Since its creation, I’ve spent too much time on Twitter. A couple of years ago I deleted my original Twitter account and created a couple of new ones with the intent of honing and rebuilding friends lists and dividing the focus of each account to specific topics. It did not improve my experience. In the short term things were better, but then Twitter’s algorithms figured out who I was and started throwing things into my feed to try to up my engagement. I switched to one of the third party apps to get rid of notifications and suggestions and the like. Still no good. Aside from a few folks I enjoy spending time with online, I don’t really care about Twitter that much these days.
At the first of the year I removed Instagram from my phone. My time on the app was mostly spent on weeding out requests for friendship from bots and I just got tired of it.
At the beginning of the week I removed Twitter (and its third party apps) from my phone. Banal content aside, I don’t need the distraction in my pocket and it was the next step to removing apps from my phone that provided “infinite scrolling”. If I can never get to the bottom of an app I don’t need it on my phone. This includes Instagram, Twitter, Apple News, Google News… anything that encourages mindless scrolling or even worse, doom scrolling. There’s plenty of doom in the world. I don’t need to dwell on it.
I’ve been removing data mining oriented apps for a while. I had replaced Twitter with Tweetbot, simply because it didn’t mine my data from my habits on my phone. In mid December I gave up on MyFitnessPal and went with Lose It! because MyFitnessPal was sharing its information with too many data extraction agencies (including Facebook for some reason) and while Lose It is far from perfect in that area, it’s a heck of a lot better than MyFitnessPal.
So what am I doing instead? I listen to two podcasts, “A Bit of Optimism” by Simon Sinek and “Your Undivided Attention” by Tristan Harris. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to podcasts, since we lived in Chicago in fact, simply because I was enjoying the desert beauty while out on my walks. I still enjoy that beauty, but I listen to these podcasts for an interesting perspective on the world and on life. It’s nice to step out of the chaos.
The other change I made was in my news consumption. I am now consuming news via the AllSides website. This website offers the news from different sources and viewpoints. It’s good to get out of the echo chamber of Fox News or MSNBC and see what other sources have to say. There’s a little “blue-purple-red” meter under each story and it helps one find a more balanced approach to the reporting of what’s happening in the world. I need that.
I don’t know if this is part of my ongoing personal mid-life crisis but I feel like we’re on the precipice of something big happening in the world. Maybe it’s pandemic fatigue. But I feel like I’m at a point of my life where I need to spend less time worrying about what’s appearing on my iPhone and pay more attention to the real problems of the world (climate change, political unrest, rampant idiocy being the top three concerns).
I don’t know what I can do to help make the world a better place. I hope I figure it out soon.