After some deliberation (and alerting the handful of people I kept in close touch with over social media) I went and disabled what active FB and Twitter accounts I had. Findings so far: I am bored.
I use social media to distract myself when I’m in a rut – writing, or copying stuff down, or even when the show I’m watching gets to a dull part. Turns out, I get bored more than I care to admit. I find myself opening the browser on my phone and just staring blankly at the screen because there is nothing interesting there, no feed to scroll down, no interesting quote to like or pin or reblog. I assume that this is just the first stage – perhaps within a week or so, I would have either cracked under the pressure, or have moved onto more interesting projects, having somehow shed my Pavlovian reflex to log on social media whenever I find something I’d rather not deal with.
Or maybe shedding the reflex will take longer. Qui sait?
One might wonder if leaving is as simple as saving your data and pressing a few buttons to deactivate your account. (Note: I’m not taking about full on profile deletion, just a deactivation. Your friends will get to keep your profile picture on their roster and even some of your PMs.) After all, despite having over 200 Facebook friends, I only had to tell five or six of them (+ a large group I frequently posted in) that they will have to email if they want to get in touch – suggesting that, whatever social impact my leaving had, it would be minimal.
However, there are still drawbacks – group events and announcements, for example. If I want to learn about the next big regional or writing meetup, I have to either call or email, or, gasp, talk to other people and double-check with them. (Am I the only one who practices what she has to say on the phone before she dials the number?) Despite the fact that the fastest way to get information is to talk to someone, it’s so much easier to send them a message or post on their wall. Why? Displaced mediators, perhaps?
And even if I regularly spoke to a select group of people, they were still a social circle. If anything, social media was where I went to share random observations and enjoy a helpful chat when things got a little tense. Without those mini-interactions, my day suddenly feels long and, well, boring.
Let’s see how many more times I can include boring in this post.
Despite my current dejection, I know for a fact that there will be times in the upcoming weeks when I will be better off not to be on social media. Times that are better off left to go as unnoticed as possible. The build-up to the holidays is especially frustrating – marketing mixed with humblebragging mixed with feverish preparation usually sets one for disappointment. Worse, it makes one especially susceptible to writing passive-aggressive posts about how they’re really not feeling the spirit of the season.
But that’s neither here nor there.
As for me, here are a few more reminders why I can do without social media:
- It’s a game without winning
- It’s too much work for what it’s worth
- I really would rather do with not seeing a certain kind of post on my feed
- I’m tired of helping Facebook sell ad space