Many of you have seen the recent articles about former facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya expressing regret and concern about the effects of social media on society. I’ve been feeling the same way lately. I’ve noticed myself getting angry & depressed after spending time on facebook lately, as well as seeing the way that it can make me spiteful and argumentative. As I scroll through my feed or look at my notifications 90% of it either bores or annoys me. I don’t really get much value out of it anymore and this is not what I want to spend my spare time doing.
A couple of years ago I took a month off from facebook, and overall it was great. Sure I missed a few things, but surprisingly little, and I think I more than made up for it with my own self-directed discoveries and activities. When I was on vacation this autumn I barely logged in and didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I think its time to do that again, but this time for much longer. Maybe the whole of 2018.
Because facebook has become such a portal, such an aggregator of what’s going on out there I’m going to be a bit more strategic about this longer sabbatical. I’m going to return to using a feed aggregator to bring me updates from my favourite websites and blogs. I’m going to judiciously subscribe to email lists of people and organizations that I like. I’m also going to pay more attention to posting on this blog and my flickr stream, so that if anyone out there wants to know what’s going on with me they’ll have an easy way to stay abreast of what I’m doing.
Not being on social media means having to make more conscious, concerted effort to stay in touch with people. This is a two way street. If I call you or send you an email I really hope that you pick up or write back. Likewise if you reach out to me I’m going to try my best to get back to you in a timely manner. Social connections are a social skill, they require work, let’s put some effort into this.
I plan to go dark on facebook on New Year’s Eve. That means there are a couple of weeks to exchange emails, phone numbers, snail mail addresses, etc. I hope to see you soon in the “real world.”