Social media blackout

© Dan Piraro

So overwhelm. Such full. Very words. Wow.

On Tuesday this week my brain reached its holding capacity and I deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts. It wasn’t a flounce-out, it was the sudden dawning of understanding that my brain needed some quiet. Some Time Out.

Over the last few days, as the fog has cleared and the quiet inner spaces have returned, I’ve started to realise how much social media affects the workings of my brain. I love social media, I love how it affords me, as an introvert with (usually mild) social anxiety, a way to connect with people in a non-threatening way. Even better, I can WRITE my thoughts rather than trying to filter them through my vocal cords (a process that is rather more messy and incoherent and often involves a lot of tripping over my tongue). And you can edit! What’s not to love?


The endlessness of it. The inane chatter (of which I am guilty as well). The constant spikes of outrage, the invasion parade of other people’s shit into my rather overwhelmed mind. Until recently I haven’t had a “smartphone” capable of connecting efficiently to social media sites so I’ve been able to escape the temptation of connecting via phone, but now that my phone has that capability I have nowhere to hide. No corners left.

And clearly, this is a problem.

I never make the mistake of assuming my problems and solutions are universal, so I’m well aware there are plenty of people for whom this isn’t a problem. But it is for me. I need the dark time to shut down and process the world. I need mental space from other people, from negative news that spirals me into despair. I need time to let my brain recover from the onslaught of images and words that are disconnected fragments, instead of a coherent narrative.

So when I reactivate my accounts, I’m giving myself permission to protect myself. I will focus on sharing the good stuff, not the bad, even though I understand awareness is important. I will take a break every month to allow myself the dark quiet space free from shallow chatter. And hopefully, I’ll start to feel like a real person again, instead of an avatar with networks who writes words on a screen. I’d prefer it if the majority of words I write on the screen construct a story, not constitute a mad flailing of cyberlimbs.



4 thoughts on “Social media blackout

  1. These are wise words Stacey. I have been thinking of designating a day a week free. I don’t have the internet turned on on my phone, but of late I have felt that the constant attention they train you into is eroding away my clear thinking time.

    • It’s funny how I’ve sat down at my computer, checked my email and then felt lost. What do I doooo?! I have definitely felt more productive though, being forced to find other things to do with my time.

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