After reading Digital Minimalism and Get Your Sh*t Together, I pulled all my social media apps off my phone. I did not delete accounts or anything (except for Facebook, which I did delete.) I just removed the apps from my phone, figuring I would check Insta and Twitter from my computer directly, when I wanted to. The idea here was just to minimize the time not focused on doing something particularly.
My power usage on my phone went down drastically. I never thought of myself as a ‘power user’ of those applications, particularly, I just occasionally scrolled through and read while I sat on the (well, you know.) My Galaxy S10 would typically start at 5am at 99%, and make to 1 or 2pm, ending at around 20% when I would plug it in. With those applications removed, my phone would be around 55% battery at 430pm, when I would stop working for the day. By the end of the day I would recharge, with my phone sitting at or around 15%. I am not one of those ‘big brother’ folks, thinking that those applications are monitoring me terribly, but it is an interesting data point.
Fundamentally, my usage of those services hasn’t changed as much as I would like. My usage of Instagram is MUCH less than it used to be, but Twitter is still regular, I just use the browser to do so. Twitter pisses me off 90% of the time and it seems decidedly like its designed to do so. It’s always so rant-y and rage-inducing, and so short-term in terms of content to be meaningless in the long term. I do value the ability to navigate the social zeitgeist, but I have to wonder, is Twitter the right medium for me? I wish I had a good answer here, because I want to direct myself to deeper conversations, rather than quick hot takes on something that makes me feel a fleeting connection to a social peer group.
That’s the tricky thing of Twitter and social media. It democratizes minutiae. What do YOU think of Ivanka posting an advertisement for Goya black beans? What do YOU think of the Washington football team changing their name? What do YOU think about companies that say “Black Lives Matter” on their homepages but contribute to PAC’s that support candidates that don’t support it. And this goes on, and on, ad nauseum.
There is literally nothing I can do about Ivanka posting an advert for Goya. I have an opinion on it. One I actually spent time forming. I googled a little about laws about public officials, endorsements, and quid pro quo. Yet I repeat: There is NOTHING I can do about this, at all. But I can feel my feelings about it.
Since uninstalling had an interesting side effect on my phone battery, I wonder if the same effect can be had on my own. I’m going to try to recharge my batteries less often. It is time to drop the bullshit. Twitter, you have a target on you.