Like most humans out there, I have a complicated relationship with social media.
One might make the case that every job I’ve ever had is a direct result of a social media interaction at one point or another.
For the first 14 years of my life we had a family computer in a room in the house with a floppy disc and then a cd rom with dial-up internet, but at one point I was able to put a desktop computer in my bedroom with an ethernet connection to the world wide web. WOAH. There was plenty that could go wrong with giving my teenage self that kind of power. I got into plenty of garbage that I wish I could turn back time and un-experience. But that just comes with the territory.
There was also plenty of good that came of it. I started a xanga blog (remember that?) and later a myspace page. At the time I was getting more into playing music. But music was just a vehicle I used to meet people all across the country. I think I was more of a social media influencer with a guitar than I was a musician. But I thoroughly enjoyed the environment that music put people in. This incubator of kindness and togetherness that you’d feel in a house show in nowhere illlinois or a coffeeshop in kansas. And if you attended shows in the early to mid 2000s you know the exact vibe that came with these experiences.
Since the demise of myspace, more people gravitated to facebook and started posting their status updates. I remember the format for a status update was ‘your name IS.’ So you had to frame everything in that ‘is’ sentence structure. Bizarre I know. But that was the purpose of social media: to truly keep ‘up’ with your buds in this news feed.
In July 2008, Apple launched the App Store. This was the first time people were able to ‘download’ the Facebook app, their favorite news apps and others to their phone. Isn’t that crazy recent?
A lot has changed since then. Social Media and the consumption of content has turned up to 11. News sites use headlines to get clicks and advertisement revenue. Our attention is the thing everyone wants. Even this blog post. I’m writing it for me, but deep down I hope others will see it and ‘like me.’
I recently listened to the Rich Roll podcast episode from 2019 that featured Cal Newport (author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work) where he re-inspired something in me. The exodus away from social media.
Recently I did a dumb phone challenge and spoke about it on my youtube channel. It culminated in the purchase of The Light Phone II. This is a device that gives just the basic functionality on your smart phone: calls, texts, music, podcasts, directions and a calculator app. No access to a web browsers, e-mail or third-party applications. It has been a breath of fresh air. But as Cal mentioned on the podcast, you can’t just deprive yourself of using a cell phone and do nothing else. You have to do something else otherwise it’s just a crash diet. You have to invest your time and mental space INTO something.
This is where I’m at. I’m going to use my website and YouTube channel to put content and things I want to share out into the world. Otherwise, I’m truly done with social media. I’m going to do a little more thinking and processing on it and then I’m going to completely delete my accounts. I’m typing this as an accountability. (hold me to this.)
If you’d like keep in touch, join the mailing list. I’m going to start curating a monthly blast of things I think might be valuable to other humans. And I’ll share things that I find valuable right here on this blog. Sound good?
This is more for me than it is for you. This is for my sanity.