“I’m quitting the internet,” or a social media strategy for a better you

I’ve been avoiding the news. Not that I’m trying to be less informed, but my multiple times a day habit of checking for updates wasn’t doing my head any favours. There’s just not that much information I need to know.

For the past few months I’ve been coming round on the idea that Twitter is having the same effect on me.

A grungey black & white Twitter bird over the text repeatedly asking 'what's happening'

Back in the early days of the pandemic a mutual snapped at me for posting a terrified prediction of what’s to come. Yes, the cascade of political bullshit led us right to where we are today. But the thought stuck with me and I’ve been a lot more careful about what and how I post. Because truly what good is sending my anxiety out into the world when all is going to do is multiply?

So lately I’ve been trying to bring back the old Twitter. Posting nice things only: photos, experiences, memories. Trying my damnedest to turn the tide back to that rose tinted place that I enjoyed all those years ago. An old friend messaged me to tell me that they appreciate it, which honestly was the wildest thing because I never explicitly said what I was doing, they just picked up on the vibe. But at the same time they confessed that they’re burnt out on social media and don’t post any more. I get it.

Occasionally I’ll post something I’m passionate about: climate solutions, LGBTQ rights, or a combination of the two, usually in the form of encouraging we get rid of our corrupt, trumpian government. Those ones land the hardest, and it seems it’s more often my friends who miss the point and hassle me about them. Maybe I’m not as eloquent as I thought? Or maybe people are tired and that’s how it manifests.

Positive vibes only. Advocate for good.

Another dear friend posted recently, “this place is toxic and we all have Stockholm syndrome. I promise you it’ll be okay if you step away, even for a little” and it’s pretty fair.

I have a muted word list that scrolls almost the length of the universe, from politicians to Dutch words, tired memes, covid terms, crypto, a bunch of keywords from my own industry, and some commonly used smarmy phrases that are generally up to no good. “Allow me to explain”, “buckle up”, “thread 🧵”.

The one thing that gets me though is the fomo. I appreciate the phrase “extremely online”, because yeah that’s me. Extremely. Same as I’ll check the news multiple times a day, I’ll check the tweets constantly. Rather than spend a second with my own thoughts, I’d much prefer to immerse myself in others. I’ve always said I prefer the Twitter app because there’s something inherently sticky about it: it feels good and makes me happy. That’s by design, but it’s the sugar high before the crash rather than a genuine fulfilling enjoyment. Someone liked the post you retweeted!

But ultimately this is where my friends are, I don’t want to step away completely. But I do want to cut back and try to mitigate some of the worst effects. So there’s two things I want to try:

  1. Only check it once a day. Maybe on my lunch break? Sometime I can enjoy it, without losing the entire day to it.
  2. Sit with my thoughts. Organise them in other ways. Keep a journal.

This blog post actually sprung out of number two. Initially it was going to be a series of bullet points in Google Keep. Some new year’s rulin’s. But I realised that’s not the only way to compose my thoughts, and this kinda serves as one of those “I’m quitting social media” posts that I usually think kind of feel like a cry for help hah.

I have no idea if I will be able to keep this up, and I’m sure my thinking on it will evolve. But it genuinely feels like a really positive thing right now so I’m keen to give it a go.

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