Social Media Distancing
I’ve been running a short experiment on my personal life. I stopped tweeting for a week. For me, as a person who’s pretty much active on Twitter for the past ~10 years (I even promote it as a place to do quick user research on my latest writing), this is some achievement.
If 2020 teaches me something, it’s that I need to be mindful of every single thing I do because I’ll never know when I can’t do it again. I take “hanging out with a friend over a cup of coffee” for granted and look where we are now, few weeks before the end of the year and I’m longing for that. Heavily.
So, how do I achieve that level of mindfulness? In short, I have to remove all the distraction, in order to focus my attention and complete the task and responsibility in hand.
After being silent on Twitter, with the side effect of opening it less, I realize that I can gain more focus. This enables me to enjoy working on whatever stuff happening in front of me. Cutting back on information coming in, really helps me to put my head on where it matters the most: the immediate responsibility.
I can’t help but noticing that what causes this is the reduction of stimulation that triggers me to impulsively tweet out anything I have in mind, simply because I see this barrage of words coming out from everyone I follow, displayed on my timeline. And I have no bad words for that, it’s just simply how Twitter works. I think this also applies to other source of information as well. Yes, I think that a lot of us will reap benefit from being up to date on whatever domain that matters to us. But at some point, this never ending stream of news, articles, opinions, jokes will become nothing but noise that doesn’t help us moving the needle (whatever that needle points to).
So, what’s next?
Seeing that I’m better off this way, I decide to continue this new habit. I may tweet again, but I’ll try to restrain myself from doing it too often. I may need to just limit it to certain time, maybe during lunch break. My Facebook account is pretty much obsolete now, since I’m pretty much inactive there. The only thing keeping me hanging to that platform is because of several groups that I join that are related to my hobbies (horror movie, West Ham and synthesizer).
However, having said that, I observe an interesting pattern that happens to me. In the same small scale spirit outlined by Paul Jarvis in his excellent book, Company of One, I’m pretty much content with the small scale social media that I utilize on a daily basis. WhatsApp group formed with bunch of good friends from university, and another groups for families, or even to some extent, various recreational Slack channel to discuss non work things with colleagues. Small circle can be a good thing, at least for me.
Maybe I don’t need to be famous on social media after all. All I need is friends that I can count on.