Killing Social Media

Pine Point Maine: Photo by Dan Steven Erickson

I remember when I signed up for MySpace. I was late to the party and never got much out of it other than listening to some music from lesser-known artists. A few years later, I was also a late arrival to Facebook and it was months before I began to use it on a regular basis. That was 2010. Now it’s 2024, and I’m killing social media.

In 2012, I started writing my first book, A Train Called Forgiveness. I started my first website, the now defunct I’d already written hundreds of songs and poems in my life. That’s when the Internet and social media made their false promises to me.

You just need more social media.

The argument was simple. If you were a writer, musician, artist, or blogger, you just needed more social media. You needed make more friends and post more often. I signed up for every social media that was buzzing at the time: Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram. I tried to manage them all, posting my writing and music frequently. By the time Snapchat and Tik-Tok came on the scene, I signed up, but was becoming overwhelmed and disillusioned by the whole thing.

I’d done what they all told me to do. I built social media. I created newsletters. I networked. Still, my writing and music was only being seen and heard by a relatively small number of people. It began to feel in vain. So, I started getting rid of social media.

I’ve been killing social media for several years.

I started with the fluff, the social media I didn’t use. There were a few along the way that were one-hit wonders. I don’t even remember their names. They came. People signed up. They disappeared. I deleted my accounts. Then I killed accounts on the ones I rarely used like Snapchat and Tik-Tok. I held on to LinkedIn awhile longer, but killed it a couple of years ago. I was down to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That is, unless you consider sites like Medium and BandCamp as social media.

Recently, I pulled the plug on X and Insta. I was barely using either one. They don’t need my information on file. I’m currently down to a single social media: Facebook. And I’ve been considering killing it off for several years.

No regrets so far..

So far, I have no regrets about deleting my social media accounts. I will admit that I left and rejoined Twitter once. But my primary reasoning was because I wanted to gain an audience for my website, writing, and music. I now realize that that’s just not happening. The Internet is a clusterfuck of noise.

The problem with social media is that it steals our time and energy. Instead of reading a book, we spend an hour a day, posting, scrolling, debating. It’s becoming a shit show for discussing politics and religion. It raises stress levels. As for promoting your own work, if you’re lucky enough to get any results with or without spending money on advertising, consider yourself blessed.

I’m going to redirect my energy.

Between constant political and religious debate, news, sponsored posts, advertisements, and ignorance, social media does very little to make my quality of life any better. It’s nice to connect with family and old friends, and occasionally make new friends. But a greater portion of the people who are so-called “friends” on my social media, are really just acquaintances, and/or people I’ve never met in real life.

Facebook has been a place where I’ve witnessed and participated in debate and argumentation that is never really resolved. Everyone has their own partisan and biased views. People shout at their perceived opponents and pat their teammates on the back, but nothing changes. It’s mostly vanity. Pure fucking vanity.

I’m not quite ready to completely pull the plug on Facebook. But I will be thinning my list of friends and limiting the amount of time I spend on the app. Instead, I’ll be focusing on work, creativity, downsizing my material possessions, exercising, and perhaps, enjoying life a bit more. – dse

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