For context, you may want to read my post from early January I am quitting social media.
There were two main actions I took when I decided to pull the plug on social media. First, I unsubscribed from all accounts in every platform. RSS feeds deleted. Twitter follows razed. Instagram follows flushed. YouTube subscriptions obliterated. All without any backup. Second, I removed the apps from my phone and tablet in an effort to block my habit of opening these apps several times a day.
It worked. I have not gone on any of these apps or websites to mindlessly scroll the feed once since I did this over 40 some odd days ago. And my habit of picking up my phone is steadily waning. My attention and focus seem to be returning. I’ve been able to do some painting, printing of postcards in the darkroom, reading, some journaling, and just overall have less topics on my mind in any given day. I’m also reading longer form articles without feeling the desire to stop reading halfway through. Of course, before this I was able to do these things but inevitably I’d be interrupted or distracted in the middle of them with something from social media. Now when I’m doing these things I’m just doing these things.
Deleting my subscriptions in RSS and Twitter was something I had done several times over the years. I can’t recommend doing this enough. Even if you don’t want to leave social media altogether like I did, I do recommend either taking a hatchet to what you take in or delete them completely. When I look through my YouTube history, my Pocket Cast listening history, or my browser history for this year it is far more varied, diverse and has many new sources of information than it did last year.
In fact, nearly all podcast episodes I’ve listened to this year has been from a new podcast that I had never listened to. New voices, new ideas, new information, new opinions. It is very refreshing. My RSS feeds are somewhat similar. I’m slowly adding new subscriptions and each time I do it is like meeting someone new and having them over for coffee.
I think the social echo chamber is a huge reason the world is so divided these days. Millions of people reading the same opinions every day and slowly being radicalized on just about every possible topic. From the most important topics of our day to even the most trivial. As much as I value the opinions of others, and look to mentors for inspiration, I do not want to be a mindless drone simply regurgitating what my echo chamber is telling me is true.
But there is still more work to do.
I notice my YouTube use hasn’t really decreased. Yes, I’m watching videos from all new channels on a variety of topics - but I’d like to do less of it. YouTube has filled in the boredom gap for me a bit. So I need to double down and put a limit on the amount of time I spend watching YouTube. I think this will also help me choose more judicially what I watch.
Leaving social media has done my brain a lot of good in a short period of time. I’m hoping that I continue to heal from the years and years of eating bite sized morsels of junk food. I’ll report back in a few months. Until then, I want to make some things. More on that soon.