The holidays aren’t typically a time we think of fasting… but it was time. I’ve been a perpetual user of social media for just about as long as that media has existed. I had an account on Facebook they day they opened it up to more than just college students. I was an early adopter and evangelist of Twitter, and while I don’t tweet as much as some people do (maybe 32k tweets in 10 years… which is still 10 a day, I guess) I’ve had a Tweetdeck window perpetually on my computer desktop and Tweetbot on the front page of my iPhone.
But social media has been wearing on me this year. I’m sure our current political situation hasn’t been helping. Twitter seems mostly to be about immediate response and angst these days, and while it’s helped propel some valuable trends (#MeToo comes to mind), it got exhausting feeling like I needed to keep up. For a while I thought I was doing good things by posting strong opinions on Facebook. Eventually I think though everybody that might’ve disagreed (who I was hoping I would reach) likely unfollowed me or the news sources I was sharing. And so it became mostly just an echo chamber. So Monday morning I closed my Twitter and Facebook tabs, deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone, and decided it was time for a fast.
This decision is not without trepidation. I’ve had many social media relationships turn into real friendships over the past decade, and many local friendships enhanced by the online communication. I’d hate to lose that. (I am keeping Slack installed, which provides a lower-intensity communication path to several of my closest friends.) Maybe after a detox I’ll be able to find healthier ways to get my fix of online debate and pictures of the nieces and nephew without feeling tied to it.
So in the mean time, if I have something I want to post, it’s going to go here on my blog instead of Facebook or Twitter. The blog will automatically cross-post to those services, but I won’t be responding there. We’ll see how it goes. Mainly I need less mental distractions… and these are the ones that need to go. Here’s hoping.