I’m not alone in wanting to break from the shackles of social media. Celebrities like Solange Knowles have taken digital sabbaticals recently, citing the need to stay away from “racist ugly ass fuck bois who reek of citronella” on Twitter and Instagram. She made that decision three days after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 15th. As a reporter, it’s hard for me to completely tune out, given that my job requires me to stay informed with what’s happening around us. But if anything needs my immediate attention, I have notifications for breaking news set up, and I still check my work email at home and on the train.
A couple of friends have suggested wiping the slate clean on Twitter — unfollowing everyone and starting from scratch. Thing is, that probably wouldn’t change much — I’d just end up just following most of the same people and media accounts. My colleague Dan Cooper took a break from Twitter for an entire week, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. Where else am I going to get live reactions to sporting events? Especially right now that the Yankees are on their way to snag another World Series pennant. (Editor’s note: Cubs, two years in a row!)
Honestly, I wish I could go back to last year, when the majority of New York City’s subway lines didn’t have cell service. That said, I also understand there are people out there who need to stay connected for more important reasons, not just to check Twitter constantly. Plus, it’s not the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) fault I have no self-control.
I’ve enjoyed my experiment so far, and now my mornings feel more pure and free from bad vibes. I’m less disappointed in humanity when I get to work, and it’s great not starting my day by worrying whether or not Trump has started World War III. Sure, that all changes as soon as I check Twitter at the office, or when I absent-mindedly break my diet for a brief second, but there’s no way to avoid reality. The only thing I can do is change the way I use social media, at least if I want to stay sane.