Why Taking Social Media Breaks May Not Be Enough
It’s been more than a decade since most of us began the long-awaited relationship with the primary tools of engagement that provide the level of connectivity that’s nothing short of revolutionary.
For me, it was the seductiveness of Facebook and the seamlessness of accessibility that revived old friendships, reignited existing ones, and secured the path for new contacts to blossom.
It was exhilarating to watch the graph light up with affirmations of successful connections with familiar faces that were no longer out of reach. The icing on the cake was the second chance at proving my worth to former schoolmates from boarding school, after an extended period of awkwardness that forced me out of the loop.
But it didn’t take very long for the sinking feeling to creep in, as I began to lose control of my carefully curated page. The assault of nonstop notifications, aggressively demanding the acknowledgment that would certify updated numerical prowess, that new users are swiftly enslaved to accomplish, was the dreaded assignment I had to reject.
Thanks to the systemic coercion of LinkedIn, which was apparent almost immediately, with the flashing notifications that creepily assemble a collage of contacts, that are pulled from your various logins at places of work, who allegedly want to join your network — I became acutely aware of how those bloody algorithms relentlessly play tricks on our wearied psyches.
When something trends, it sets off the avalanche of the same shit, coming at you faster than you can effectively handle.
Facebook definitely schooled me on the illusion of “friendships” and how damn easy it is to believe that those impressive numbers equate to how many “friends” you have, when in reality, most of those faces don’t represent anything dependable in the realm of acceptability and intimacy.
I took the necessary steps to first deactivate and then eventually shut down Mark Zuckerberg’s once-revered and now notoriously scandalous creation, out of the need to reprogram my instincts as well as to decongest many of the contacts that proved to be downright useless.
It was empowering to wish a hearty goodbye to the resurrected “friends” who represented a period of my life that was no longer relevant, as well as the floating options that were way past their expiration date.
Twitter took over the empty space that was furnished from my departure from Facebook, with some left for the influencer’s hotspot known as Instagram.
There’s no understating the entertainment factor of Instagram’s over-the-top adherence to magnifying the previously scoffed notion of shameless self-indulgence, and the endorsed boastfulness that won’t run out of steam, even with a global pandemic still raging with scorned deadliness.
I can’t deny that I’m hooked on the daily amusement of watching A-listers revel in the tone-deafness that produces daily postings of glossy selfies and the dutiful homage to jaw-dropping opulence, that less-fortunate followers “like” to their heart’s content.
But my loyalty to Twitter was an immediate engrossment that hasn’t wavered, until now, thanks to life’s mercilessness that has been exaggerated with the devastation from COVID-19, and the unbearable climate of rampant, thoughtless content, unforgivingly packaged in trigger-worthy themes that facilitate our gripping hysteria.
It’s becoming quite the challenge to stay engaged and immune to the pot holes of discord, that extends to the existing Thug-in-Chief, who weaponizes the absolute power he wields, for the benefit of polluting an already unsightly landscape, that was outfitted to host the profitable dysfunction, turning former humans into regulated bots, willfully discarding skin of humanness.
Our very best and very worst tendencies are alighted by the tools of our discontent, that are readily available to either assault or enrich our existence, with the extremes of shakable dispositions providing no allowances for nuanced debates, that evoke the impossibility that there isn’t anything to draw from outside of the “black and white” mentality.
The viability assigned to those with the esteemed blue checks on cosigned profiles is still the polarizing asset that gives critics the audacity to discourage their followers from utilizing the privilege of thinking for themselves, based on how viral assessments of the verified, on pop culture and notable purveyors of those spaces should be received as the unequivocal final word.
And, no, not all those with the blue checks are quite that obnoxious, but enough of them exhibit those traits of self-professed experts of click-worthy fare.
The exhaustive threads that are either ripped at the seams or piled on to support the expansive quilt of another public square, that dares you to supply the odder alternative that could result in the avalanche of queries and standard curses, has driven away my need to be vulnerably honest during ongoing discussions tackling subjects of interest.
I’m not a brand or a spokesperson for a niche market that zeros in on the trends that are relatable enough to attract throngs of consumers, who will keep coming back for inspiring tweets that break down the stigma of mental health or raise awareness for hot-button issues in profound ways. And I’m certainly not anything close to an “influencer” — and here’s a sense of gratitude for the luck of not being married to the debilitating demands of heavy social engagement that has to be constant.
I’m not accommodating the awesome responsibilities of juggling a myriad of lucrative brand sponsorships, and I’m not the megaphone of reason who can garner over 1K likes in under 2 minutes for expressing viral thoughts about why Letitia Wright’s epic dragging is the trend that won’t die.
If you’re ever curious about the invaluable benefits of temporary retreating from the favored app that we prefer to downplay for it’s real-life acute threats and long-term consequences from the exploitation of the nerve centers that used to alert our shock factor when the graphicness of engagement is centered — you must treat yourself to the profoundness of recalibration.
There’s no underestimating how quickly your settings are restored from the simulating addiction to the maddening cycle of 24/7 feasting on platters of snacks that aim to clog our digestive systems, with more than the human body and soul can healthily process before the inevitable breakdown from long periods of short-circuiting.
It’s mind-blowing to return to Twitter after just a few hours of non-activity, and to feel those reassuringly familiar tugs of disbelief at the truly disarrayed landscape of normalized hostility, where armored trolls are encouraged to be inhumane for the thrill of “likes” and “quote tweets” that are worth the mass exposure, regardless of the state of hapless victims.
They say the older we get, the wiser we become, or maybe it’s really about the accumulated life experiences that begin to take its toll, and suddenly we find ourselves aching for the bliss of simplicity in main facets of our relational practices.
Even before the arrival of our unprecedented nightmare that has us shutdown indefinitely, I was already reassessing relationships and beginning the early stages of shaving off the dead weight that I have no intention of carrying over into a new decade, that will surely be the most prolific of my entire existence.
And now that the whole world is still reeling from the life-altering effects of an ongoing traumatizing season of sickness, death and immeasurable loss, the stakes are that much higher, when it comes to the relentless quest of carving out a suitable mode of survival that’s devoid of unnecessary bullshit.
The major disturbances that we safely held at a distance are now uncomfortably close, as celebrated disrupters excessively partake in the fulfilling role of exacting damaging rhetoric on high-profile detractors, with no attention paid to alliances with notable institutions in government or other industries that shouldn’t be saddled with dishonorable representatives.
When it comes to media and the appalling method in which we absorb newsworthy content at the speed of lightening, and in large doses of insufficient summaries that are later recycled under the misguided delivery that erases the focal point of every story, it would be accurate to conclude that the actual truth will never matter because it holds no value.
There are reasonable modes of staying engaged and informed without the endless scrolling through dumpsters of jargon, and the revised features that only further minimize the energized functionality of brain cells, that aren’t able to fully regenerate from the gross negligence, stemming from reliance on the shortcuts of human interactions.
At this point, I’m seriously contemplating ridding myself of the damned Twitter account, since just like my evaporated Facebook page, I honestly have nothing to lose from a permanent severing.
But my addiction follows the symptoms associated with junkies, who can’t completely tear themselves away from harmful vices that are all-encompassing, even with sporadic clicks.
This means that I will continue to convince myself that keeping my Twitter account with limited use, will eliminate the likelihood of sinking deeper into the quick sand of mental extinction.
Whatever my fate will be, remains to be tallied, but I won’t stop holding my breath for the future of mankind, at the hands of compromised mechanisms that were not stealthily designed by the gluttonousness of genius creators, who were holding out on the bankability of human errors, and the evilness of euphoric validations that won’t be defeated.