Some thoughts on my social media fast

Back in November I decided it was time for a social media break. Facebook and Twitter were turning into frustrations that caused me more to feel fractured than to be too helpful. So I deleted the apps from my phone, closed the usually-open tabs in my browser, and decided to abstain until Christmas.

There were a few things I was afraid I’d miss – things that had dissuaded me from doing a fast like this before now – chiefly updates and photos from family members on Facebook, and staying in touch with a handful of friends for whom Twitter is our primary communication means. But for a month, it was definitely time to give it a try.

A month later it turns out that I didn’t miss all that much. Yeah, there were a few pictures from family members. I was able to catch up with those pretty quickly. The biggest miss was indeed the Twitter friends. There were a handful of times when I had the itch to post something to Twitter or FB and felt like I had no place to put it… but then I remembered my blog.

There were some unexpected positive aspects to the fast. Within the first few days I got text messages from friends who never otherwise text me. That was fun. And I spent some more time actually writing stuff on my blog. I kicked off a topic series that could eat up far more time than I have to actually do it justice. And for family pictures I set up an iMessage thread with my parents and all my siblings and it’s been a lot of fun, too.

On December 26th I reinstalled Tweetbot on my phone. My first step was to unfollow a lot of accounts. I had been following nearly 600; I cut out nearly half of them, trying to retain only real people I know personally or through one of my online communities. I may still need to cut down a few more noisy accounts, but it’s a little easier to tolerate being a Twitter completionist when I pull it up after a few hours’ break and there are only a hundred or so tweets to read through.

I’m not sure I really want to get back on to Facebook. I will stick around the Christ and Pop Culture group at least, but if it were to have a separate platform (which it won’t, for reasons that I understand), I would probably just jettison FB altogether.

I do want to spend more time writing on my blog – something that seems far more productive than being endlessly distracted by social media. Hopefully this taste of social media absence will help me set more reasonable levels of interaction in 2018.

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