I hit a breaking point today. I woke up and discovered that I just couldn’t do social media anymore. My gears had ground to a halt. Burnout sneaks up on me, and when it’s time for me to burn a bridge, I douse it in gasoline and incinerate it.
What prompted this swift revelation was watching this lecture by Jaron Lanier on why we should delete our social media accounts, and it resonated with me on a spiritual level.
While watching it, I realized just how much social media takes away from the things I love the most: reading, exercising, bonding with people, connecting one on one with those I love, and doing focused, meaningful work. I use social media very sparingly, and even then I find it a burden. Keeping my social media accounts populated weighs so heavily on my psyche that I finally snapped and just couldn’t handle it anymore. I decided that I could probably be a better creator and person if I didn’t keep feeding this monster that, as Lanier points out, is destroying the world.
I posted across all social media that I was leaving by the end of the week. And then the outcry happened, mostly from long time listeners and supporters. You expressed how much you enjoy my presence on these platforms, and how much you would miss me. Clearly, you all feel like I contribute something to this digital hellscape called Social Media. And that made me pause.
I realized that some of the most meaningful connections I’ve ever made have been over social media. I’ve met some of my dearest friends, and even romantic partners, over social media. I’ve found colleagues and comrades. Whether I like it or not, I have benefitted tremendously from social media.
But am I still able to do good, even within such a corrupt and evil system as social media? I don’t know. I don’t know if I can do long-term good in a system where algorithms favor hate over compassion. But, I’ve decided to delay hitting the delete button, and see if I can have a healthier balance with social media. I don’t know if it will work, but it’s worth a try.
So, this one’s on you, dear friend. You’ve talked me down from the ledge, and from hitting the delete button. I’ve decided I need need to think more about this choice, and weigh more options before I opt out.
However, I have only this to say — please start supporting artists more on their own terfs, and less on those grounds tended by terrifying conglomerates. Please post your comments on creator websites and less on social media, and please support us directly through mailing lists and Patreon. Please subscribe to newsletters and blogs rather than merely following us through social media. This empowers artists, and it empowers me. If you love my work, I need you to shift your support of my work from social media, and more onto the spaces that I provide.
And, in the meantime, I won’t ditch social media altogether. I’ll try to strike a better balance, and think more deeply about my place in the digital sphere.