turning anti-social

socialI’ve used of some sort of on-line social system stretching back to the 1980s when I followed text-based Usenet forums. After that I moved on to Fidonet, then on to web-centric groups like GeoCities. After that came my sampling of Facebook and Twitter, especially with the rise of app-based social media.

Today I’ve limited myself to the three social services you see in the iOS screen shot to the right (not that Twitter is covered by the native Twitter app as well as TweetBot). I wanted to cut my usage back even farther, but not give it up entirely (thus avoiding the cutting-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face problem of total account deletion).

Why such personal limitations? Because over time I’ve grown tired of Twitter’s lack of general civility and an inability to trust what I read coming from just about any source on Twitter, especially any of the politically hot issues like the 2016 presidential election season. Following my timeline on Twitter is almost as bad as watching TV; pointless drama mixed with questionable facts punctuated by empty and unwanted advertising. I’ve already given up watching TV by canceling my cable TV subscription…

I’ve deleted an earlier Twitter account once already because of this, but re-registered a new account about a year later to follow a few of my friends and a few news sources. Before I knew it I was back up into following 90 or so accounts; now I’m up to following 133 accounts, far more than I can honestly keep track of. And I have 127 followers, far more than I can honestly account for. This time, instead of just deleting the account, I decided to hide it and see if that could cut down on my use of the service. What a pleasant surprise that’s been.

In order to hide Twitter I used an iOS feature, the creation of groupings of apps similar to folders in regular desktop systems. In an attempt to control my mindless access I dragged the four social apps into their own Social grouping. I figured out of sight, out of mind as it were.

By moving Twitter (and the three other social apps) from the top-level iOS screen, my use of all those social apps has dropped tremendously. Now, if I have the need for a little Twitter, I have to exert just a bit more effort to open it up. Otherwise I find it’s out of the way and ignored by me most of the time. I find my use of all the social media has dropped quite a bit to a very healthy low. Perhaps in the near future I’ll completely delete all those accounts. But for now, “hiding” all of this is a very good first step towards that goal of being Twitter-free.

Before you ask, I deleted Facebook years ago. There’s no going back into that snake pit for me.