I don't think I'm the only one in the universe who has decided, at one time or another, to take a break from social media. Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of the above and whatever other social media I didn't include.
I first stepped away during Lent two years ago, and then stepped away last January for about 3 months. The first time it was just Facebook, and it made me appreciate Instagram in a whole different way. With Instagram, there's less discussion. People post, people Like and/or Comment, and that's about it. Unless you're a Kardashian, there aren't many real discussions. It's just, hey, here I am, someplace awesome, and I'm sharing it with you. I would rank Instagram as my favorite social media app.
The second time I stepped away, it was a full stop. No Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, anything. I didn't have any profound discovery, except that I realized I didn't miss a whole lot from not constantly checking in on the world. I disconnected so fully, I signed up for email blasts from breweries I followed, and things like Humans of New York and photographers that I enjoy the work of. I added birthday reminders to my Google calendar, and news apps to satiate the need for random articles.
The second social media break proved to be hugely helpful in finding new outlets for interesting things. For instance, I relied heavily on Flipboard, an app that aggregates news articles based on your interests. It's great for commutes or waiting in a doctor's office. Fairly short articles about things I like. It's the first thing I check in the morning. More recently, I discovered This.cm, which isn't a typo. This.com will lead you to a non-descript website that offers you to take a survey. This.cm is a aggregator of articles that have been shared by members. In September I signed up for their Top 5, which is daily email featuring 5 long reads that might be featured in the NYT, WSJ, or something similar. This week featured an article by a New Republic reporter in the middle of a Trump rally. Another article, this one from Texas Monthly, recounts a woman who was injured in a mass shooting in 1966. Lastly, there was a link to a long Sports Illustrated article about Sidd Finch, an older article but updated recently. I haven't read any of these fully yet, but over the course of a few days I will. I highly recommend signing up for This.cm.
I also signed up for SBNation's MLB daily email. It is awesome! Imagine all of the great stories surrounding baseball, linked and emailed every morning. It's a game changer. Aside from FlipBoard, this is the first thing I check in the morning.
Like my last post, I don't have any point to today's entry. That's probably going to be the norm. As I work my way into writing more often, maybe cohesive ideas will congeal. Until then, here's "Axel F" from Beverly Hills Cop. I hope you get up and dance.