The Great Social Media Cleanse of 2023

I’m seriously considering turning off/deleting all of my social media for 2023, with one exception: BeReal. The concept of not being able to see what I’m up to other than once per day at a random time is funny to me. The problem is that not enough of my friends are on BeReal, which is a shame. It’s fun! I genuinely like being able to scroll through people’s random, sometimes boring lives. I’m sick of stuff being curated, presenting the “best” of us. That’s nice on occasion, but gimme some real shit too.

Also, logistically, it would be two exceptions: the aforementioned BeReal, and Reddit, culled down to just the D&D related subreddits, only because there’s a treasure trove of battle maps there. I just did that, in fact, because it sounded like a good idea regardless, and it’s been a fine transition so far. I don’t miss any of the other subreddits I was subbed to, and whenever I need information about X I just google “X” + “reddit” and go read comments. I’m done with Reddit comments. I’m just sick of reading comments in general.

In truth, I’ve already started the Great Social Media Cleanse of 2023. I deleted TikTok and am surprised at how little I desire it back in my life. I miss some videos, but not enough to redownload it. I also hated posting videos that got no traction. I’m sick of not gaining traction with apps anymore. I’ll just be tractionless now, okay?

My Twitter account is officially gone as well and that feels fine too. I sometimes miss having an outlet for tiny thoughts, but it’s not a big deal. Twitter tricked me into thinking I needed to air every bit of jostled nonsense that popped out of my brain.

I deleted my presence from dating apps except for Bumble. This was a decision born out of MatchGroup. I signed up for Match and its interface and general vibe were so goddamn annoying that I went to delete my account, only to have to jump through a bunch of hoops to do that. Hey, app developers: the harder you make it for people to delete their accounts, the more likely I am to delete my account.

So anyway I deleted that and OKCupid. I have had virtually no success with dating apps, and am constantly reminded of that when I’m on them. Out of, like, fourteen years using OKCupid, I had one short dating session with a woman who ended up being a catalyst for my pent-up homesickness and loneliness from moving to Portland, which ended up getting me into therapy, which I guess is a win overall. The second was a much more recent short relationship that I ended because the pandemic hit and I wasn’t sure I was into the relationship enough to continue it over Zoom.

Anyway, this isn’t a dating post. OKCupid was cool and then Match bought them and now MatchGroup owns EVERY dating app including Hinge, which I was planning on keeping. Dating has become a capitalist scheme which is like a nuclear apocalypse for the human soul. Bumble is the only dating app that I’m aware of that is popular and is not owned MatchGroup. (Except Raya, but I’m not a cool celebrity and also Raya is Apple only which is INSANE.) In general I don’t think dating apps are good but I feel like I have to have at least one of them, just in case a miracle occurs.

I’m debating over Instagram. I need some tether to friends and family and that appears to be Instagram. Plus, I like sharing pictures and stuff. Despite Facebook/Meta’s insistence on ruining things, Instagram still at its core feels like a photo sharing app. Yes, even with reels and all that shit. It really feels like nobody is ready to transition to a new social media app in any case. I think we’re all sick of them, and we stick to IG or Facebook because we don’t want to deal with anything new.

For now, my social media has been whittled down to:

  • BeReal
  • Instagram
  • Strava
  • D&D subreddits
  • Bumble (not a social media app but still)
  • Discord

I put Discord but that’s basically a glorified friends chat at this point. Instagram is the real stickler of the group. I just like sharing pictures with friends. I really wish IG was just that and not the incessant explore and ads and influencers and hot tattooed models that I like! don’t get me wrong! but also could do with like 75% less of. This is a problem with The Algorithm: you click on one hot tattooed model and suddenly your feed is full of hot tattooed models.

So anyway, if you don’t see me on social media next year, it’s because I’m doing my best to not be on social media. Follow me on Strava, so we can talk about exercise. Or just read this blog! I’ll definitely be here.

personal rants

Trivial Opinions

I’m getting tired of people having strong opinions over things that one should not have strong opinions over. It feels like trivial opinions are competitions now, and having the loudest argument for your opinion means you won. There’s something about today’s society that makes people should “PINEAPPLE DOESN’T BELONG ON PIZZA” from the fucking rooftops as if they were trying to appease Jesus Christ himself. This is the de facto thing people are writing on their dating apps. Pineapple does/doesn’t belong on pizza.

Dudes: who gives a fuck? Who actually cares?

Having strong opinions about banal shit is the new “small talk.” People claim to hate small talk but don’t mind arguing about pineapple on pizza until their face turns red.

I think it’s the internet’s fault. More specifically, I think it’s content creation’s fault. Content creation has given people this concept that they must be making content all the time, and then paying them just enough to make it seem lucrative to have content. The byproduct of that is that everyone makes videos about everything because there’s a chance it might go viral and suddenly you’re making lots of TikTok money. It’s the new lottery: if you play long enough, there’s a chance you might become rich and famous. That chance is astronomically small, but playing it absolutely and always benefits the company that is providing the service. Your TikTok video may not go viral, but people will scroll past it to the juicy advertisement that nets Tencent about … ten cents.

Thus, it is ultimately worth it for corporations for you to have the biggest, dumbest opinion possible, and that plus the need to generate content constantly means that you will scrape the bottom of the barrel trying to come up with something that is appealing enough to a viewer to net you another viral lottery ticket.

We’ve coined this “the hustle,” but it’s really just making money for big corporations and them (potentially) giving you a sliver of that money back. Yes, a precious few people make a lot of money on Twitch and YouTube. But the signal to noise ratio is astronomically low. And yet, since we see people being successful, we assume that being on Twitch or YouTube will make you successful eventually. It won’t, not just on your content alone. A lot of those successful people had contacts or networked their way into success. Or were just rich already and bought it.

All of that is to say: please reconsider your strong opinion on bullshit. Nobody cares if Marvel is better than DC. That is not an opinion that should raise your heart rate. Pineapple on pizza? Who cares. Dogs on the couch? Who cares. Just live your life and worry about the bigger stuff.

Side note: I encourage every single one of you who may happen to read this to please curate your social media feeds and try to weed out overly negative people. The video game content industry is a big offender for this. Your life will be better if you don’t surround yourself with constantly negative people. I promise you.

random nonsense

Mastodon is Not Nicoderm

It’s Monday, the Monday after a full week of Elon Musk owning Twitter. I deactivated my Twitter account on a whim after just kind of being done with it. Not my account, per se, but the vibe of Twitter in general. It’s just off. It’s bad. The sociological decay rate of social media seems to put the Best By date around 10-15 years after its inception. So, I once again signed up to Mastodon, after deleting my previous two attempts and then realizing that I can’t get my old usernames back. Oh well, who cares.

A lot of Mastodon now is reactive: people reacting to Twitter, mostly. It’s not really a society as it is a shared trauma experience, one where we’ve all collectively escaped from our abuser and are now qualifying ourselves in reaction to that. It’s annoying, is what I’m saying.

This Monday, I feel the itch. The itch to tweet. To say something dumb on Twitter. I’ve tried on Mastodon:

This is what I would call a Quintessential Josh Tweet. A QJT. Something dumb that would pop up in my head and that I’d type out on Twitter as fast as humanly possible. This is Weird Twitter. My type of people are people who would see this tweet and appreciate the humor. They don’t have to laugh, just appreciate.

But Mastodon doesn’t scratch that itch, for two reasons: one, I don’t know enough people there. That’s fair, I just started up again. And two, this is not what I’m seeing on my timeline. This one’s a little more difficult to fix. You have to find the right people. But in a way, I don’t want to find the right people. I don’t want to join a “comedy” instance because then it’s all people trying to be comedians. Plus, as Mastodonians continue to remind us, instances don’t even matter because you can see other people’s posts1I refuse to call them toots. across all instances. Fans and friends, that’s all I want. And not even “fans” necessarily, more like … appreciaters.

Mastodon is a poor nicotine patch for Twitter, despite all the tech folks trying to convince us that it is. Decentralization is good perhaps but for social media? The concept of “decentralizing” a thing where the point is for people to come together doesn’t make much sense to me. I read a post from someone saying that they should rename “instances” to “communities” … like Google+, which failed. I think Google+ failed in part because a social media concept like Twitter–fast paced, short messages–wants to relate to people in a general sense, rather than a specific, community sense. In other words, you don’t want to have to negotiate a bunch of community “threads” to find things that you want to read. Plus, you can already create your community on Twitter by curating who you follow. Now you want me to split that again into communities?

There’s a vast, vast difference between what people in tech think social media should look like, and how the general populace operates social media. Tech wants to bring in features, but most people want the app to be as simple as possible. People don’t want to know about instances. They just want to post things and read things, and they want to know how to block people. Mastodon is pretty much this simple, it’s just that the users are making things confusing by constantly elaborating on stuff that I don’t care about. I don’t really care about instances; I do care about Mastodon being able to quickly and effectively “sever the limb” of alt-right/extremist instances. But I want no part of that. I just want to read and post things, and I want the things I read to be things I like, not people constantly telling me how great Mastodon is and all the multitudinous things I can do with it.

Thankfully, Elon Musk is absolutely fucking up when it comes to running Twitter, which is delightfully hilarious in a way. Guy’s like a five year old who got handed a $1,000 camera and thinks he’s going to take Pulitzer Prize winning photographs with it, but then the first photo we see is just a blurry dog’s anus. “I did it!” he cries. “Give me my Pulitzer now.”

Something makes me think this is one big misguided attempt to try and get Grimes back. “Look, Grimes, I bought Twitter!” he types into his phone. Sends text. Is left on read.

I think Mastodon will mellow out over the next few weeks as the adrenaline of leaving Twitter wears off and everyone realizes it’s just another app. They’re all just apps. Meaningless, ultimately. Get food, get sleep, procreate to extend the life of the species. Then very far down the list: check social media accounts.

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    I refuse to call them toots.