It’s often that I think of leaving the scope of social media for an extended time, to take a break and reclaim my time and sanity among other things, but I had to actually think about what I would consider social media. By nature, a large part of the web is socially-inclined, things are uploaded to share with others for the most part, if it’s ads, viruses, or actual content.
I started by thinking of what comes to mind when the term “social media” is mentioned. Mainly Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, those sorts of social-focused sites. But I also considered sites with comment sections or even chat, like YouTube or Twitch. Even Neocities has comments and followers. Then I started thinking about the similar features between the first that came to mind. The big focus is the “timeline”, an aggregate content stream from any followed accounts as well as injected ads, all chronological or not. Again, thinking of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit, and so on.
I also took a period-based approach to the problem. If I just arbitrarily choose around the year 2000 as a cutoff point as far as the basic concept and tech is concerned, it mainly cuts off microblogging. Things like IRC chat and full blogging, as well as guestbooks for comments, are before that point. Finding the transition point between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, as it’s all sometimes called. I find my thoughts of what is what biased by a sort of nostalgia.
If I am going to break from social media, there are a few things I’d still want to do, mainly update this site and my review blog, as well as watch streams and maybe videos. However I’d mainly be staying away from Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, though the last one I tend to stay away from in general as it is. I don’t even have Instagram or Reddit accounts, though I’ve looked through the sites a few times. When it comes to Twitch, would I stay out of the chat? I already stay out of the chat for a lot of the streams I watch since it’s too busy. And YouTube, I don’t even have one of those anymore. Don’t use the comment section there. Do use adblock. Support good creators through alternate means that YouTube doesn’t steal 99% of the revenue. Come up with more and better sites that don’t just die after a year.
Long story short, it wouldn’t so much be a break from social media on the whole as it would be just taking time off from the bulk of it, as far as non-video content. Essentially it’s a half-assed attempt, but I’d at least stick to the limits I chose for myself. Some time I might even choose to go totally off the grid for a while without having to camp, but who knows. If the corporations have their way with the net, it won’t really matter anyway once it’s been ripped apart and sold back at 100 times the price per part. Then I can just wait through until the underground rebirth of the net happens, since everyone already found the “dark web”, it’d have to be something else entirely. In the meantime in that scenario, just exchange floppies or CDs or flash drives or whatever the latest storage thing is, it’d probably be a faster transfer rate by hand than by whatever the ISPs would choose for their new dissected monstrosity. Even with current speeds in some cases, as well as bandwidth caps, which are still stupid.