deleted my twitter and Facebook accounts. It's not a nihilistic dramatic cry for help. I am fine. Doing great, actually.
It was directly triggered by US election fatigue (and I'm horrified, watching the results starting to trickle in as I write this. How on earth is this even remotely close?). I just got tired of the constant drain, the constant snark, updates, trash talk, and general toxicity of the whole process. For a country that likes to think of themselves as the paragon of democracy, it's truly shocking just how dysfunctional, distracting, divisive and corrosive their process is. It's going to take a decade to depolarize and repair after this madness ends.
It wasn't just because of the US election. I also got tired of the uninformed opinions on how Trudeau is destroying Canada by letting in millions of refugees who are apparently stealing jobs and homes while pushing the price of oil down and therefore responsible for white collar unemployment. Go figure. It's not an argument that will be resolved by crazy things like facts or honest and open discussion. And I got tired of how I grew to feel about people who repeated uninformed opinions on many topics. So I withdraw from that nonsense. And I'm feeling good about that.
I also threw several babies out with that toxic bath water. I miss regular updates from friends and colleagues. I miss hearing what's going on in my PhD lab (which is coordinated through a closed Facebook page. Really?). I miss easily contacting friends and colleagues - I've realized I have outdated email addresses for several people (happy belated birthday, Jen!).
I know hardly anyone reads my blog anymore, so I miss sharing what I'm doing with people in various communities. But I'm still blogging.
Actually, I've been blogging more. I've also started posting stream-of-consciousness stuff as well, resurrecting a Known site. I've subscribed to several more RSS feeds - pushing close to 1200 now - if anyone has anything really meaningful to say, it winds up posted to or mentioned on a blog somewhere.
I've been surprised to realize that my thinking has become less reflexively snarky. I've been making more of an effort to actually talk to people, in person, and focusing more on my local communities rather than diffuse connections online.
Am I going to stay off of twitter and Facebook? I don't know. I think it's likely. It's not like I've disappeared, and I'm super-easy to get in touch with. But I'll be staying tuned out of the pointless nonsense.