Yesterday I had one of my semi-annual meltdowns about social media and – once again – jumped off the social wagon.
I’ve had areal love/hate relationship with social media and the swathe of social media channels is both fascinating to me while remaining potentially incredibly damaging. I’ve been through phases where I’ll post updates multiple times a day, engage with others on the channels in friendly debates or just everyday conversations, and enjoy the time I pend on the social networks…and then there are times when I am considering whether it is really worth the investment of time and energy in what amounts to broadcasting of the inane and every day. Granted, my website and blog does tend to do the same thing – I mean just how interesting can another 10K run around Lyon be for anyone, right? – but I also get a lot of enjoyment out of writing here and keeping a track of what I am doing, watching, reading, writing, and experiencing. It’s also nice to mark off a daily post here and – Jerry Seinfeld-style – cross off another day and not break the chain.
But social media seems to be more than a little different to this daily journaling, reporting, and blogging. It’s easy to get sucked into the debates that aren’t important anywhere else but on Twitter, it’s easy to flick through Instagram and marvel at the lives that look so much prettier than your own, and it’s damn easy to get lost in Facebook and it’s incredible ability to connect you with everyone you’ve ever met in your life…and tell you what they’ve been put to in the 20 years since you even cared about them a little.
So I’m off the social networks again.
Surprisingly, it was easy. Or at least it was easy to start…
Deleting Twitter and Instagram accounts is reasonably quick. The former is going to keep my account online, if hidden from general view, for the next month and – assuming I don’t log in again, delete it sometime early in the new year. Instagram seems a little faster to act and that’s all offline and disappeared as of right now.
Facebook? Well I have been off the ‘big blue monster’ for some time and I don’t miss that at all.
Reddit will be a little different as it has turned into a daily ritual of searching out threads, conversations, sharing information, and passing on interesting finds to people in my social circle. I had amassed quite the ‘karma’ count on reddit and was invited onto a couple of subreddits reserved for the top 1% of users. But reddit also ate up a chunk of my time every day that it didn’t need to, so I decided that I would say goodbye to that account, too.
So what is left?
I’m on LinkedIn because it is essentially a professional network that I’m obliged to be on. LinkedIn, though, is a different sort of social network and rarely do I feel compelled to spend more than a couple of minutes at a time on the site.
I’m on Strava, too, because that’s the place I like to track my activities. It’s a very specific, incredibly focused social network, and one that I only visit when I am either uploading an activity or editing the details of one I just completed. I’ll also make use of Strava’s mapping feature and segment explorer when I am running in an unfamiliar place (Lisbon, say, or San Francisco) but this is less social than it is an exercise in convenient and familiar mapping. The interaction with others on Strava, at least for me, is fairly limited.
Other than that, though, I’m not really on social media at all now and – fingers crossed – I’ll be able to maintain this ‘cold turkey’ quitting. It really does suck a lot of time for a very limited return on that investment, and it can create conflict where there should be none. The rest of the world can continue with their social postings and I’ll surely miss out on them, but I’m not sure I will really miss them.