My friend deleted all his social media... except LinkedIn
As Zuckerberg sets his eyes on the metaverse, my friend burnt all his social media to the ground. Except one.
I think it’s fair to say I spend a lot of time on social media. My “screen time” alerts always come as a huge shock, as I spend hours hoovering up the utter idiocy and madness served up to me by Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg.
It’s a blessing and a curse. I waste time, but I also notice ads for Competitive Endurance Tickling, and get to talk sunsets, ducks and whispering with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Part III is coming soon, I promise).
At its worst, social media has the power to turn you into a raving conspiracy theorist almost overnight (Billy TK Jnr) or give you the incentive to fake vaccine side effects for likes.
But mostly social media is just a daily reminder that life is terrible and that we’re stuck on a planet with utter idiots. It’s a futile attempt to keep up with the discourse and the opinions. Spend long enough on there, and a day off Twitter feels like an entire year. Hell, Bean Dad feels like yesterday but it happened in January.
I get caught out here on Webworm. Back in March, I found myself interviewing the guy who claimed to have found shrimp in his cereal after we exchanged some messages on Twitter. “I never wanted to be Farrier’d”, he’d said at the time — referring to my tendency to stumble down internet holes and hold people to account as per Tickled. Well, a few days later he did get “Farrier’d”, but not by me. By himself.
Shit moves fast, and it’s utter chaos.
It’s partly why I started this newsletter: I was sick of frantically tweeting things. I wanted to slow down and have the chance to observe, explore and analyse things in my own time. I like to think that’s been a positive thing for you too, as a reader and member of the Webworm community (I love the comments section on this thing!)
But for now — because I’m still drawn to the illusion of keeping across everything — I stay on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (aka Meta). I peruse TikTok like a dinosaur in a foreign land.
But my longtime friend — someone smarter than me — deleted all his social media. He wanted out. He wanted freedom. He waned to get rid of the constant ringing in his brain. And he did it. He got rid of it all.
Well — almost. He kept LinkedIn.
This is his story. I’ve been urging him to write this for months. He only agreed to do it if he could write anonymously — corporate job and that — so I’ve called him by his nickname, “Honk.”
Honk was also mortified that his reflections on certain LinkedIn profiles could be misconstrued as “bullying”, so he insisted I pixelate names and faces.
I’ve never pixelated so many names and faces in a Webworm piece. I felt like Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning. This is my Panama papers; my Watergate.
The Social Network too boring to be addictive
A couple of years ago, I deleted the social media apps from my phone. I hated the way I opened them habitually and started scrolling, often without realising what I was doing. Even when I picked up my phone to do something entirely different, I ended up opening social media instead and then I couldn’t remember what I had meant to do in the first place.
I didn’t delete every social media app; I only got rid of the ones I was addicted to: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. I kept my messaging apps because I told myself I needed them to keep in touch with people, and I kept LinkedIn because I might need it for finding work at some point — and besides, it’s far too boring to get addicted to.
My great app purge was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I felt so much better having kicked the thumb-numbing habit. My ability to concentrate improved. The ever-present voice of What Twitter Thinks started to quieten. I enjoyed making time for more traditional news media.
When the pandemic hit and lockdowns started, I was grateful not to have the avalanche of content adding to my already-heightened anxiety levels. I have no doubt I fared better for it. But like everyone else, I found myself with a lot less to do, and the warm glow of a smartphone beckoned once more. After many months, boredom started to get the better of me. I unlocked my phone... and opened LinkedIn.
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