In mid-2014 I decided to leave all social media. I ended up being away for a year before coming back, and in that time I learned that I really enjoy the communities there -- just not the way I was previously consuming those feeds. I learned how to better curate my social media to suit my needs.
Here's what I want to get out of social media:
- Uplifting News. I get my political news, notifications on outrages, and hot takes on the latest consumer product, all from reputable news outlets and conversations with friends. I don't also need to be constantly reminded of them on my timelines. Good news doesn't usually hit the headlines at major news outlets; social media is a good way to get a drip feed of good times. Being able to opt-in to certain channels (following specific individuals/subreddits/etc.) is very important to me.
- 100% Content Consumption. I don't want to miss out on something because it was a "busy day" on my timeline, and I don't want to feel compelled to constantly be refreshing my feed - I have work to do, and I am weak! By following a low number of channels/people that make low-volume, high-quality content, I'm able to "finish reading the internet" each morning.
- A Soapbox. Sometimes I want to share a cool picture, post some code, or publish a page like this one. Sometimes I need help with something or with code-stuff in particular. Social Media is a great way to reach a bunch of folks with similar interests. Where else am I going to shout excitedly about airplanes? I hope all of my followers like airplanes.
- Personal Accessibility. I like giving back, and I want to be there for you and everyone else that might need assistance in something I can help with. Simply turning off Social Media entirely removes public visibility of myself, and reduces apparent accessibility.
- Volatility. I want my feed to be shaken up frequently - so I follow channels and people that post a variety of different content. I'll also change who and what I'm following on a monthly basis, and review and cull content that isn't working for me regularly.
- Asymmetric Feeds. Just because I follow you doesn't mean I want or need you to follow me, and vice-versa is true too. It's not intended as an insult if you're my IRL friend and I don't follow you on twitter. It's not meant to be a personal affront if I unfriend you on Facebook. I'm simply curating my feed - my DMs are always open, and you can always reach out. Usually, your high-quality posts get retweeted are reposted by our mutual friends anyway!
Right now, what's really working for me is making sure my twitter feed has under 100 follows, and I keep a short list of relatively uplifting reddit subscriptions. I don't log in to facebook or skype, and I've found a few pleasant and chill discord servers to hang out on.
I don't have notifications turned on for anything but EMail (or work stuff through Slack). I opt-in to my interruptions.
That said, I do understand that culturally, my attitude towards social media could be perceived as insulting or cavalier. I feel bad about that! Not bad enough to change my behaviour though. Happy to talk it through with you! Get in touch!