I didn’t make a big deal about leaving social media, mostly because I haven’t actually left. I still check Facebook a few times a week. I still hit twitter and check in on my feeds. I have so many friends who use Facebook chat as their default messaging system that I don’t have the energy to retrain them or myself, and I still Instagram because I like the way it forces me to pay attention to the world around me.
What I did do, back on January 1st, was remove all the various apps from my phone so I wasn’t using social media twenty-four seven. My access is desk-top only, and since I don’t log in at work, that limits me when it comes to Facebook and Twitter.
That isn’t quitting social media, but holy hell, it feels like it. My average usage has dropped to about 15 minutes a day, which is enough that you suddenly realise how social media has become the dominant communication medium of our time.
Suddenly I have some empathy for those folks who post annoying “I am leaving social media” posts, because dropping out of sight without telling people is actually problematic. Questions are left on walls. Plans are made without your input, because things never come through on the channels you actually monitor. Occasionally, someone will check in to see that you’re still alive, because they haven’t seen you posting much.
My Facebook wall, in particular, has become the digital equivalent of an answering machine. Not even a terribly efficient answering machine, given the set-up of notifications.
This is not the promise of Facebook, which is all about instant access to people. Facebook is meant to make communication easy, which is its great advantage as well as its greatest flaw. Every time I log in, there is a reminder that I am using Facebook wrong. I am, for the record, completely okay with that.
But letting people know that you’re no longer using social media correctly seems like the kind of thing that would save a whole lot of time.