I need to take a break from social media for a while.
Or try to, at least. Frankly, Twitter and Facebook have become minor addictions. I check Twitter while waiting for unit tests to run, in between tasks during the workday, while waiting for a bus. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do when I fall asleep. When there’s no new tweets, I check Facebook.
I know just enough about the working of the human mind to understand what’s happening: my brain is looking for that little hit of dopamine when I see an update from a friend, a funny joke from a stranger. In the early days of Facebook and Twitter, it was all fun and games; it was all college friends, and a great way to keep in touch with people.
Now, Twitter is my main news source, and news is rarely good. The funny jokes and updates about friends are just the mortar between bricks of depressing news from the world and the unbelievable ongoing shittiness of prominent people in my industry.
If Twitter is where I get my news, Facebook is the forum for arguing about it. It’s incredible how quickly it’s become the norm to have vicious back-and-forth arguments about politics and the like—and yes, I’m absolutely as guilty of this as anyone else is. Furthermore, Facebook exposes me to every racist, sexist, homo- and transphobic opinion not of just everyone I’ve ever known, but from everyone they’ve ever known, too (and from every stranger with an Internet connection, if I accidentally see comments on a public post or news article).
It’s just not worth it anymore. It used to be fun and fulfilling; now it’s just depressing and aggravating.
I’m uninstalling my Twitter client and blocking Facebook.com on my computer, because I know that’s what it will take. I check them both just out of habit, without thinking, so I need to put roadblocks in my own way. I’m not foolish enough to say I’m gone for good, or even for six months or a year or whatever. I just need a break.