I think I finally reached my breaking point.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with social media since… well, since I started using social media. I’ve had my moments when I’ve shut it off for one reason or another–sometimes because I needed something different, sometimes because the shouting was just too much to bear–but I think I’ve finally hit the tipping point where I can see nothing useful that comes from having a social media presence.
I am dismayed and saddened by what social media has done to us as a culture and a nation. I refuse to be part of it any more than I absolutely must from here on out. I resent that we no longer decide what to believe based on who has the best argument, but on who shouts the loudest or who has the best meme.
This is not a left thing or a right thing. Both sides do it. I have just as many Soros conspiracy theories in my feed as I do Trump conspiracy theories, just as many rabid pro-gun arguments as rabid anti-gun arguments. Everyone is so busy shouting that they can’t even read the other side with clarity or an open mind. No one sees other people as people anymore. We just see each other as arguments and opponents.
This is also not just a political thing. I am tired of being hawked at constantly. I’m tired of being proselytized. I can’t go a day on Facebook without someone trying to sell me something or preach the value of the latest crunchy trend or whatever. I get that we have to promote our stuff and that we get excited about the latest thing, and it’s not that I have any one particular friend who over-promotes–it’s just the aggregate of constant promotion that overwhelms me.
This has been coming for a long time. I’m afraid to even “like” things on Facebook anymore, because God forbid one of my progressive friends see me “like” a story from a conservative site and call me out on it. I’m afraid of even putting one toe over the line. I’ve effectively left Twitter–I haven’t been there in months and months. Twitter is the worst of the worst, which makes me sad, because I used to like it. Now it’s just a lot of screaming and hashtags.
And honestly, I waste too much time on social media, and it’s affecting my writing and my work in unhealthy ways. I drafted a long response to someone about something controversial, and at some point, I realized that everything was flowing in coherent, cogent thoughts and arguments, and I thought, “why can’t I do this with my book?” I have to start putting that kind of time and effort into my work–both client work and personal projects. The words are there, and if I start calling them, they will show up. They can’t cut through the noise, though. I have to shut off the firehose of inanity that comes from social media.
The biggest presence I have is on Facebook, and I have two pages there–one for the fiction, one for business. I’ll maintain those, but I’m not going to post or interact from my personal timeline anymore. I can’t say I won’t go on Facebook at all–there are family pictures on there, after all–but I just have to savagely curtail the way I use it. I have to shut off the firehose and fill in the sinkholes of stupidity that Facebook creates in my brain. I have no plans to go back to Twitter. I hardly touch Instagram. I still pin things on Pinterest, but there’s really no significant interaction with other people there, and I have a lot of recipes there…
I think one of the struggles I have–and I don’t know if this is an introvert thing or an Amy thing or a writer thing or what–is that too much noise from the outside suffocates the noise inside. I have so much noise coming in from external sources all the time–sometimes literal, sometimes metaphorical–that I think I just have to start cutting off the sources. I need to give my brain and my muse space to breathe. Muses need oxygen to inspire stories.
I keep going back to the fitness progress I’ve made in the last year. At first, I had to talk myself into it every day. Now it’s a habit (not that I don’t have my days where it takes a while to get to the weight bench or treadmill…). But in order to get to habit, I had to set myself up for success. I had to lay out the workout clothes, make a plan for each day, clear the physical and mental space, and tell myself to go do it. I’ve got to give myself the same chance with my work. I need to start setting myself up for success, and removing my voice from social media is the first step. I contribute nothing that makes any difference there. No one cares what I have to say, and I’m not going to change any minds. Maybe I should focus my efforts where they have a better chance of making a difference–or at least where I enjoy them more.
So there we have it. This is me giving my Muse the breathing space she needs to start creating again. Maybe now I can go back to arguing with Connor and Igraine and stop wasting my breath on Facebook…