“Social media moderation”

Denise Balkissoon, writing for the Globe and Mail, has been experiencing feelings similar to mine on social media. She makes an effective comparison to food and unhealthy consumption, arguing that self-moderation is the best solution.

…social media is actually more like food than a drug – a broad category of sources with both helpful and harmful possibilities.

Like food, social media can nourish us in the right company. But it can also be addictive – or at least a crutch for our vulnerabilities. Those weaknesses are exacerbated by inequalities of access that leave some people more open to manipulative messages or unhealthy choices.

I think I agree; over the past few weeks, I’ve significantly cut back my social media usage, but haven’t gone cold turkey. I feel better about it, but I also don’t feel disconnected.

Balkisoon’s piece is thoughtful and well worth a read.

The Straw that Broke the Social Media Camel’s Fake Back, or something

“Why’d you start this blog” is always a good blog post to write.

The easy answer is, “I’m a writer, I love to write and I have lots to say.” And that’s true, but there’s a little more to it, and it mainly has to do with Facebook, and social media.

Although I “celebrated” 10 years on Facebook earlier this year, I’ve never been a huge user of the platform. I have a small group of friends and family and check in regularly to see what they post; I don’t follow many “third parties” on there, other sites or personalities or what-have-you. This means my news feed is—other than ads—almost exclusively posts and shares from people I actually know.

I post maybe once a month or so myself; it was definitely more frequent 8-9 years ago.

On the other hand, I am was a fairly heavy Instagram user. I take a lot of photos on my phone and I like to share them. I recently started a second account to share some of the cool comics and geek stuff I have in my library, and that’s been a fun exercise (and the fact that I’ve been able to do it consistently is part of the reason I thought I might be able to make the blogging thing work this time). Both of those accounts are public.

But I haven’t posted on Facebook or either of my Instagram accounts in over three weeks. The ongoing string of “no, Facebook is actually kinda awful” stories seems to have broken me.

I don’t meant to single Facebook out; YouTube is taking crap right now for promoting fake news stories about Las Vegas as well, and I’m sure Snapchat and Twitter and LinkedIn and all the rest are equally awful. People in my age group and above have complained about social media for years and my response has always been, “hey, you’ll only get out of it what you put into it,” meaning if you don’t want to post about what you had for breakfast or read about the latest Kardashian dating crisis, you don’t have to. If you just wanted to connect with a few friends, like I was doing, it could be used for that.

But when these channels start influencing elections and terrorism and put peoples lives at risk, that’s something different. You can’t ignore that, or at least I can’t.

So I’m not sure how much I want to be present on those platforms anymore. I have 30+ photos and about half-dozen a posts written for the geek sanctuary account, just waiting to be posted, but I seem have lost the motivation to do so.

Meanwhile, as a content marketer, I know I can do all of this stuff myself, on a channel I own, without the help of Facebook. Sure, if I really want eyeballs, I should use those channels to promote my content. And of course, it’s a one-way communication channel. I lose the “social aspect” of it.

But then there’s the real question—what am I really losing? Am I really actively engaging with friends and family on social media, or is it just habit, activity for the sake of activity?

I don’t know. I just know it makes me uncomfortable these days.

So I’m gonna try this out for a while, and maybe wean myself off those other channels where I can, and see where I end up.

Thanks for reading.