The Million-Dollar Question
When it’s time to walk away from social media it’s probably best to run.
To social media or not to social media? That is the question. Well, it’s one of the questions. The real “Million-Dollar Question” is at the end of this post. Several months ago, I walked away from social media as a way to see what the world was like through my own eyes. I was fed up with Facebook, sick of Twitter, tired of Instagram, and really only had a passing interest in LinkedIn. Don’t get me started on TikTok. “You kids! Get off my lawn!”
When I left Facebook, it was still Facebook, not META. There was no fanfare. No tearful goodbyes. Mark Zuckerberg did not make an impassioned plea for me to stay. Just a simple “Exit stage left,” and I was gone. Poof. If I was a ninja, there wouldn’t have even been a smoke bomb as a distraction. Unequivocally, this has been one of the healthiest things I’ve done for myself, and I will never go back to that echo chamber.
LinkedIn is very similar but has this sticky, thin veneer of professionalism — if I’m brutally honest with myself, I really don’t know why I bother with it. I’m not looking for a job, I’m not hiring, and it’s not how I get clients. Every so often, I will post a snippet of what I’m doing (a whisper into the Void), resulting in a handful of new visits to my website and a comment or two, which is nice. I also try to find new people with interesting points of view to connect with and comment on, but it’s not like there’s a lasting relationship growing from these micro-exchanges. To be meaningful, we need to have actual connections, like coffee dates, meet and greets, or *gasp* even telephone conversations.
Everyone is busy rushing from one moment to the next, trying to be noticed.
Last month I made a post on Instagram when I donated blood. It was my first post on that platform in several months, and I did it because it was always a ritual for me while sitting there bleeding my own blood. My hope is that someone who has never donated before sees it on my wall and says, “Well, if that derpface, Dargie can do it, I can do it too.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.
Curious, I scrolled through Instagram to see what I was missing. A couple of message requests from MEGAN465 and SARAH901L inviting me to “Follow” their private accounts; somebody named BITCOINFTBOIY113 telling me to invest because they’re GOING TO THE MOON; I passed. Then there were the requisite IGTV reels of cute animals, which are fun but always the same; then a barrage of stand-up comedians I know posting their bits — funny stuff; finally, some misplaced ads and random “Look at me do stuff!” posts. Overall, Instagram just doesn’t do it for me anymore (and I believe it’s still part of META), so I just won’t do it.
It’s the morning after. I have a lampshade on my head, my shirt is torn, no pants, I’m missing a sock, my shoes are knotted and hanging from my neck, I have mud between my toes, and I’m dragging a half-naked mannequin by its one arm behind me. Squinting into the sun, I stagger away from the intergalactic kegger that is social media and ask the real million-dollar question: “What now?”
Where does this leave me? It leaves me with time to read, write, think thoughts, explore the world, build stuff, share what I know, and do cool and weird shit with cool and weird people, that’s what.