It’s time to give up on all of this, writing it off as a failed experiment. So here is what I’m going to do.
1. I’m going off Twitter for a month. No, this is not a fake Farhad Manjoo Twitter break, but a real one. At the end of 30 days, we’ll see if I bother to come back.
2. Instead of staring at my phone all the time, I’m going to carry around an honest to goodness book to read. A lot of the time I spend messing around on Twitter is in spare moments when I’m waiting for the kids to get ready for bed, or between sets at the gym, and I have rationalized it by saying this is time when I can’t get sustained work done, so it’s not really going to waste. But I’m betting that’s not true and that I can fill this time with more productive or more enjoyable things.
3. I’m going to go back to what I used to do: checking out a roster of websites and blogs with good information and getting all of my news directly from those sources, not from people posting them to social media. You should do the same.
4. I’m going to spend more time writing at The Federalist, or posting extra material here on my own site—that would be TracinskiLetter.com, thanks for asking—or working on a couple of other projects I have in mind. If you want to know what I have to say, you know where to find me. I’m willing to bet that all of these projects will do me a lot more good than being “Twitter famous.”
Partly what I’m trying to do here is to go back to the future, back to the golden age of blogs. There may be another, better technological solution, and I’m open to hearing about it. But I’m starting to realize that whatever the answer eventually turns out to be, social media was probably a mistake.
I’m still sitting in the exact same spot where I took up residence in the autumn of 2007, still using a Dell desktop to do the majority of my browsing and writing, still keeping folders on the bookmarks bar full of “Blogs” or “Twits” to follow worthwhile sites and timelines. I’m happy to let it remain forever a mystery how people can do anything important on a phone screen, let alone how apps could fascinate anyone but adolescent simpletons. I’ve never been plagued by the fear of missing out that keeps shallow people flitting like anxious butterflies from one tech trend or platform to another. I recognized immediately that the blog format was perfect for my needs, and I’ve never been tempted to chase after the next shiny object. As long as you aren’t interested in making money, getting attention, or having influence, it’s easy!
Anecdotes don’t necessarily mean anything, of course, but lately I have seen several people independently grousing about social media and flirting with the idea of leaving it. Time will tell if more people follow Tracinski’s lead. Let’s just hope blogs don’t become the new vinyl, a hipster status symbol.