I used to be somewhat obsessive-compulsive about social media. I checked my facebook approximately 62 times per day.* I posted at least once a day, sometimes 2-3 times. I would post silly stuff about my day, serious thoughts on current events, all my newest and cutest pictures, etc. I would vigorously debate strangers about theology or politics on comment threads whose obnoxious length were only rivaled by CVS receipts. I made long instastories rambling about my ineffective dry shampoo and other deep matters. Even on Twitter – which I always have and always will despise for it’s lack of depth and proclivity for promoting unbridled hostility – I would sometimes scroll and get incensed about whatever was incensing that day.
I began dating a social media dud** a few years ago. For over 18 months, I soldiered on with my social media OCD. When COVID19 started ramping up in the U.S., both my twitter and facebook became so saturated with zany posts I could feel the stress rise in my body every time I logged in, but I was having a super hard time not logging in since I was also effectively (albiet temporarily) laid off with pay. So I gave my boyfriend the password to my facebook and twitter accounts (yes I had 2) and asked him to be my meanie-pants social media gate keeper. He has performed this role with a disturbing but effective gusto. I have probably logged in — 6-8 times in the last two months. When I do, 95% of the 30-40 notifications I have*** are completely boring and not even related to me (e.g. “Joe-Joe added to his story” or “Your mother commented on your brother’s post”).
I am struck with how I have missed almost nothing, and gained the self respect that comes from restraint. Dignity! LIFE!
What used to be a delightful tiramisu has turned into a lifeless saltine cracker.
Okay maybe I’m being slightly dramatic. But it has been nice and I feel kind of amazed that I found it so rewarding not that long ago. But now, even Instagram, the one social media platform I kept because it tended to be light and fluffy and happy, has started edging into facebook/twitter taking-itself-too-seriously territory. The pictures are mostly okay, actually, but the stories are so full of virtue signaling and pedantic lectures on polarizing topics that I can go through an entire day’s worth of stories and realize the best story was an ad for sulfate free shampoo. (Quick disclaimer: I love deep convos and I’m not afraid of discussing controversial topics with people who actually care about my opinion, but I think social media is the absolutely worst place to express them. )
Should I ax the gram, or keep at least one connection to my interweb friends? What an important decision! I will flee to the woods for thoughtful meditation. But one thing I won’t do is create a post on facebook asking everyone what I should do. Success? !
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*Estimated by the Gallonoggin
**This is the only things he’s a dud about, trust me. Yowza!
***What can I say.. #popular