In the last month, I’ve conducted a little experiment. Namely, when I feel the desire to write a tweet/post/comment in reaction to some bit of news or an event—I don’t. Instead, I’ve begun to write any of my thoughts in a separate document for myself. I get them out of my head, but I keep them private. It’s been personally freeing and creatively invigorating. I expend the emotion, but I don’t need to double down on knee-jerk hot takes. This has allowed me to process better. Now, I find myself reflecting rather than just reacting.
One of the great sins of social media has been its empowerment of inanity. We’ve convinced everyone that every little thought matters and that every emotion is somehow sincere and deserves the world’s attention. That’s just not true. Every little thought doesn’t matter, and emotions lie. But, social media encourages this behavior. It removes critical thought and nuance and often leads to chaos and cruelty. It’s a never-ending cycle, the ouroboros eating itself. One that doesn’t leave the world a better place. Instead, it reinforces tribalism and disregards compromise, consideration, and compassion.
This isn’t to say I’ve cut out social media altogether—I haven’t. I’ve just shifted my focus. Lately, most of my posts have either been the promotion of something I’ve made or written—things I put more thought, research, and effort into than an off-the-cuff post or tweet—or I’ve used my little soapbox to promote someone else. Mentally, it’s put me in a good place. I think it makes for a better web. It’s gotten me to become more action-oriented. It’s removed the performative aspects that are commonplace (and encouraged) in social media. And, I’ve decoupled from the perpetual train of instant opinion. In doing so, I’ve found that I’ve become more thoughtful and empathic in my day to day interactions. I hope, ultimately, this makes me a kinder person.
That’s all a net positive for me. If it sounds interesting to you, I would encourage you to give it a shot. As far as experiments go, I’d say this has been a successful one.