tl;dr (too long didn’t read)
- I’m going to step back from social media: Facebook and Twitter
- I’m still going to post on my blog and you can stay in touch through subscribing via RSS or via e-mail
Several things came together in my mind to make me decide that I needed to reset how I use social media:
- Observing a friend quietly step back from social media
- Trying multiple times over the past year to take breaks from Twitter, to return days or weeks later
- Talking with friends/colleagues who studied social media, which made me think about how my social media feeds had inadvertently become “highlight reels”
- Noticing that when I took a few days off from social media, I seemed to be able to “catch up” fairly quickly, though had I not taken that break, I would have checked many more times
- Noticing that I started to think about personal or professional achievements or milestones in the context of being able to share about them on Facebook or Twitter (in contrast to enjoying the achievement or milestones independent of sharing)
- Constantly checking my notifications after posting
- Discussing social media with my spouse and realizing that social media had become a source of anxiety (and even dread!) to a greater extent than it was a source of whimsy, discovery, and enjoyment, as it had (has?) been
- Recognizing that simply stepping back from social media had not worked well for me in the past; I seem to have an addictive personality with respect to information and receiving positive social feedback (in point of fact, I check my email constantly when I can, even on weekends and vacations)
- Wanting to build capital in ways other than on social media; wanting to build capital with my neighbors, and local organizations, and friends and family, and those who I work with
- Constantly thinking about what I’d post on social media and what others would think
- Wanting to try to think and work more deeply and conscientiously
- Realizing I probably spent on the order of 1-2 hours/day, at least in terms of the attention I spent to social media
- Having deleted my Facebook account when my we moved from Lansing to Knoxville and noticing (when I started a new account after realizing that I couldn’t reactivate the one I had deleted!) that Facebook has never been as useful since - it was metaphorically decapitated - and therefore realizing that this was a way to make it much harder for me to return to Twitter, which I’m presently much more addicted to
I’m not trying to convince others to do the same. Everyone is different; others receive more benefit or have more need, and many have fewer downsides than I do.
There is a cost to this. I am in touch with many people personally and professionally almost entirely through social media. Social media has been meaningful to me; many collaborations and true friendships (that I maintain off social media) were sparked through it. I’ve used Twitter since 2006. It is hugely important to me and my identity. But, the weight of the reasons for me (many of these are idiosyncratic) pointed toward needing to reset.
How to stay in touch?
I thought about stepping back quietly - isn’t that the entire point, rather than writing a (melodramatic?!?) post. but, I decided to post one last time for one primary reason - to share other ways to stay in touch, if anyone is interested in doing so. Those ways are:
- Via RSS
- I recommend subscribing to RSS “feeds” via Feedly
- Via e-mail
- Click the above link to sign-up to a Substack newsletter and to receive an email when I post
- To be honest, I’m not super keen on Subsetack - I prefer RSS - but, the convenience is difficult to beat, so I decided to try this
- By checking this URL (you can read my blog here!)
- Of course, you can stay in touch in other ways - e-mail, call, visit, etc.
Stay in touch!