I think I try to cut back on social media at least once a year, but I always eventually fall back into the social media and news trap. But I’m giving it a go again. I’m doing it because those regular quick check ins and rants give an illusion of connection to other people and life, and eats away at your ability to create and participate for real.
It started with getting stressed about the amount of Whatsapp and email communications I get from my kids’ schools, parents and hobby admins. I don’t know what the answer is but overall I feel like the curse of modern communications technology is that it makes it easier for the people sending out communications to spam people with too much information on a weekly and daily basis or just flakey reach outs.
When you can also reach people instantly there’s no need to plan properly or indeed stick to plans – and so people assume that it’s fine to live in a constant state of flux.
Then an old friend/colleague got in touch about a potential job on linkedin, but after I posed some questions about it they ghosted me. I even found out they got married today in a random post! Recruiters contact me about jobs in Germany. I look at job openings but I cannot connect emotionally to them at all. And the social feed in linkedin is becoming more politicised and toxic.
I went back to Instagram in the Spring just to see what people were up to, and maybe post a few photos, but I found the new experience so far from the clear original proposition that I have again deleted the app. All I found was related posts about real interests/people, infinite variations on topics, and lots of crappy ads. It didn’t help me connect with old friends.
I started using twitter at some point in the past year again, partly out of wanting to break the boredom of being at home alone, and partly to feel like I was ‘in touch’ with other people andthat I could complain and feel heard and save the world. But what I found was a cesspool of anger and whining (yes I added to that), negative news and shallow thoughts.
I also regularly keep checking in on news websites and come away feeling like the world is total crap on the whole.
Instagram app deleted. Signed out of twitter. Just now signed out of linkedin. Will try to stop going to news sites (although NYT is not too bad).
Oh another thing I’m looking to do less – looking to google for answers to everything, including random questions that pop into my head. Sometimes it’s essential, but other times it would just be better to formulate my own opinions about more general existential questions.
What do I hope to get out of this?
Well I can no longer waste time on Instagram – I go there with no real purpose and get little from it. So no more sucking up time.
I will not get anxious from checking twitter news and opinions anymore. I also cannot complain about stuff thinking that I’m helping myself or others. By closing myself off from Social Media, I will have to face up to reality. I will have to think about what I can change, what needs to change. And if something is just not working out, well I can no longer passive aggressivly shout about it. No, I will have to do something about it! E.g. Write to my MP, join a real protest, or then some new initiative. Consider a new career and so on. I think it’s about standing on my own.
So far, I’m feeling the effect very quickly. I cannot escape the problem by going online to feed my brain with information candy. I’m starting to adjust my thinking and behaviours.
I’ll have to get in touch with friends more, and meet them, and talk to them, and do stuff with them. Real things.
I also hope to cut back on so much TV – get back into guitar practise, piano, drawing – or at least think about what I really want to spend my days doing.
So here’s to disconnecting from the junk online and engaging with the real world again. Let’s see how it goes.
An aside – I am writing as a form of therapy. I know probably nobody will read it, but at least I have to write something lengthy, edited, considered. It helps me process any rumination and angst I might be feeling. Writing is good.