Social Media = Alcohol & Sugar

I Can Only Take It In Small Doses and Not Every Day

“If one has not read the newspapers for some months and then reads them all together, one sees, as one never saw before, how much time is wasted with this kind of literature.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Like many people I spent hours a day on social media. As I was involved in an international move and job search in the early days of platforms like Twitter and Facebook, it seemed to have a lot of potential. There were times when I met up for coffee with people I met on Twitter. One of the people I connected with there sent me a care package to Afghanistan. I’ve used it both personally and professionally.

Around 2016 I started to lose interest but still felt it was important to maintain an active presence on some of the platforms. I tried different things to manage my mental health and being active online. I tried anonymous accounts, those just turned me into more of a troll and not the person I wanted to be. I tried limiting time online. Tried limiting the accounts I followed to control what I viewed, but none of these things ever solved the problem.

I tried some things in the Fediverse like Mastodon and did find some good conversations there for a bit but then the politics took over.

In October 2023, I just sort of abandoned social media. I realized I just couldn’t do it anymore. No dramatic posts about why I was leaving, just stopped showing up. I’ve kept all my accounts but rarely visit them. When I do it’s mostly to lurk, hardly ever posting and staying away from comments.

Those times that I do hop on I’m quickly reminded of why I don’t want to be there. There is the FOMO, you think you’re going to miss things, but then you realize most of these things don’t matter. What’s interesting is when you step away you see how irrelevant so many of these people are. The so-called influencers and thought-leaders who really just don’t matter.

There are several members of the U.S. House Of Representatives that I know are complete idiots, I can't imagine any new evidence that's really going to change that popping up on Twitter. I'm not going to engage with a system that’s giving their bullshit more oxygen in the name of paying attention.

With my background in marketing and messaging I see the damage that’s being done by people who have good intentions but are causing more damage to their cause than if they would just shut up. The mob mentality on all sides and the fact that there is little room for variance. A purity culture demanding conformity is never a healthy sign.

I’ll expand on some of the concerns I see on social media in future posts, but the reality is most geopolitical issues can’t be solved by a hashtag. There is not the time or the space for the nuance that most issues require.

Despite the claims, almost nobody is changing minds or actually influencing anyone, they’ve got people who already agree telling them how right they are as everyone drowns themselves in confirmation bias.

I’m not judging those who it does work for. I’ve got plenty of other ways that I waste time myself, but what I see is those that talk about the importance of being on these platforms are the people who profit from by others being there. They’re telling you to be there to benefit them, not you.

That’s really the key thing. You can choose to use these platforms as they work for you. Unless it’s part of your job description you probably don’t need to show up every day if you don’t want to. There are great elements of it and maybe as the old sites eventually die new ones will develop that will correct some of the problems.

With the growth of generative AI we’re only going to see more misinformation, disinformation, and other garbage and in the end most of it really won’t make much of a difference in our lives. There’s a giant media industry trying to keep us focused where they want us, it’s time for us to take back the control and decide where we put our attention.

My focus will be on writing on this site which is a platform I control. I can move the domain elsewhere if needed and all content originates on my devices, not some oligarch’s server farm to be training AI based on my typing patterns and other things.

I'm going to write here for humans and hope to build a connection with people who are open to new ideas, accepting new evidence or knowledge, and understanding that not everyone is going to accept things at the same pace as others.

Here's an older post where I addressed social media issues

The Downfall of Twitter Could Be Great for Democracy

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