On living without social media

Well, mostly. I’ve been mostly without Twitter for a couple of months now. I haven’t had a Facebook account for much longer than that. I stopped Instagramming when Facebook bought them. I’ve deleted the Twitter apps from my devices, and now if I want to check in I have to use the browser. Not having notifications or easy launching of a stream adds a bit of friction. I also have 2-factor authentication enabled, and logout after checking in, so dropping into twitter is deliberately kind of a pain in the ass. I only post to Twitter via auto-tweeting from my blog when I post here.

What I’ve noticed recently is that I’m also living without the hot-take. I don’t feel like I need to post my cleverest reaction to everything, nor am I interested in everyone else’s cleverest reactions to everything. I find I’m thinking with less snark. I’m being less sarcastic in general. And I think that has something to do with withdrawing from the hot-take snark-and-sarcasm streams on social media.

I read more. I follow more people via RSS1, and I’m really digging NewsBlur as a feed aggregator/reader.

Where my day previously was basically “constantly check twitter. Put the phone down. Pick it up. Forget why. Check twitter. Repeat. All. Day. Long.” It’s now “check email, check feeds in NewsBlur, check the Times to see if Agent Orange has done something dangerously stupid, check Reddit to see interesting things in the subs I subscribe to. Done.”

That last part, “Done.”, is huge. My entire online checkin might take me 10 minutes. Maybe twice a day. And then I can be done with The Internet™ and walk away and do more interesting things. I am no longer concerned about Being Right on the Internet™, nor of correcting Those Who Are Wrong on the Internet™. Or feeding (or avoiding) the sociopathological trolls2. Who cares? Life is way too short to spend time worrying about that kind of nonsense.

Done.

  1. and wish more people were publishing interesting and thoughtful things on blogs or whatever, rather than tweeting into the wind []
  2. eg. this guy, among others []

3 thoughts on “On living without social media”

  1. It sounds like you and I have been on similar paths. I’ve added friction to things like accessing Twitter (in fact I’ve done the things you have done).
    I find I haven’t really missed it at all and have been enjoying digging back in to my blog reader and gasp commenting.
    Now I just need to get back on that blogging game.

    1. I’m trying to be more active in commenting on blogs again – there are a few that are coming back to life, and that’s wonderful. I’d like to think there are more people like us who step back and think about these issues – there’s a lot involved here. Power. Control. Transparency. Autonomy. Diversity. Individuality. Community. Sharing. etc. etc. etc. It’s not just an anti-Twitter reaction, it’s more of a “holy crap we’re this close to just losing any sense of ownership of what we do” thing for me.

  2. Yes, exactly. It isn’t the form social media takes (although some are worse than others IMO) it is that we are taking the convenient route when it comes to relationships online. Keep on writing man and I’ll keep on reading.

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