No, I’m Not Joking (Why i’ve decided to quit Social Media.)
I doubt many people actually care, but since I’ve been asked this more than a few times in the last 24 hours, I thought I’d clear up a few misconceptions before I go.
First off, no, there hasn’t been a singular incident to spark this off. I’m not flouncing off in a ragequit because of something someone has or hasn’t said. I’m not on the run from the mob or anything else.
In the simplest possible terms, I’ve gone because I don’t really see a benefit to being here anymore. I’m tired of seeing people turn the internet into the Jeremy Kyle Show (‘Oooh, my girlfriend did all these terrible things and perhaps if I complain about it here, I can get some sympathy for a situation that most people don’t actually know very much beyond one person’s account of it.’) I’m tired of uninformed opinions and the wailing of the Cynical But Actually Ignorant, I’m tired of being tagged in things and people getting narky if I don’t ‘like’ their work within 30 seconds as if I owed them an immediate response. Or any response, really.
That’s one reason. Here’s another.
Some of you will be aware that i used to work in the West End. Part of that route was stopping in Southfields Station and buying a cup of coffee. While I’d wait for the coffee, I’d look around at the magazines and never gave it any thought. A couple of years down the line, I was down the pub and for whatever reason, Kerry Katona came up as a subject of discussion. To my horror, I realised I had a fairly healthy knowledge of her life as lived in the media going back a couple of years. I found myself able to recite off details of her time with Bryan McFadden and all other manner of totally useless trivia. To the point where I actively look at the floor when I walk into a newsagent now, because I don’t want to know this stuff, I don’t care about it.
And that’s what Social Media is like for me ALL THE TIME. Thousands of opinions on Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, whoever. And I don’t care about any of it. I can happily get through this life without ever knowing if Atomic Kitten reform or what the correct cultural response is to the new episode of Sherlock. Social Media is like some kind of Speaker’s Corner as sponsored by Heat. I found myself having opinions on Justin Bieber being done for Drag Racing for whatever reason last night and I think that might have been the straw, to be honest. It doesn’t matter what I think about Bieber. He doesn’t care about me, I don’t care about him. Why am i thinking about this? Because of continual exposure via osmosis. I don’t even follow Bieber. I just follow people who have an opinion on it.
I’m just tired of the noise. Of the culture that thinks the only opinions of value are the ones that gather the most ‘Likes’ or spawn the most Retweets.
I’ve had enough of feeling on ‘call’, to be honest. Of people’s assumption that my appearing to be online is the perfect opportunity for them to get in contact and dismiss my assertion that I’m busy with ‘Oh, you’re not really busy because of my definition of busy.’ Here’s the thing. Yes, i do know quite a bit of stuff about pop-culture history, but i’m rather sick of being used as Google. At all hours of the day. Asking me a question while I’m at work about work is fine. Tweeting me at 2am to ask about a comic mart and then tweeting back another 3 questions within 10 minutes gets filed under ‘Taking The Piss.’
There is very little I know that you can’t look up on the Internet. If I know it and you can’t learn that information online, perhaps you’re not meant to know yet. Or ever.
I’m now all Agony Uncled out. There’s a saying that goes ‘No Good Deed Goes Unpunished’ and believe me, 2013 was like some kind of Fate Driven Campaign to firmly drive that notion into my head. It’s cost me a bit too much, on many levels. There’s little I can tell you that you wouldn’t have worked out anyway, you just didn’t want to admit it to yourself.
You’re entirely entitled to believe you deserve my attention whenever the whim strikes you to get in contact. I’m not obliged to live up to this entirely fictional belief in any way.
Nearly done, don’t worry.
If the last year of my life has been about anything, it’s recognising addictions in myself. How the rest of you respond to Facebook or Twitter is entirely your concern, but I’ve come to notice how much I had to attend to the red numbers on the top left of the Facebook page, or the ’12 New interactions’ text from Twitter, getting lost in pointless arguments about …nothing on those networks, trying to configure those points into 140 characters or less, wondering if my points of view were suitable for everyone reading my feed, people suddenly unfriending me because they were in a row with someone else and assumed I’d taken a side in that argument when the chances are, as with most rows, I simply didn’t care. Since I neither feel the right to judge anyone unless their actions directly hinder my life nor actually want to argue the toss about most things online as nobody actually ever wins those rows and…
Just…getting worked up and drawn into noise.The pinging of a machine that will never be satiated, my brain suddenly looking at Real Life and trying to find a way of constructing the encounter into an amusing status update or tweet. And of course, if I was involved in some kind of argument online and ran out of credit on my phone, quickly going to the ‘Add Credit’ screen and sticking another fiver or tenner on there. And for what?
Nothing. Totally nothing.
So I have a theory that this is some kind of self perpuating addiction machine, filling our heads with nonsense and bringing out the worst in us, hacking our attention spans to bits and beeping when we should be..I don’t know, ANYTHING. Maybe talking to each other in Real life, if we can.
Anyways, i think I’m done. Both with this and Facebook/Twitter for the foreseeable. I’m easy enough to find, if you want.
And seriously, If I Never Have To See Another Buzzfeed Or Upworthy Headline, It’ll Be Too Soon