Last week I’ve scrubbed both my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I didn’t really use my Facebook account to start with as it never felt as authentic as Twitter. Ever since the downright crazy Ukraine referendum in the Netherlands, the Brexit referendum in the UK, and the equally nutty US elections however, my enjoyment of Twitter has taken a nosedive as well. Everyone was shouting.
I already experienced a miniature version of this months before 2016’s craziness in the form of Gamergate. Being heavily involved in video games and video game culture meant the shouting was already annoying. But in 2016 everything turned sour. Enjoying shared messages has turned impossible. Everything is now polarised to the point that preferring a certain character in a comic series can suddenly open you up to heavy discussion about your political stance, or preferring a certain version of a video game will brand you for life.
Not to say I don’t like a good discussion (I’ll happily discuss the differences of the Metroid and Zelda series over some nice Scotch), but it’s simply impossible to have one online without it degenerating into some kind of instant minefield. Everything is fine, then it turns to snark, then to discussion, then to anger, then to shouting. Shouting that is added to the stream and presto, your timeline is suddenly a lot of angry words.
And I’m tired of it.
Not only because I don’t want to have the same discussions over and over and over again, but mostly because it’s costing me a lot of time and drains my energy. Scrolling through an angry timeline is mind-numbingly depressing. And you keep scrolling in the hope to find something, anything, that’ll bright up your experience. And it’s followed by anger in the one case you may find something positive.
“Change who you follow,” was the advice, but in the end I kind of realised that even if you do that and change the feed, it’s still mind-numbing time-wasting to swallow more soma. With that in mind I scrubbed both accounts (keeping the usernames, in case someone else wants to abuse them). If you want to scrub clean your own Twitter-account, I can recommend Twitter Archive Eraser. It only works in deleting all your tweets, retweets and such by feeding it your back-up archive, so you don’t have to lose anything. Facebook was more tiresome, in manually deleting stuff. Luckily there wasn’t much to start with.
Oh and before you cry hypocrite, I still use social media, but only for work purposes: maintaining accounts that need a social presence. For me personally, it’s done. It’s been a fun experiment in the beginning, but like any drug, it’s just an addiction in the end that keeps you from doing the things you love. Like writing.
So here’s to writing more great words instead of reading more angry ones.