I didn't take Facebook off for Lent. In fact, I've never engaged in a "Social Media Fast" of any kind, because I don't like fasting. Well, perhaps I should say I've never Social Fasted until today, that is. Only I'm not fasting. I'm going "Cold Turkey." I'm out; I'm off.
Interestingly, this has nothing to do with the latest hand-wringing/outrage about Facebook. And it's not even particularly tied to the many, well-publicized weaknesses the social media medium has always offered (though honesty compels me to admit that I'm finally starting to grow weary of the endless, unproductive, and largely juvenile bickering).
No, this isn't about you; it's about me. The job is keeping me busy—increasingly so. And I find that I simply do not have the energy (or the brain-power) that I once had. Plus, I'm more distractible now than ever before, and when you factor that into the "job's bigger" and the "energy's less" equation, you can see why adding the socials into the mix might prove toxic.
"Cold Turkey's" not quite the right term, though. I'm only planning to go "Cold Facebook-and-Twitter Turkey," since those are the ones that seem to impact my time (and peace of mind) the most. I'm still going to be posting on Instagram (because pictures are my favorite things), on Letterboxd (because movies are also my favorite things), and on my "Summa This, Summa That" blog and various other website sections (because "hearing/watching" myself talk/type is my most favorite thing of all). I've also got a couple of longer, larger projects that I've been working on and that I plan to put on the site at some point, so I'm not leaving the InterWebs entirely (just in case anyone was starting to panic).
To be honest, I'm not even going "Cold Turkey" when it comes to Twitter and Facebook. I'm "shutting down/stepping away" by uninstalling my apps and bookmarks and the like, rather than deleting the accounts entirely. Because "Never Say Never," right? And because I've got some friendships that rely on Facebook Messenger, and I'm unwilling to give those up. There's even a legitimate work reason or two for keeping the accounts quiet and ormant rather than tearing them down altogether. So I'll still get notifications and such, and can hop back on (and in) easily enough, should something urgent or particularly fascinating arise.
What does this all mean, practically? Mostly, that it'll be a whole lot quieter around my Facebook account. And around my Twitter account. And I doubt anyone will miss me.
Just in case someone thinks they will miss me, though, I would recommend two things: First, seek medical advice immediately; anything other than complete indifference to my online presence would suggest some physical or psychological imbalance. And second, sign up for my weekly email newsletter, which will begin shortly (or just drop me a line directly). Because while I realize that I don't have the time (or enthusiasm) for the socials, I realize that I'm unwilling to cut myself off entirely from the people that populate them. My favorite part of social media has always been the opportunity to share links to things that I love, that I find interesting (or just plain weird), and that other people might enjoy, and to engage in conversations about those things. So I'm going to try and have my cake while eating it by rounding up the usual suspects via email, and sending them regular recommendations, reflections, and random musings. (Mostly that last one, I suspect.)
Which means that I'm not gone. Not entirely. At least not if you're foolish enough to sign up for my newsletter (which you can do below, he says, furtively):