Back to the door... 🚪
It is probably safe to say that everyone hanging out on the smol Internet has experience in the precise cycle that I am about to discuss, and it has been causing me to pause and wonder if it is even worth addressing. But as this is my very infrequently trafficked space and probably the only place on the web that is specifically for me to be entirely self-indulgent, I will roll with it.
I find myself caught in this life cycle on the web pretty profoundly. Unfortunately, I have been unable to leap into the unknown that is deleting social media. Frankly, with the current state of the pandemic and likely no real change to my relatively reclusive lifestyle, much of my socializing is online. Those circumstances make it feel somewhat risky to delete social media whole cloth.
On the other hand, most of my interactions on these online platforms are not substantive or meaningful. They tend to increase my anxiety, cause ill effects on my sleep patterns, and worsen my executive functioning. I am left, then, to wonder at the net gain of these spaces. Though I genuinely admire and care for several people I have met through Twitter, for instance, my inability to moderate my time in those spaces becomes a loss for me.
It is sad to consider not looking in on people I have encountered who live on the other side of the globe or those in my local community who I have only met through online spaces. I feel like I am losing the only way I know to find what was the beautiful promise of the Internet way back when.
However, as long as that promise is wrapped within a profit model geared toward capturing as much attention as possible through memifying strong emotions (those that feed into tribalism) and spreading misinformation, there is no safe way for me to interact with the positive aspects. I know these apps are designed to capture attention, so I am not unique in falling into those traps. But the ramifications ripple outward in my life negatively, creating more problems for me.
A perfect example of these problems are ADHD-centered procrastination and time-blindness—the endless feed sucks me in, and I emerge behind schedule and in a shame spiral. The energy required for me to work through that cycle can sometimes be enough to put me in paralysis for the rest of the day! It makes me feel stupid even to admit my limitations.
But it follows to simply ask: why would I continue to put myself in a position that causes me such distress? Do the benefits truly outweigh the downfalls? If I had the answer, I probably wouldn't be writing this post (even though the answer is obviously no). And so, I create a smolblog and a phone shortcut that allows me to microblog to my notes instead of posting to social media, and I download IP blockers to limit my access. Those things last for a few days or even a few weeks. But inevitably, I end up right back here.
It reminds me of quitting smoking; it took me a few good goes of it before I got to the point where I could say, "No. Enough." So maybe, sitting at my computer and writing this spiral of a thing, the renewed conviction in taking control of my time, and all of the things that this entails will be the time when I can finally say my no mores here as well.
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