A Year Outside

Twitter used to be my only active social media presence online. It was an old account, going back all the way to 2007 and it had a huge amount of content I had posted over that time into 2021. Deleting it was both easy and difficult. Easy, because I most of my interactions there had thinned down to nearly zero and I was concerned with the effect it was having on my mental health.

Difficult, because nearly 15-years of conversations, friendships, content — they are not easy to let go of. And, for all we fault these platforms, when we die the odds that what we created will live on for a long time is far better with a public platform than a self-hosted one. But, it was the right decision as life has been far more focused and manageable even in these times of extreme chaos.

It is not a life that is not entirely private. Even if I lock it down, my phone software will have multiple parties sending data about my whereabouts. Apps will read my text messages and infer what all I have purchased. Mobile phone companies have data about my location at all times. That way, the deletion is more about erasing your own public presence online than having even a laughable chance at having a truly private life.

Technology can be weaponized to aid policy, but technology cannot be a defense against an intrusive policy. But, I digress. I am not here to discuss that aspect of it. At least in India, that ship has sailed long ago and it is not coming back to port for a long time. And, by then, the damage done would be too severe to be repaired.

Instead, what I did find interesting was how easy it was to not share much of my thoughts or what I have seen or experienced in a day. When I die, all those thoughts and experiences will go away with me; almost like they never happened. It is such a unique thing in the current world where to share is the norm.

And that provides a sort of meditative filter for my thoughts. I do not have to frame my thoughts to get the maximum reach or tag the right people to so that it spans cliques and networks. Anything that is not really important to me is wasted thought and it allows me to think deeper and talk to myself without distractions.

I know it sounds a bit loony, but I have been relishing living this way. I do read up a bit on social media. There are a few people I check on regularly without an creating an account on Twitter (which the company is trying its darnedest to stop), but I use the browser’s autocomplete or bookmarks to open their profiles. The menace of the algorithmic timeline is a limited one for me.

Eventually, I’d love to do away with this too, settle down in a quiet corner of the planet with books to read and writing to do. But that needs a level of income security that I don’t have. So, information is a necessary evil.

I don’t see going back to any of these platforms again, unless work demands it. It is very nice to sit down with just yourself and go deep into something that takes your fancy.

Never mind.