Social Media Revisited

Way back in December of 2020, I decided to take a look at my overall use of social media. The post, titled The Social Media Conundrum, explored the sites I used the most and whether or not I would continue to do so.

Fast forward two years later and let’s just say I failed on that initial attempt. Quitting or adjusting one’s use of social media is like trying to quit caffeine. You can go cold turkey or gradually wean yourself of it. Neither method ended up working.

Now it’s 2022 and there’s all these newfangled ways to distract yourself from the important things in life like sleeping, eating and having a proper day’s work at your job. Not only that, but we’d reached a new height of this modern pandemic, and social media became a form of escapism for everyone.

This past week I realized something about myself: I’d become addicted (once again) to constantly being on the internet. It doesn’t help that everything’s on it. News, ordering things we don’t need, novel research and more. But then there’s everything else designed to distract.

The first site I discussed in that old blog post was Facebook. I deactivated that thing so hard and so fast that I haven’t looked back once. Do I miss it? Absolutely not. Folks know I’m not on it, so if there’s a party or family function happening, they know to either text me directly or just tell my parents (who live right next door). So, thankfully, I didn’t have to delete that for the third time because I kept my word on that. Will I continue the no-Facebook trend in 2022? Most definitely.

I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time.

Betty White

The second site mentioned was the child site of Facebook, Instagram. Oh don’t even get me started on Instagram. I swear their algorithm purposefully sets demographics/age ranges it doesn’t like up for failure. The only folks who liked my foodie posts were my cousin, friend from Sweden, and the spammers who all tried to get me to collab with some random account. At the time I said I was going to keep using it, mostly to keep a chat open with that previously mentioned Swedish friend. As we both still have each other’s email addresses, we can still stay in contact. Will I keep using Instagram in 2022? Absolutely not.

Everyone has made themselves into a commodity with Facebook, Twitter – with all of these things, you’re commodifying your life every time you post an Instagram picture.

Andrew Garfield

Third mentioned was Pinterest. Here’s a funny story about Pinterest. Some time ago – don’t remember how long ago – I rebranded this site. This included a name change from anotherhartmanauthor to chocolateandpaper. Updated my business email as well. Did I delete that email, forgetting it was the one I used for Pinterest? Yup. Thankfully, Pinterest’s account recovery process is relatively simple, so I was able to get it back. Will I keep pinning all the pins? Yup!

Our attention spans have been reduced by the immediate gratification provided by smartphones and social media.

Katherine Ryan

Fourth item on the list is Twitter. Ahhhhh Twitter. The thing apparently no modern author can be without to sell books. The problem I was experiencing, however, was I felt a weird obligation to keep the account I’d had since 2011 and just update my handle as I saw fit. Internet fame has never been in my favor or on my mind, so I decided to create a brand new account for all things books. Forget the 20k+ tweets I’d made over the past ten years. Forget the several hundred dead accounts folks abandoned years ago but were still following me. Forget the accounts who were still active that never interacted. Did I start anew this past week? Yes, yes I surely did.

When you’ve got 5 minutes to fill, Twitter is a great way to fill 35 minutes

Matt Cutts

Honorable mentions:
1. Discord – joined a server to keep up with a YouTuber I hardly watch anymore. Deactivated as of 1/27/2022.
2. TikTok – test ran this app for two months. I can see how folks can become more attached to this over Snapchat or anything else. Deactivated as of 1/27/2022.
3. Digital media – deleted over 150 images and video clips from my phone right after I uninstalled TikTok and Instagram.
4. Reddit – I used to lurk on The Home Depot forum because I used to work there. It’s been five months. That deletion was long past due.

Caffeine and social media are often mentioned together because of how they can be so addictive. Whether that’s destructive or not is completely up to us. However many times I’ve tried to quit one, I’ve tried to quit the other. So I’m trying this yet again.

Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself more and more over-stimulated. It’s why I also made my last blog post about streamlining your Twitter experience. If you enjoy being in-the-know about random things, go for it. But I’d rather use that time to research and write my novel.

Last summer I successfully deactivated more than fifteen online shopping accounts and dropped Amazon Prime. This year’s additional challenge will be to top that by changing my social media habits. And, hopefully, by this time next year I’ll have a completed draft one of Project Star and Sea!

I’m definitely keeping my eye on the prize with this attempt. I may fall again, but there’s absolutely zero harm in trying, right? And heck, I may even get a decent night’s sleep for once.