Twitter has pretty much been my only social media presence for some time now, though I consume way more than I contribute. I tend to follow three groups of accounts:
- Friends (including other hams) and people/organizations that are locally rooted in my city, county, and state. This is my main feed and numbers about 200 different accounts.
- A list of news organizations called “breaking,” which I usually turn on when Something Big is going on.
- A list of religion writers/leaders from across the spectrum: Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim.
I used to have a list strictly dedicated to industry-related things but got tired of the infighting and ego-stroking. I dropped Facebook some time ago. I do have an Instagram account, but only follow family members. So, to be fair, it’s not like a had a large social footprint to start with. Even so, laying Twitter aside for several weeks has had an interesting effect. Without putting too fine a point on it: I can think longer and more clearly about things. I dipped back into the religion list for a little while the other day and couldn’t shut it down fast enough and, mind you, it’s not as though there’s much in the way of acrimony. It’s just so much. So after Lent, I’ve decided to pare back my usage to my main timeline and boot the other lists. If Something Big happens, I will certainly find out about it via other means. My account will remain private and I’ll probably continue using it in something of a read-only mode. The two exceptions will be severe weather spotting (our local NWS office monitors for a particular hashtag) and PM’ing my brother. That’s about it.
This post at GetReligion really drove the point home for me, and not because I’m a pastor. I am not. I’ve concluded that while, yes, social media has done some good things it is on balance not a net good for us. Not personally, not at a community level. And certainly not as a media with an underlying profit motive that requires constant engagement via the constant stimulation of primal urges. Tmatt goes into more detail in his weekly column, which is also well worth reading
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Internet, mostly because it’s still possible for me to use it the way I always have - as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. It’s still imminently possible to research, learn, and communicate with tools that let me control what I’m seeing and how much I share. It takes some work, to be sure, and it ought not, but this is the way it is for now.
So books: still on Jesus of Nazareth. Finished up The Culture Code, which was a little better than I expected. Not sure what I’ll go to next. Itching for some fiction, but not sure what.