At the beginning of August 2020 I deleted all my social media accounts, except for YouTube. So, how has it been? I never intended to make a living solely through the music I write: my work in sound design and production is in a different business. Had I read this post by Steve Lawson post in 2019, it would have pushed me to consider a few things.
Today I don’t judge people that are still juggling with social networks, yet I see any lucubration about how to stay in mainstream social media and save the soul as plain weird. I suppose once you’re out you can’t really understand why anyone would want to continue staying locked in — like an ex-smoker.
Having lived through the full experience of being engulfed in social networks, I know what Steve’s talking about. However, after leaving pretty much everything in the last couple of years, including Apple’s walled garden, I’ve never felt more liberated and light-weight.
What happened after I left social media
- I suddenly gained what still seems like an insane amount of free time.
- My work has massively improved, becoming more productive and focused.
- I started reading again without interruptions.
- I caught up with things I’d been leaving behind because I didn’t feel like I had the time or the required focus.
- I learned to use Pro Tools, then after a few months ditched it and learned REAPER.
- I studied Wwise and FMOD (video game audio authoring).
- I expanded my knowledge of new web dev technologies, migrating two websites from WordPress to Jekyll and from a traditional hosting to Netlify, saving money in the process.
Above all, I stopped caring about whatever CEO billionaire do or say, while following savvy people who write about facts, productivity and tech whilst keeping a critical eye on all things related to the so-called “surveillance capitalism”.
I can understand the argument about having an audience (though I dislike the term), and I get people when they tell me they can’t leave a particular social network because of the relationships they built there. Yet, my escape pushed me to actually speak to the people I used to hang around on those networks. I got in touch, asked for their emails and sometimes their phone numbers.
I now talk to them asynchronously and it feels genuine, real. We have stuff to discuss about, without the usual oh yeah, I saw it earlier on Facebook. I nurtured my email newsletter and stayed in touch with a larger amount of people than expected through either email, newsletters, RSS and sometimes Telegram or Signal. Finally, if my contacts came from Bandcamp, I followed them there. The vast majority of people who left social media reports the very same conclusions.
On the other hand, I can’t understand how people actually enjoy having their time, attention and focus snatched by young-white-male-dominated mega corporations. Especially knowing how they make their money through selling personal data, reprogramming the social behaviour of millions while altering entire democracies in the making. I keep asking: what if these soulless machines stopped working? We all remember the fast demise of MySpace; what would happen to that audience amplifier? My answer was, and still is: have your own space on the internet.
Edit: 10 March 2022
I re-joined Mastodon, as an experiment. I did try it in 2017, to no avail. I now immediately understood why everyone says it’s not Twitter. It sure feels like a totally different space.