For a long while, I’ve been a big user of social media.
In terms of the mainstream apps, I began with Facebook and then moved onto Twitter, Linked In (for work) and Instagram. In fact before any of those, I was active on a number of message boards relating to specific topics. So I guess that social media has sucked a fair proportion of my life over the last fifteen or so years.
However, when I face the truth, it is doing almost nothing of use for me. This is however, an inconvenient truth because, like many, I guess I am pretty hooked on it! Therein, my friends, lies the problem. Social media has the potential to become so addictive, that it has substantially negative impact on other aspects of life.
Furthermore, I’m just not getting from any of it what I once did.
Facebook has changed a lot in recent years and the ridiculous misinformation and bile around Brexit left me utterly cold. Since then, I’ve barely use it at all. Instagram is merely a curated stream of the highlights of people’s lives. Not to mention the strangeness of some very, very random likes and follow requests whenever you post anything. I’m on Linked In, ostensibly for the benefit of work, but really it just seems to be becoming Facebook in a shirt and tie. Does anyone ever genuinely win work by using Linked In?
Out of all of the mainstream social media platforms, I’ve stuck with Twitter for the longest, but it too seems to be changing. There’s a lot less substance and a lot more sharing of memes and spurious information, crazy politics and associated mud-slinging. I’m rarely uplifted, but often dismayed at the information that fills my feed.
I first began to think seriously about leaving social media alone when I read this article by Dan James at 35Hunter. Then just recently I started to listen to “Deep Work” by Cal Newport which espouses the practice of taking uninterrupted time to work deeply on your best work. The final nail in the coffin came in the shape of this video of Cal Newport in which he makes a compelling case for not using social media at all.
This all resonates with me, because I do want to write more and take more (and better) photographs. At a best assessment though, but my work rate is thin and patchy. I need to free up some time in my life and the constant twitch to check my Twitter feed has become a serious distraction. It’s adding very little to my life at the moment and yet is sucking quite a bit of valuable time.
There are a handful of people on Twitter whose comments I’ll miss, but I may well reach out to contact some of them by WhatsApp or text. The only other main use I had for it was sharing my blog posts, but I’m not sure that it ever brings much traffic. I’m pretty sure that if a message is worth being out in the world, it’ll find a way eventually.
So, I’m giving all social media a miss for a prolonged spell. Maybe indefinitely.
It’s already been a couple of days and my blogging work rate has gone up. Honestly, I don’t really miss social media at all at the moment.
This might be a long term experiment, or a life changing shift in focus. Either way, I’ll see how it goes and will blog about the journey.