Troy Patterson
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Fri 3 Aug 2018
10:49 AM

Getting off the Train

I’ve been on social media in some form or another for a long time. I was a relatively late adopter to MySpace, but got in at some point during the .edu days of Facebook and claimed my name early on Twitter as well. Several others followed and I joined them and drifted away quickly. I also did Instagram off and on for a good while. What I’ve realized since I submitted my deletion request to Facebook this week is that it really all is nothing but noise.

I’ve reached day 3 of my 14 day countdown to Facebook wiping my files. This has given me some time both literally and figuratively to reflect on social media over my life and what it all means. I didn’t think about it much at the time, but what did I gain during all that time? I kept in touch” with old classmates and extended family, but what did that mean? I was mostly an introvert in school and while I had friends I was never very social. So reconnecting with people now hasn’t really been much more than seeing passing information that neither adds nor takes from my day. At least that’s what I thought, but does it really not take from my day?

If I spend an unknown amount of time scrolling my feed what else could I have done during that window? Could I have taken the kids to the park, read a book, exercised, etc.? What I missed was my life to spend minutes or even hours finding out my cousin ate a quality sandwich for lunch. Maybe your best friend who constantly posts how bad their day has been is at it again. That’s not to say you can’t have real contact in an online setting, but the noise and volume make it unlikely with social media.

This is not even touching the data privacy and fake news issue. To sit there and say we’re going to use a system that caused the problem to fix the problem is short sited at best. Being woke” on Twitter isn’t going to make twitter any better at filtering and removing hate speech and fake content. There is only one way to make sure you’re not pulled in the wrong direction and that is to remove yourself from the system.

I’m not going to be a nomad and I’m not leaving the internet, but I’ve admitted that A) social media is not for me and probably a negative for my mental health B) social media is a societal negative and I won’t be a member if I can help it anymore.

Before Facebook started I remember the old days in college of blogging” on setups like geocities and making websites that didn’t rely on going viral and making money (at least not to the same level we see today and especially not for my wallet). That’s why I’ve made this space. Honestly without social media, etc. I know this site won’t be suddenly getting hundreds of views, but that isn’t the point. I’d like to see us regain more of the IndieWeb of that old day. If you imagine something like Twitter and Twitch chat as the Ferrari of social interaction I can understand why people would like it, but I prefer the slow stroll of this interaction and look forward to day 14.

Related Thoughts: Time spent reading social timelines is time lost Seriously, You—Ok, We—Need To Stop Watching The News This Year