Defining my Internet
A journey to minimizing online clutter
I clicked twitter goodbye in the blink of an eye.
It all started with a recommended video from youtube: Quit social media by Dr. Cal Newport
I’ve been contemplating erasing myself from this addictive miss-informative world as a new years resolution (which I do not believe in and hence I did not committed.) Mainly mainstream social media (except for instagram, where I collect happy things. It is my happy place.) Facebook has been proving a challenge to delete. But in the end the result is the same. I have no desire to keep wishing happy birthday to strangers who long disappeared from my reality. They now belong to a past I treasure. But that is all it is, a memory. Most likely they are not anymore who I knew they were 10 years ago. I probably cross their mind once every 3 years or so. What’s more, most of them probably never were who I think they were to begin with.
As I listened the video, clicking through my own media. Searching for fun news (there were none). New family pictures (none). Funny things (some). Thinking how ironic it was. Here I was listening to a short talk about leaving social media and clicking through facebook. I closed it as soon as he mentioned the second excuse (one I related to).
So here’s the second common objection I hear when I suggest that people with social media, the objection goes as follows: ‘Cal, I can’t quit social media because it is vital to my success in the 21st century economy. If I do not have a well cultivated social media brand, people won’t know who I am, people won’t be able to find me, opportunities won’t come my way and I will effectively disappear from the economy.’
Because he is right. I used to believe this as well. Thinking well, if I had no outside connections, I needed to use the internet. Which in part is true, but it s not everything, it is not essential. Once I wished to be an illustrator, so I used it. I got some assignments with it. Back then, it served it’s purpose. Then I used it it promote my blog on books and join the book community. Only to realize they all did the same and it was much more fun to just interact directly on their blogs which they worked so hard on.
I logged into my twitter account, wrote a quick goodbye which I knew no one would read anyway. As soon as I sent it I clicked on deactivate. An impulse. A pleasurable, liberating act of rebellion. Twitter was easy. I backed up the time when I was active. Nothing else after really mattered.
Facebook is a bit more complicated. I wish to delete it but I know it is pointless. I will only use it for now to promote what I write here to my friends and family. (Until they all probably have the link saved and the rest really don’t matter.) I also use it to look at what my family does, though that is not much. Ever since we have the advantage of message groups on our phones, where we share with each other directly pictures and videos, I see no need for facebook. I see no purpose for it in my life. For now I will leave it running, though I do not believe it will be for long.
As for instagram, as I said before, it is my happy place. As a visual person, I love collecting memories, as small as they can be of those tiny things that make me simply happy. That is the theme of it, #simplyHappy. I seldom post selfies. I think my limit is 3 per year. Just to record my growth and change and probably as a self-conscious affirmation that I still glow in happy thoughts. But mainly I collect memories and small things like a beautiful leaf, of the bright flower I saw on the way to work. Or my favorite, when the sky is alive with a million colors.
My goal in the end is to rely on 2 places, one for words and one for pictures. So it is not that I am leaving social media, but I am trying to give it a focus on what really matters to me. Abandoning in turn misinformation, propaganda, promotional things which do not matter to me, and anything along those lines which toxifies my daily life.
That is actually it, I am in a journey to minimize and purify my internet life.