Social Media Downsizing

by Sunita

As advertised, I’ve deactivated my main Twitter account. I kept it for the year I was off Twitter because the other two times I killed my accounts someone immediately grabbed the username. But Twitter will have to become something entirely different for me to return, and since that is unlikely it doesn’t matter to me if @ProfNita is swept up into Botland.

I’ve also deleted my Goodreads account. Longtime readers and friends know about my love-hate with Goodreads and my hesitance about going back. It’s been a much better experience this time and I’ve enjoyed a lot of my interactions. But as usual, I have negative visceral reactions when Someone Is Wrong on the Internet, and it sucks up my time and energy to fight my inevitable desire to correct them. It’s a stupid trait but not one I’ve been able to eradicate. I love talking to people about books, but the people I most want to talk to aren’t the only ones I wind up interacting with or paying attention to.

Thanks to Laura Vivanco I just read a post by Meljean Brook that describes my condition exactly, because it’s apparently her condition as well:

Twitter has a constant stream of info coming at you from people who really do have a lot of interesting and important things to say. But I wasn’t doing a good job of prioritizing my own mental health and needs.

(And ha, this was explicitly demonstrated to be the right move, because I deleted my Twitter right before the plagiarism/ghostwriting scandal erupted, and although I of course followed it…not having a Twitter account that is connected to so much of romancelandia made it all much easier check in on the few people I still follow, then go. So I was informed but not obsessively checking, and it made a huge difference.)

I have done this exact same thing with Twitter (especially before the recent Horrible Redesign) and I do it with GR too. There are key public groups whose discussions I can compulsively read and with which I am mentally arguing on a too-regular basis, and I don’t seem to be able to stop. They’re not as bad for my well-being as rabbit holes and kerfuffles of the past, but they’re not good either and they distract me from producing rather than consuming. I’m so much better than I was, but I’m still not where I want to be.

I’m not giving up social sites completely. I lurk on Reddit, which is mostly harmless because I have no emotional investment in r/ukhiking or r/onebag or r/literature or any of the other subreddits I follow. I just read them, enjoy the amusing or informative posts, and go on my way. I’m also keeping my account at LibraryThing, because it’s a great book cataloguing site and it’s essentially the non-social bookternet, at least for me. Oh, and I do have a long-standing account at Ravelry, but I only use it when I’m knitting regularly and I stay away from the boards.

The only social media site I’m continuing to participate in actively is Mastodon. I’ve been on there since April 2017 and I come and go without getting too obsessed with it. It has become more fun in the last few months because Willaful spearheaded the creation of a new instance for romanceland people. It is very relaxed and friendly and I am going to be able to see and talk to longtime online friends without having to navigate all the other crap. I’m on the main instance, but people from different instances can follow each other so it doesn’t matter that much where you are unless you want to read a particular instance’s full feed. And you can be on more than one instance (here’s a good introduction to Mastodon if you aren’t familiar with it).

And of course I’ll keep blogging. I’ll update my TBR challenges here (I was doing two at Godreads) and I’ll post reviews, links, etc. as I’ve been doing. I like the writing and the interactions, and knowing the lurkers support me in email. 😉 Blogs may never fully come back, but it’s good to know they haven’t fully gone away, either.