Wake me up when November comes
I unsubscribed from my last remaining Tiny Letter this weekend and purged a few more RSS feeds. The Tiny Letter confirmation email asked if I would tell them why I unsubscribed. I like them, they’re not a company or overtly building a brand, so I answered.
Nothing personal, you are all fun to read. But I’m trying to cut back on my meta-reading, i.e., reading about people reading, and just read the things. Hope that makes sense.
I still follow quite a few individual blogs and get two newsletters, but I’m down to one large/corporate feed (I can’t possibly give up the Guardian Football RSS feed). I’m reading The New Yorker every week but ignoring the many blog posts it generates between issues. I’m seriously considering subscribing to a print newspaper again.
I also cancelled my Audible subscription. I have hundreds, probably more than a thousand, hours of audiobooks in my TBR and even one credit a month was more than I needed. They offered me the $9.95/yr plan where you continue to get the deals and discounts, but I haven’t bought anything because of an email blast in over a year.
Why the sudden purges? Partly because I do this every spring. When the semester ends we get ready to drive to the west coast, and we spring clean and organize in preparation for that. But it’s also a feeling that I spend way too much time finding virtual distractions rather than thinking, writing, working, knitting, and engaging with the physical world around me. Yes, I know that the online world is real and the people in it are real (and I have real relationships with quite a few of them). But TV is real too, and I don’t spend hours a day watching it.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ll make it to November without completely losing my shit if I don’t cut off at least some of the outrage machine. That histrionic, idiotic “This is how fascism comes to America” op-ed has been RT’d into my Twitter feed at least two dozen times. Why does anyone take seriously an “expert” who has been dead wrong on every major and minor foreign policy decision since 2001? Why? Because we love the drama associated with apocalyptic doomsayers, whether we think they’re on point or not? Even the professional political analysts are engaging in outrage escalation and slap fights these days (they’ve always done that but at least before it happened in private or semi-public circles).
I thought that not having cable TV and avoiding the major political websites would keep me from reading most of the stupidity, but it’s all on Twitter, RT’d even by the sensible people. Combine that with the endless promo and the almost as endless kerfuffle-of-the-moment and the wheat becomes harder and harder to separate from the chaff.
I know that’s not true for everyone; lots of people enjoy their social media interactions, their many apps, and whatever their chosen methods of distraction are. But I just want to read and write at this point. And talk to people about things other than “did you see what s/he said/wrote?” and “How Dare U?” and “OMG how awful is our world?”
I thought about de-activating my Twitter account, and I may still do that, but for now I’ve posted my first pinned Tweet telling people I’m on hiatus and not responding to mentions or DMs in a timely fashion.
I still plan to blog, and if anyone wants to chat, I’m always available via email (if you don’t already have it, you can find my email on the “about” page linked to the left).
P.S. If you want to know whether or not Fascism is coming to America, this is the article you should be reading.
The outrage machine is definitely in high gear these days. I’m hoping three weeks in the UK, with a lot less internet time, will be the break I need. Hopefully we will get to engage face to face while you’re out west!
Definitely! I am really looking forward to it, it’s been way too long.
I love this post. Have to run right now but will be back later. Much, much love to you! I love what you’re going here!
Thank you! And take your time. We are all about the slow Internet here. 🙂
In your new spare time you can read up on the zillions of articles here in Canada on Elbowgate!
Or, you know, not.
I know what you’re referring to, thanks to twitter. 🙂
My social media break this past winter was one of the best things I’ve done for myself. It gave me time to think, and yes, not get caught up in the outrage machine. I hope you have a lovely summer!
Thank you! And we really appreciated you checking in on Twitter during your break.
Time to think is what I’m missing the most. Smartphones let us fill every moment with mental noise, and it’s hard to break that habit.
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Hope the hiatus brings some balance to your life. I’m one of them who needs the social media interaction given the current situation in my life. To each their own. While we’re sometimes ships passing in the night, we still have ports we gather at to meet occasionally. That we do so with humor and tolerance and grace and friendship is a great gift.
The political stuff is a nightmare that I cannot avoid reading on Twitter or Facebook because it gets RT’d into it, but I can at least avoid adding to. However, we all have our causes. Alfred the Great’s greatness is one today for me. 🙂
You and I will always have your blog, my blog, and email. Have a great summer!
I’ve often wondered why I have no trouble resisting Facebook but can’t keep away from Twitter. I think it’s because for me the sense of being in a room full of friends and friendly acquaintances has been so strong and rewarding. But with fewer conversations and more yelling and advertising and retweeting of specious stories and terrible memes, the distance between the two platforms is shrinking. And the new changes to Twitter will probably exacerbate the things I don’t like about it. Ah well.
Also, everything else aside, I just don’t think as well when I use internet surfing as a procrastination tool.
this: I just don’t think as well when I use internet surfing as a procrastination tool.
add me to this list!
I am definitely one of those who re-charges on my own sans opinions, conversations, and hang-outs.
Some of the online energy comes off as unnecessary drama to me, and that just leaves me feeling drained and exhausted. I feel like I start losing something essential if I am continuously plugged-in.
This isn’t how it works for EVERYONE, and I can completely understand someone else finding these conversations refreshing, and re-energizing. But for me, I need regular doses of turning the what-comes-across-as-noise-to-me off to be able to make any worthwhile contributions in the long run.
I also love what you say right at the start. It’s very easy for me to get sucked into the conversations about things rather than experiencing the actual thing myself, and that leaves me feeling less than? Not sure, just that more and more I am coming to NOT want to read about everyone else’s experience at the start—I’d rather read/listen/whatever on my own first, and then see how others relate to it.
Again, there are probably lots of other folks who don’t let others’ opinion of a thing influence their experience of it, but for me, it’s just easier to tune out that conversation at the start. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but as of now, I find myself gravitating towards this approach.
Anyway, just that this post really spoke to me. 🙂
I’m very glad, thank you! And yes, it really is idiosyncratic, the way social media does or doesn’t work for people. And also where you are at any given time. It was great for me a while back but now it’s more of a hindrance.
I do think we’ve become much more likely to talk about things rather than directly engage with them, and I can’t believe that’s good for many people.
Good for you! Re-charge those batteries, set priorities and enjoy your life. Enjoy the moments in life. Even on Twitter but only in moderation. *g*
Exactly! Moderation in all things works better for me most of the time. 🙂
But it’s also a feeling that I spend way too much time finding virtual distractions rather than thinking, writing, working, knitting, and engaging with the physical world around me.
I feel this way also! Lovely post, Sunita 🙂
Thank you! As Keira notes, social media has important positive benefits for some people, but it’s worth doing a mental check every once in a while to see whether that’s still true for you.