Constraining social media use

2021-01-29

in Daily updates, Geek stuff, Psychology

Alie Ward’s Ologies postcast about gratitude was a reminder of the benefits of in-person activities and the problems which arise from the incentives of social media firms. Like casinos that profit mostly from people mindlessly putting money into slot machines, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are just designed to keep people on and coming back, no matter whether they become misinformed through the process. In response, I changed my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram passwords on December 14th and put them on a card at home to look up if I ever specifically decided to check these platforms. I’ve done so a couple of times since and had the strong impression that I haven’t missed anything.

One reason for using these platforms less is how ongoing social media monitoring is dragging out the completion of my dissertation, since there are always developments and new news on divestment. It’s better to get the thing published than to keep dragging it out with new information, so I am no longer actively monitoring social media.

Secondly, during the time surrounding America’s disastrous election (still a disaster, even though Trump lost) I realized that I don’t need endless amateur commentary on what is going on, and that getting it is needlessly emotionally provocative.

I took Twitter off my phone in 2017 but this is much more complete. In particular, it helps break a cycle of checking social media out of habit, seeing links to outside resources, and then getting caught up with reading them before returning to social media.

I am trying to read more books now, and to hike outside.

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