Jasraj Hothi

Follow @jasraj on Micro.blog.

Why I'm quitting social media.

(Published here on my micro blog and then shared on my Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram accounts… perhaps for the last time)

As I write this I’m waiting for my new simple phone to arrive, the Mudita Pure.

[EDIT (added Feb 2022): After reading some of the early user reviews on the Mudita forum, and also being spurred into using an old Blackberry Classic, like I used previously when going minimal, I’ve since cancelled and been refunded for my Mudita order. I’ll either end up using my makeshift simplephone / BlackBerry for as long as it lasts, or instead purchase an alternative simple phone]

2022 is my year of FOCUS, and I’ve decided to take further action to this end beyond removing my iPhone from my life.

I’m about to quit LinkedIn, Instagram and - the biggest one for me - Twitter. (I’ve already deleted Facebook in the last year or so).

In the past, I’ve had stints away from WhatsApp, but these changes will be the most drastic ones I’ve taken since… well, since I was in my teens and blissfully away from social media (the closest thing we had back then was MSN Messenger after school, if anyone remembers those days).

If it wasn’t for my blogging, I would have come off of social media a while ago. Up until this point, I’ve kidded myself into thinking social media is contributing to my marketing efforts.

Ha. I hardly ever post on Instagram (I set up an account this Summer only to stay in touch with international friends I met whilst nomading in Madeira over the Summer.

Since I left the City nearly 7 (yes, SEVEN!) years ago now, I’ve largely avoided LinkedIn like the plague as I’ve carved out a less-corporate, new identity for myself as a writer-slash-solopreneur. I’ve logged in now and again, but I’m finding LinkedIn increasingly noisy, overwhelming and - dare I say it - Facebook-esque.

In leaving LinkedIn I’ll also be leaving behind all the connections I’ve made, and a handful of recommendations I’d received, but I don’t see myself returning to recruitment so that’s not a big deal for me.

And then there’s the biggie for me… Twitter.

I first found “my people” on Twitter. I connected with folks whose blogs I’d found on Wordpress back on the day, or had otherwise stumbled across somehow. Twitter seemed to be both writer and introvert-friendly.

But, like all of the platforms, as they’ve all stepped up their efforts to compete for our time and attention, and grown in user size, Twitter has changed. It, too, feels noisy and overwhelming.

I’ve somehow accrued more ~2,800 followers on there, myself following just a small fraction (168) of those folks. This is in an attempt to be conscious about who I’m following and therefore what I’m reading in my feed, and connected with folks I’ve had some sort of meaningful interaction(s) with.

But I much prefer consuming blogs more intentionally, rasther than tidbits of thoughts in a neverending stream of tweets.

When it comes to my own tweeting, I’ve tried to be more intentional about tweeting, or using something like Typefully to tweet (or schedule tweets) so I don’t have to login. But all this just feels… meh.

The follower count I have has come from the time spent on the platform, with many of the folks who follow me having done so previously when I ran my introvert blogs, or we did the whole “you follow me and I’ll follow you” thing, or they’ve simply left the platform.

I get the odd like and comment here or there. And it’s not about the likes and comments. I certainly don’t want it to be. But, if not for ‘marketing’ in at least some sense, what am I using twitter for?

Certainly not in a way I’m happy with or intentional about, despite my sticking around for so long and my best efforts.

Frazzled vs focused

The thing with all of these social platforms is that they leave me feeling frazzled. Just 5 minutes on Twitter or Linkedin leaves me feeling scattered. Maybe I’m too sensitive. Or the platforms are getting busier and noisier. Or I’m just getting old.

And this year - a year where I can’t afford to be frazzled for want of focusing to meet my life and career aspirations (I’m a blogger, which means writing - to my blog and other publications - is what I’ve identified as the single most important thing for me this year).

To be honest, I already knew much of this deep own.

But a couple of things I’ve watched and read in the last year have helped me take action and feel less crazy for doing so:

(Honestly, if you do anything this year - no, this month - I would make the time for one of those^, if not both).

As well as a couple of Ignacio Carvajal’s posts:

Keeping up with Joneses

As Richard Layard explains in his book, just a couple of decades ago pre-digital age, the comparisons we made were with those who lived on our street, or were otherwise in our social circles – i.e. colleagues, extended family, and so forth.

These days, our ‘circles’ have been expanded – thanks to the internet – to thousands of others all over the world. So the Keeping up with the Joneses effect is increased, we compare ourselves more, and we feel unhappier.

I would also add that, back then, the comparisons we made were perhaps when we arrived home from work and saw the neighbour’s house and car, or met at a family gathering, and so forth.

Now, we’re comparing ourselves all the time, every time we’re checking our social feeds.

And I think we’re doing so even without realising it.

If you’re completely immune to this, and don’t compare yourself on any level whatsoever to others, I salute you. You’re a stronger person than I am.

A love of learning

I also have a love of learning. I love to consume and understand and learn and make sense of things.

Before, I had to seek out books or put Encarta in my CD Rom (does anyone remember Encarta?) in order learn about things.

These days, I’m consuming all the information I want to – in almost unlimited supply - and with social media my attention, and my learning, is become more fragmented and less mindful. I’m not sure my human brain, having evolved over thousands of years without technology, quite knows what to do with all of this information.

I’m not sure we were designed – or have yet evolved – to cope with it all.

A life without social media

So there you have it.

My primary methods of two-way communication from here will be email, SMS text, and micro.blog.

Micro.blog is a cross between social platform and blog, it’s a friendly community and - perhaps most importantly - it’s been designed to not be like Twitter, and the interface makes it much easier to be intentional with using it.

I’ll also be on Medium and YouTube, which I see as semi-social platforms that I have decided are worth my using (Medium for re-posting blog posts to the community of writers on there, and YouTube for sharing clips from my podcast interviews too and thus helping with discoverability). Both of those plaforms let you receive and reply to comments, and I’ll be doing so mindfully (see below).

Thus I’m very clear on my intentions with these platforms, and how I’ll be using them in a somewhat “healthy” way.

So, what next?

I’ll have to be mindful of not checking emails/notifications/forums I’m a part of too regularly.

I have Freedom installed on my laptop (no need to worry about my phone these days, as there won’t be much I can on my new simplephone), and I am thinking of restricting my access to these websites/apps to just once or twice a day, for a fixed time length(s).

I’m also continuing to hone my intentionality around information consumption, with things like:

  • consuming blogs on my Kindle vs email/computer screen
  • watching Netflix or regular television, rather than youtube
    (tbh, I’ve even thought about whether the endless stream of Netflix shows is becoming problematic)

Some final words

So it’s goodbye to social media from me.

I’m looking forward to the clarity and focus it brings me.

My most important 3 guiding values are growth, connection and freedom. I have a feeling quitting social media might nudge the dial forwards on all of these things.

Nearly 7 years ago I left my job to study a Masters in Positive Psychology (“the science of happiness”) in the pursuit of a more fulfilling life.

Here’s to conscious consumption over lazy & frazzled scrolling, messaging with limits over endless whatsapp/social streams, and time spent in the real world, over coffees and walks, rather than ‘staying in touch’ fleetingly and at a distance.

ps. If you any questions or comments to make about any of this stuff, you can send me an email at jshothi{at}gmail{dot}com

And to all the friends and acquaintances I’ve met in the ‘digital space’ - across twitter, linkedin and instagram - whether it’s been online or we’ve had the pleasure of meeting IRL… thank you. It’s been a pleasure and a part of me will miss seeing what you’re all up to. Though a bigger part of me will look forward to living - and connecting with others - more intentionally.

I hope 2022 - and the years to come - are happy and fulfilling ones for you. ✌️

ps. here’s me on the Micro Monday podcast, talking for 30mins about why I use micro.blog and what I’m generally up to these days:

🎙️ Ep. 101: Jas, aka Jasraj, slowpreneur and digital nomad - Listen on Apple Podcasts or Podbay

“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

— Sophocles