In June I’ve reached my breaking point, in July I stopped consuming “the Goods”.
It was not the first time I went on a hiatus, but it was the most restrictive (and freeing) so far!
I study the political landscapes of western countries for seven years now. Seven. Fucking. Years! I focused on the state of the USA and Canada, took notes and compared how far down the road we are in Germany (yeah, I live there).
I always fell into literal binging-episodes, just like a food-addict I had to get the news everyday, during the day and when I woke up — exactly, more news. My consumption went up and down, a little rollercoaster like, a heavy period of intake followed a few weeks of lesser intake. But man, the JoJo-effect, it even exists in consuming digital goods.
Social Media Extravaganza
With social media (Insta Reels, Youtube shorts, obsessive views and like control after a post and so on) it was the same, but different. We all know how quickly “let me watch a few reels” become hours and hours of scrolling time goes down the drain. “One more reel” never felt more like a lie.
Then last year happened. I moved 500 miles through the country for a new job and the real decline began. Each and every day I would pick up the News of the day and all I basically got confronted myself with was the “News of the day” in woke-land. There wasn’t anything else. I’ve already become an expert of the dynamics of the ideology but there was no end to the need for more and more information. There was no satisfaction, just more, more, more.
In February, besides the usual social media frenzies I registered at Twitter, a platform I’ve refused to partake so far. But here I thought “hell yeah, I’ll use Twitter to promote my articles!” and the down-slide began. Even though I didn’t start escalating immediately after two months I had Corona and that’s where shit hit the fan. I wrote
- 2.500 Tweets
- containing approx 100.000 words
That’s the equivalent of 2/3 of a novel (something I dream of writing one day) or 30 to 50 articles for Medium. As I strive to write 52 articles this year I basically wasted enough words in the endless meaninglessness that Twitter conversations are with which I could have reached my goal in two weeks!
A scary formula
Admittedly, April never repeated but still, I stayed active and here we have the recipe for mental disaster.
Political News + Anti-Social-Justice-Warrior Twitter activities
= mental decline!
Especially Twitter, I have to point this out, really escalated my decline.
Twitter, and anything you do on there, literally means nothing. I realised that even during my book-writing-month of April. Nothing you say there sticks, no matter how eloquent you are, no matter how you dismantled your opponents, no matter how iron clad your arguments are. They literally disappear even whilst you are typing them in. The only thing left is the sour taste of aggravation and hollowness that led you to write whatever nothingness you put out into the Twitter-Sphere (btw: 90% of it was about politics, at least!).
Finally, in June I decided to put a stop to it! I decided to stop watching news, at all, no more social media (no posts, no scrolls, no nothing!). And I did it. And honestly, it wasn’t even that hard. I guess there really is a breaking point, where the suffrage you endured makes the suffrage you endure while “de-toxing” looks insignificant.
Now I literally don’t get any news, except those that are so impactful that they make it a part of conversations at work. And even those I tend to escape most of the time. Honestly, I literally ran away when anyone would mention anything close to being news-related. I would stop coworkers in their tracks when they wanted to talk about anything that happened. I refused to let any information of those sorts get to me and I did fairly well.
Same with Social Media. I only got weak once, when I was drunk, where I would check my instagram almost at the end of the month. But I let that slide. Because that’s how generous I am!
What did I learn out of it.
1. You can totally exist without News and Social Media
I know, it’s unbelievable. If you can cope with the disgusted looks of the people around you when you state that you don’t care anymore about anything that’s happening outside of your literal reach. News are instances of situations that are out of our control. Period! Knowing about them doesn’t do anything else than to keep you informed about what’s happening in the world. And they will leave you scared or worried or unsettled… always! There is nothing to gain, nothing to change, just something to put on your back that you are helplessly extradited to, that affects you no matter if it is 1 mile away or 1000 miles.
2. It actually frees capacities
Let me elaborate! My mind is free! It’s free of worry of a war that I can’t do anything about. It’s free of Corona and the panic-inducing horror stories about a pandemic that stopped being one. It’s free of anything horror-related that people are capable of, which only purpose for being broadcasted isn’t to have you educated but scared shitless — and that’s the best-case scenario.
Since I stopped consuming “processed” information I can focus on myself much better, for much more time each day. I finally started improving again, a road that I’m walking on for years now. I improved in every area that matters. I’m more calm, more focused, more driven, hell, out of this accumulation even comes more discipline.
3. There’s no turning back
Seriously! For now I’m over it! At least the news-side of the story. I just don’t need it, I don’t even care, honestly. If stuff will affect me I will have to deal with it, I won’t waste my time sitting in suffering and waiting for things of which most of them will never arrive at my door. It’s literally as easy as that. I rather spend my time thinking about my possibilities than about what situation at some place on earth might possibly (but probably not) affect my life.
With social media it isn’t actually as easy. I find myself slipping back sometimes, picking my phone and intuitively using Insta again, scrolling down for ten minutes. But at least I stay aware of the time I spend there and so far I quit after ten minutes max. I don’t want to do that daily, though.
Just before I started writing this article I posted on Instagram for the first time in months. I try not to look up the interactions. That’s how I want to use social media in the future — just as a tool, not as an addiction, not as a distraction and most certainly not as a waste of time. It’s like the old drug-dealers saying: don’t consume your product! (Take a second to think about that if you will, my dear five readers a month)