Friday, August 12, 2022

Time of Death by Jenn McKinlay

 Recently, I went through a breakup. It was a standard "it's not you, it's me" situation where I felt that I was becoming someone I didn't want to be and so it was time for me to end it. Before you panic, it's not me and the Hub. He's awesome, we're awesome, we're absolutely enjoying the empty nest chapter of our lives together. 

No the breakup was between me and Twitter. I'd originally joined in 2009 and just had my FB posts repost over there and I literally never ever went on the platform, much like 80% of the population. But then I demolished my FB to make a professional page, and I started to use Twitter and Instagram more regularly. Little did I know how cranky it would make me. Don't get me wrong, there are some spectacularly funny posts on Twitter, which was mostly why I stayed but it's also a real platform of divisiveness and yelling into the void. 



So, I woke up one Saturday, opened up the little bird app, saw all the ranting and raving and performative outrage, and thought Nah.  Then I declared the time of death on my relationship with Twitter and deactivated my account. I didn't plan it. I didn't overthink it. I just tapped out. 

I'd like to say it was like a miracle and I was suddenly more productive and everything was sunshine and buttercups. It wasn't because you can't escape the news. BUT I found my anxiety dropped significantly and the time I normally would have spent doom scrolling, I used to do the projects I'd been putting off like replanting the small forest of draceana I've been growing in front of the arcadia doors (three plants have morphed into eight) and painting the spare bedroom. Yes, technically, I'm still choosing the color but I'm getting there!

Of course, now we have the rise of Snapchat and Tik Tok to contend with and I'm just going to lead with...no, just no! I love my family, friends, and readers, I do, but honestly, I do not want to be connected to everyone 24/7. It's exhausting!

I genuinely believe that there are two commodities that the world will suck right out of you if you let it--your privacy and your time--and I am determined to "reclaim my time" and maintain my privacy because, really, why would I just give it away in a toxic space that does nothing for me except give me the occasional laugh? 

How about you, Reds and Readers, what social media platforms have you had to break up with? How do you manage your time on social media? What do you think the future of all this connectivity is?

70 comments:

  1. I’m not at all surprised that you abandoned Twitter, Jenn. Social media is great when someone in the family posts a new picture or shares some news; the instantaneous “keeping in touch” is a bona fide “plus” . . . but that’s about all I can say about it that’s positive. Mostly I never visit Twitter or Instagram; I pop over to Facebook when I get an email notification that someone in the family posted something or when Hank is doing First Chapter Fun or when I think to check on the Facebook page of one of the Jungle Red ladies. But I don’t want to be drawn into all that divisiveness, so mostly I simply stay away . . . .

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    1. Weirdly, I haven't missed it. I really thought I would the funny posts...but nope.

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  2. JENN: I get it about the need to quit Twitter and other social media accounts. I don't have a Twitter account but occasionally look at a tweet that a FB friend provides a link for to see what all the fuss is about. My Instagram account is also rarely used. FB is what I mainly use and when the posts I see get too toxic, I take a social media break for a few weeks (or months). I did this in 2020 and 2021 but not this yet this year.

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    1. I just find it all exhausting and I feel like it's dumbing down the world. I adore the Hooligans, as everyone knows, but I've noticed that they and their friends have an attention span of a nanosecond. Focus, people! LOL.

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  3. I hear you! Despite hearing all about BookTok (and even attending a SINC-NE workshop on it last summer), I can't figure it out and I don't want to. Instagram? My assistant posts to that for me. I only venture over there occasionally. I love Facebook and have built both a fan base and a personal base. Yes, the overlords keep yanking our chains, but I'm comfortable there.

    And then there's twitter. I mostly retweet authors, blogs, SINC, and a few political things. When I do idly scroll through in the morning, I sometimes read a snippet of news that I hadn't heard yet, and then I go check it out. But that's it. I'm glad you've claimed your time and privacy!

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    1. I just thought my job was to write books not make awkward videos. LOL.

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  4. Jenn, I just use Facebook and Twitter so I haven't broken up with either of them. And since I don't use any other social media, I'm good with it.

    I manage my time on the two platforms by sticking pretty much to the stuff I'm interested in. Although the hilarity of the responses to stupid statements by politicians does make for an amusing sideline at times.

    Also, since I generally don't pretend to care about stuff that I don't actually care about, it gets me through the cesspool of stupidity much quicker when I do log in.

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  5. No break up for me as I’ve never been on a social media . With the echoes I have, their future will be without me.
    Danielle

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  6. Jenn, congratulations on your new relationship status! I have only subscribed to Facebook. That is enough. I see many of my cousins and my friends from the national women's org that I volunteered for on that platform. Although it's really easy to keep in touch with Facebook, it is not a truly meaningful way. Real contact takes effort.

    As far as the "noise" is concerned, I pry myself away from too much. I don't click on reels anymore, even when they look tempting. I don't buy anything through their links nor make contributions to birthday fundraisers through their links. They know too much about me already.

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    1. REELS! One minute you're looking at a recipe and the next you're learning to talk to a lama. Ack! LOL.

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  7. Good for you, Jenn. I've done the same thing with Instagram. It's mostly just snapshots, and many of them are duplicated on Facebook, but it's harder to filter out the incredibly time-wasting mass of ads there. Facebook is bad enough, but there are more ways to trim the feed so it isn't so overwhelming.

    I've been connecting online for a long time, since 1989, and I don't think it's going away any time soon. More than half the people on the planet at least have Facebook accounts, and there's a lot of stickiness there. It's kind of remarkable how enduring that platform is, considering how many others have fallen by the wayside: BBS, IRC, Usenet, zillions of message boards and comment sections that are no longer around, chat rooms, MySpace, LiveJournal, and several shorlived alternatives to Facebook. Even Snapchat isn't how it started, and LinkedIn? Is that even still relevant?

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    1. Karen, my employer has a big LinkedIn presence, but I lost my password so long ago it isn't funny and I never bothered to reset it.

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    2. It is amazing that FB endures. I think it's because we all learned it and no one wants to repeat the learning curve again. LOL.

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  8. Twitter and I obtained a "separation" years ago. I think it was about the 2016 election. It got so angry and toxic, even in accounts for writing professionals, that I just said "good bye" and didn't look back. I don't miss it. I still have an account, but aside from the summary emails I receive, I have no idea what's going on over there. And I don't want to.

    I backed way off Facebook about six months into the pandemic. Same reason. Reading posts, even from people I liked, was making me unhealthy. Now, I have a few accounts I check in with daily, like saying hello to Dru Ann Love and my daily sprint group, I set up and respond to stuff on my author page, then I'm out. Folks ask me, "Did you see that post on Facebook...?" And I have to say no, because I don't scroll my feed any longer. And I never fell for Facebook Messenger. People who need to reach me have my phone number for a text, thanks.

    I will not do Snapchat or TikTok.

    I cut back on my Instagram scrolling as wel, although at least nothing over there has raised my blood pressure. Hard to be stressed when you're looking at pictures of greyhounds. Although I hear Insta wants to go more "video-heavy" and just...no.

    Has this made me more productive? I doubt it. But my blood pressure is low and I don't have an ulcer. So there's that.

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    1. Instagram does seem to be the most benevolent presence but also a lot of fluff.

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  9. Good for you, Jenn. I think everyone would be a lot better off if we all did this. Spread the word and start a trend!
    I really don't like any of them and seldom post on any of them, but I will browse FB, mostly following authors I love. I have found some long-lost friends there, so that's good. I don't "get" Instagram so I hardly ever look at anything there. Often my email tells me that someone has posted on Twitter so i will check it out. Not long ago I was wishing for another day without power. Not in the winter, though. It would be so peaceful.

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    1. The day all of the platforms went down was pretty awesome and very telling!

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  10. Good for you. I have never been a tweeter and don't want to be, for the reasons you cite. Social media culture has become very toxic. I hate cancel culture and piling on. I have political views that are very strong, but does someone really deserve to be fired from their job for a public mistake? Ugh. From what I can see, there's not much mercy or forgiveness on Twitter.

    Facebook is different and can be a big time-suck for me. In February, I got hacked and tried to report it to FB. They suggested that I take a picture of myself holding my ID and send it to them. I did that 3 or 4 times and each time got an auto reply saying that it didn't correspond to the information they had. I got frustrated and deactivated my account and decided to stay off til after Easter. I enjoyed my time away but also was glad to be back and to reconnect with my friends and former co-workers. Years ago, I learned that there's no use arguing about politics on FB. People can be mean there too. If I post something and it looks like it's turning into a controversial discussion, I take the post down. I don't think I am going to change anyone's thinking on FB. Mostly I post pictures of my hikes, the red-tailed hawk family at the golf course, flowers, and some of the meditations from Bishop Steven Charleston.

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  11. Oh, I hear you, Jenn. I carefully curate what interact with on Twitter - I mostly follow friends and fellow writers, and I've been known to liberally use the mute button for certain words when things start to get heated (which is every other day.) What I've given up for my mental health? Reading the news. Considering the number of subscriptions I have, it's not a financially sound decision, but I am a junkie when it comes to print media, and it is so not good for me. I'm not listening to the news on my beloved NPR, either! The really important stuff gets through (usually my very politically aware kids share in the family text chat) and I'm free to focus on my real life, which is going along quite nicely!

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    1. Hub was a reporter for many years so breaking away from print media was brutal for us but necessary.

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  12. Jenn, I broke it off with Facebook years ago when I discovered it made me terribly depressed. Felt instantly better. I am very particular about what accounts I follow on Instagram, mostly close family and cute animal accounts. Also, setting a timer on the amount of time in social media can help control doom scrolling.

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    1. It can be depressing, can't it? I don't use my personal page at all just my professional one which is essentially useless because of so many bots. I do have a dedicated reader group McKinlay's Mavens - you have to be vetted to join so that a little slice of nice.

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  13. Good for you, Jenn! I'm another who uses only Facebook. I had a Twitter account for a short time but never enjoyed it. I'm probably on Facebook for life, because in spite of its many negatives, it has allowed me to get back in contact with childhood friends and maintain somewhat regular contact with extended family, former co-workers and neighbors, and other miscellaneous people in my life.

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    1. I hate missing family stuff, so yup, probably a lifer although I only lurk :)

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  14. Hmm. I have had a twitter account for about 15 years or maybe more, since its inception. I don't know that I've ever posted on it. I early on described it as a "Now I'm picking my nose" medium (other media seem to have followed suit; NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR WORDLE SCORE). As a rule, I don't read anything on it.

    I only keep it because sometimes magazine editors post what they're looking for on Twitter. I guess that's a passive use. I think it's okay for that. That's pretty much the way I use LinkedIn too, so no addiction there.

    Now if I could only figure out how to divorce Facebook....

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    1. ROTFL - never heard the now I'm picking my nose analogy - SO TRUE!!!

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  17. Blogger is acting weird this morning.

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  18. I am probably one of the few people in the world that isn't on FaceBook or any other social platform. Although my brother doesn't even have email.His theory is who ever wants to talk to him knows his phone number. The multiple platforms always seem toxic so have stayed away. I teach 8th grade math, that is "toxic" enough for me.

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    1. Oy, 8th grade is a wild ride. Thank you for wading into the trenches every day!

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  19. Rhys here: Facebook author page. Reposted on Instagram. But not delving into Tik Tok! But I read several newspapers every morning

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  20. Rarely, rarely, rarely on Twitter - I do send blog posts there, and will occasionally post some pix, but I refuse to get caught up. In truth, I never "got" Twitter. It moves too fast. I ration my FB time and although I scroll Instagram, I'm not that active. I admire people who successfully traverse the various social media platforms, but I'm not one and I'm fine with that.

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    1. It's the not getting sucked in that's the key!

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  21. FB is my only social media. Was on Instagram for awhile, and found myself engaging in stupid things and managed only to raise my anxiety levels. Then I started to get some really disturbing images, so I quit that. I read some on-line newspapers though and get some newsletters through email, so I suppose that counts.

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    1. Yes, the anxiety making is a real thing. I find it all very stressful.

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  22. Jenn, I think that was a really smart decision. Pretty much the only thing I do on Twitter is follow a couple of British writers who post interesting stuff about what they're working on (Ben Aaronovitch, mainly) and I do look at the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade. No politics, and I have my personal FB account adjusted so that I don't see politics of either stripe. No ads, either, as we use an ad blocker. I like keeping up with my writer friends but that's about it. Instagram I use mostly for fun--books and London and fountain pens, etc.

    So my big problem is reading too much news, and I'm seriously considering going Julia's route.

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    1. Thank you. That is a very good idea about staying out of politics although I have blocked the deplorable horrid pieces of crappy whatever. I cannot say people because they behave so uncivilized. LOL. I am going to add Ben Aaronovitch and the police / fire brigade to my twitter. I mainly follow authors too.

      Diana

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    2. I'm too much of a junkie to give up the news but I can definitely buffer it.

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  23. A blast from the past: my daughter told me her Uber driver was listening to Delilah on the radio! Yes, Delilah is still dishing advice and playing songs on air. I tolerate FB and IG and occasionally stick my nose into twitter...but Delilah is definitely worth pursuing. So interesting that she's not on social media.

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  25. Facebook for friends and family and some authors. I have a twitter account, never use it. I do occasionally check in on twitter for a couple of people I know--one is a musician, one posts his research there. No Instagram, no Snapchat; LinkedIn until I retired. Tiktok occasionally to check in on youngest nephew's musical postings.

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    1. Twitter became my downfall when I started following a police precinct in London that was so droll with their posts - seriously, hilarious - but not worth making myself crazy.

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  26. JENN: What a timely post! I have been thinking about this issue. I was invited to join TikTok. NO THANKS! I have heard about privacy issues over at Tik Tok.

    Growing up Deaf, I felt that I NEVER had privacy. At times, I actually felt like I was living in a goldfish bowl. Yes, I use Twitter and I rarely write on Twiitter, though most of the Twitter accounts that I follow are tweets from many authors like Charles Finch, who always has something interesting to say and tweets from the baby brother of Princess Diana about Althorp.

    For my background research for my novel in progress, I use Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. It's really hard for me to "break up" with social media. For me, Instagram is a way for me to stay in touch with family and friends. I also have a bookish account on IG where I can talk about books and get new updates from authors like you about your new books. Since the aftermath of the 2016 elections, I set my Facebook to private because I wanted to continue to stay in touch with family and friends on FB and my FB wall is private. I cannot use the Messenger on FB so a thousand apologies to authors here if anyone tried to contact me via FB messenger.

    For me, it is a matter of balance. My first boyfriend is NOT on social media. I met him when I was 12 and he was 14. This was many years before he knew that he was gay. Now he is happily married to his husband. And yes, he is on social media. My Mom is NOT on social media. I know many people who are NOT on social media. Luckily, we have text messaging so we can "call" each other.

    Happy Friday!
    Diana

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    1. I have a SIL who has never been on social media and she said it was because she knew it would make her miserable. This is a very smart, very wealthy woman who knew better than to fall into the comparing herself to others game. Smart!

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  27. Facebook is the only social media I check in on. I rarely post anything personal. Mostly I repost interesting history tidbits and cartoons. Somehow I have an Instagram account which I never post on and rarely check. I really should get rid of it. And that's it.

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    1. I think having one platform is ideal. I justhave decided if it's FG or Insta yet :)

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  28. Such a timely post, Jenn. I confess, I do love Facebook. I get to keep tabs on friends far and wide, and check in on my kids, share silliness. It was wonderful after Jerry died to have a way of sharing and hearing back from friends with memories. I like that I can control who I see and who sees me. I've tried, but never gotten into any of other social media sites. (And I always thought I'd hate messaging but I live for it... go figure) What I can't abide right now are all the political ads that come blaring at you from the Internet, unbidden. I'm making a long list of who NOT to vote for.

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    1. Yup, there is just no escaping politics...sigh.

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  29. I haven't broken up with any social media...yet. But I think about it every so often.

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  30. The only thing I really ever did with Twitter was post my book reviews there, and that was usually by an automatic post from Goodreads. I didn't even have to go to Twitter to post them. Occasionally, someone would post something on FaceBook referencing a Twitter tweet that would get my attention, but I simply read what was posted on FB and, again, I didn't have to go to Twitter. Well, I'm not sure what happened, but one day not too long ago, I did actually go to Twitter, but when I went to sign in, it said they couldn't find my account. I've tried a few times since, and it always comes up that I don't have an account. I have no idea what happened, but I haven't tried to set up a new account. It's hard to miss what you didn't use.

    Now, FaceBook is a different story. I do spend too much time there, but I have started to pull back some. As a result, I'm getting more reading done, which is great. I can't help but think that less FB is good for me. In fact, over the past couple of years I've had some bouts of bad anxiety, and one of the suggestions my doctor had was for me to get off social media. Now, I can't see myself parting ways with FB, because I post my book reviews from my blog there and I keep in touch with family and all my book friends and my hometown friends there, but cutting back can be a healthy thing. Oh, and Instagram. I don't use, but I think I should. I have two accounts, a personal one I haven't used in forever and a book blog one that I need to start using. But, do I want to add something else to my plate? Oh, and no TikTok or SnapChat for me.

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    1. FB is a great way to stay in touch, no question. But then I start falling into rabbit holes...Ack! Balance is key.

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    2. Oh Jenn, those rabbit holes!

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  31. This post made me so thoughtful. I don't belong to a lot of social media, but I am on Facebook and on Twitter and I have a blog. My Facebook Timeline and my blog are where the majority of my interactions take place. I browse Twitter and sometimes comment and sometimes post about my books, and also keep up with a lot of writer friends' announcements, but I've noticed how negative in generar "Twitter World" is. I've toyed before with dropping out, because I do find the negativity contagious, but then I'm reluctant to lose touch with supporting writer friends there. On the other hand, this post has nudged me a little in the direction of dropping off Twitter.

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    1. It's a tough call. I figure if something huge happens in Twittersphere, someone will tell me. :)

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  32. When I retired, I was thrilled to get on Facebook. I can be in touch with out-of-state relatives, former co-workers, and classmates. Also, I follow a ton of authors and some blogs. Yours I read before Facebook. I was able to see Facebook author events. I did have to unfriend a few people who posted too much junk or things that I didn't like. None of them were close friends.

    I don't regret the time I spend because I live alone. However, I did refuse a request from a relative to get on Instagram. I think another platform would take too much of my time.

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