Last week I decided that I would delete some social apps.
I was done with social media. Twitter had become the second thing I opened in the morning, second only to my eyes and within seconds I could feel my blood angry up.
Twitter’s “Moments” were the catalyst for my angst. The platform, which claims not to be a publisher, hires a team of people to select stories (never actually on newsworthiness) and create an incredibly biased narrative and shoves them into my timeline.
Have you ever noticed that there’s so much anger on Twitter?
It’s faux anger, fueled by hashtags that will be long forgotten when the next travesty is ‘momentised’.
But where is the anger about the mountains of plastic we consume each day? Where is the angst about the bleach we pour down millions of loos, water which eventually ends up in our oceans? Where is the outrage for the millions of acres of forest we destroy for paper products or products which contain palm oil?
Problems that actually matter, problems are extinction level events for humankind.
No, instead let’s argue about whether Ben Affleck’s back tattoo is “too much”, whether Germaine Geer is a feminist or not or whether the 30-year-old lyrics of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” are “problematic”. It’s just all so tiresome and what does all this negativity really achieve?
If you “can’t deal” Ben’s tattoo, don’t look at it. If you don’t think Germaine is woke, don’t listen to her, if the lyrics offend you, just search for how much money that song has raised for good causes. Stop shitting on everything because you have a problem with it. Today.
Enough is Enough
As I clicked the “X” above Twitter and the TWO Facebook apps, I had a pang of, actually what was that feeling? Was it desperation? Or was it relief?
Twitter is part of my work, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to rid myself fully of the little blue bird, but I’d have to log in via a browser, which I found to be a much better experience for my mental wealth.
For the first three days, when I had a spare moment, I found myself, opening up my phone and looking for something. As I flipped through my apps, I had forgotten what I was looking for, but habit is so ingrained in our fibres, we still reach to do the thing that we always do. I guess this is withdrawal. The visual element of the Twitter / Facebook app logo had gone, but I was still looking for my connection fix.
After the fourth day, I had rediscovered the Apple news app – and started reading actual news. News that is sourced, written, analysed and curated by real-life journalists. Yes, of course, there is bias in news, but if you choose a number of outlets, one from each side of the political divide and one in the middle (or indeed a specialist or niche site, like THEGAYUK.com – plug plug) you can get variety. Like your food diet, your news diet needs variety. Consuming only one type will ultimately leave your wanting, no, needing more.
By the fifth day, I had totally forgotten about the apps and an added boon, my phone’s battery life went to last an entire day. Almost.
By the seventh day, I actually felt calmer. I felt happier. I feel less stressed.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep this up, but my mental wealth has boomed.
As I travelled into London on the train, I looked around the carriage and was aware that everyone, regardless of their age was hunched over their phone. Tapping away. They were all obvious to the world around them. When did we become so disconnected from the real world?
I looked out of the windows, the sun filtered through the glass. London looked beautiful. I felt happy to be alive. I felt happy to be disconnected in that moment.
So if you find yourself getting angry over nothing, put down the phone, look out your window and take a deep breath.
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.
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