I feel like a broken record, nagging about social media and its ever-changing algorithms and how everything just seems to speed up, watering down voices to favour pretty pictures. Like the old crumpled lady that I am, I'm reminiscing about the golden days of blogging while remarking that the fast media just isn't for me.
I've been on social media (Instagram, have hated Facebook since the start) since 2010, trying to keep the amount of dumb scrolling to a minimum, but you know how it goes; you're just gonna check the date and suddenly you find yourself having wasted 20 minutes on Instagram anyways. Instagram has so much to offer, but the algorithms and the tag clouds and the ads and the super-dopamine inducing UI just finally ruin the joy I had with the app.
Another point of contention is the feeling that if I let the scraps of connection with my non-IRL previously-blogger-now-Instagram friends go, that's it. Then they're out. And I don't want that.
But I've been dragging along, questioning why I'm still blogging when the social relations on the internet feels so lackluster for me. I've thought about shoving the blog into the box of memories and just keeping on with social media instead. There are far more people there, on Instagram, both IRL- and non-IRL friends, than there is in the blogging realm as of now. So why save the blog if I want to prioritize relationships?
But after I dug a rabbit hole for myself by frustratedly googling "old-school blogging" in a bout of questioning why I even bother to blog when everything feels off, the doubt crystallized into the realization that I don't think I am connecting with those people over Instagram. That's what's been tickling my tech-skeptic, and I realise I've bundled the blog in the social-media-swamp. To be truthful, I think blogs and social media are worlds apart in how much I enjoy and savour the content.
On Instagram, I see what they see momentarily; the cliffs that they sip wine on or the flowers outside their houses, but I still don't know much, or anything at all, about how they're feeling, what they're up to, what they're thinking or what their plans are. Essentially, it's like passing someone by now and then and overhearing six seconds of their conversation with a friend. Is that quality? Does that build relationships? In some ways, yes. In others, no. Even though I do care about the people, I'm actually not that interested in what they're commonplace DOING (we all need to cook, right), I'm much more interested in what they're thinking. And while I could just ask every one of them personal questions to follow up their posts, I know I won't. Partly because it's weird, and partly because I long for volunteer storytelling. Hanging around, scrolling through Instagram has been my last scrap of those connections.
I have been active on Instagram throughout the years and while there's nothing inherently wrong with that, for me it's been intermingled with a gnawing feeling of doubt, self-doubt and... it feels like screaming out into the void. Some likes trickle in like usual, but it's... more of a thumbs up from across the street, and less of a conversation. Ya know?
It's like Instagram is such a pseudo-social media, going under the guise of connectivity but when there is so little actual personality and speech, it all becomes depersonalized making new, and sometimes old, connections more difficult. For me at least. Following and getting a follow back and then never ever see them even liking anything I post. Commenting on a post and getting a like on my comment back. I feel like I'm flashing acquaintances passing by images of my life and they smile a little, then move on to the next person flashing images.
Honestly, it's draining.
And let's not get into the fact that while scrolling, I can see pictures I've liked, that I can't remember having seen. The meaninglessness of the whole thing becomes jarring.
So we're doing it again. Going off of social media, once again, but I think with more clarity this time. Earlier, it has been a more diffuse sense of really not fitting in, but now I'm more set in why I feel out of place. I will have no time limit. It's all an investment in putting my energy towards getting off of the couch and into the real world, though not necessarily out of the house. I AM an introvert after all. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME GO OUTSIDE!
I'm not deleting any apps. Instagram is my main time-waster but I'm keeping the app in order not to miss private messages. The main objective is to mindfully consume content on the internet that brings me value while giving myself all the possibilities of connecting with friends and meeting people IRL.
I will check in on Facebook, maybe once a week or so, because of events. Being an event-arranger myself and getting invited to smaller events here and there, abandoning a part of a platform I currently have and risk missing real-life hangouts is beside the purpose of the digital semi-detox.
Lastly, I will absolutely and definitely keep updating my blog and keep reading the blogs I have selected to go into my Feedly feed. It's not content-devouring itself that is the problem, it's partly when platforms decide what I get to see that my frustration arises. Blogs have always been my favourite kind of content because it's people's voices, on their own platforms I get to take part of, and that's a wonderful thing. I've been called a storyteller and I enjoy stringing together words and putting images to those words, however serious or humorous the result may be. I hope that spending more time adding value will inspire me to write more often and better, as well.