I had a whole document written last week about taking a break from twitter and
social media in general, and I'd been waffling on whether or not to go through
with posting it, but then twitter decided to make that decision much easier for
me. In a post titled 'World Leaders on Twitter'
it was made pretty clear that there are two tiers of users on the service:
normal users to whom the rules apply, and 'important people' to whom the rules
don't. Or maybe they do sometimes. Or something. There's a third tier if you
also count 'verfied users', since they get access to some tools that the normal
I know I'm not the first one to invoke Animal Farm, but I couldn't help but
think about the mangled quote:
"All twitter accounts are equal, but some twitter accounts are more equal than
-Not George Orwell
I used to try to describe twitter to people when I first started using is as a
kind of 'asyncronous' IRC. A place where you could chat with people, but you
both didn't have to be online at the same time to do it. Kind of somewhere
between an instant messenger and a chat program.
And it's still kind of like that in some ways, except practically nobody sticks
to any /topic and everyone is in one gigantic channel where you're on your own
to try and winnow down the full-blast firehose of content to something
resembling a useful stream. Also certain people can flout the rules and the
operators won't do anything about it because 'Oh, that's just Jerry again'. Also
you never quite know what the rules are because they change all the time.
My metaphor kind of got away from me, but I think my point still stands.
I know it seems like I'm picking on twitter (mostly because I am), but you can
also substitute Facebook, Google Plus, or whatever social network you want and
you'll get the same result.
Also, no, the answer is not to go to a Mastodon instance or
. Every time someone tries to describe how
Mastodon is better, they say that it's like twitter before twitter got too big.
Unfortunately, from where I'm sitting, I'm pretty sure that those networks will
also have the same problems once they reach a critical mass of users, and people
will be looking for the next new thing (yes, I know Mastodon is decentralized
But my main reason for taking a step back goes deeper than that.
Social media has turned out to be a huge distraction for me. It was manageable at
first, but slowly, so slowly that I didn't recognize what was happening for
a while, I started neglecting a lot of other projects that I had wanted to work on
in favor of blasting out a few tweets or mindlessly scrolling through my
timeline looking for that dopamine hit instead of actually doing, for lack of a
better term: 'stuff'. I used to read more, I used to play more video games, I
used to write more, I used to *do* more.
That mostly went to the wayside in favor of me sitting at my computer
refreshing all of my social networks and endlessly scrolling and replying and
liking and favoriting and +1-ing drivel. Or posting a picture of the cat doing
something silly and then obsessively refreshing over the next several hours to
see how many people gave it that coveted click of approval.
Lather, rinse, repeat. All day, every day.
I need to break the cycle. I need to use that mental energy that I've been
wasting on social media for literally anything else. I need to spend my time
creating content in a way that I control unequivocally instead of creating
content for someone else via the proxy of their website. I'm very guilty of
starting up a new blog or website or whatever only for it to lay fallow almost
immediately as I sit on social media all day using the mental energy I should be
using to create content to instead just whinge about how awful a lot of websites
are. Also, I (not so secretly) miss telling someone to come to my website if
they want to know more about me instead of telling them to look me up on
whatever the current trendy platform of the day is .
Will this be a permanent vacation? Hard to say. Maybe social media gives me
something that I can't get anywhere else. Maybe it satifies a need that I can't
fully articulate, but will make itself apparent once I step back for a while.
But I'll never know until I break the cycle and see for myself what's on the
If you want to contact me, you can find my contact information at the top of
this gopher hole: gopher://ymodem.org/0/contact.txt or, if you must:
I'll probably end up updating that file with the things I'm working on, and I'll
also keep the rss feed updated... at least for a while.
Last updated: 7 Jan 2018