I used to think they were so tedious. Those ridiculous people who left social media with trumpet sounds and angel music to wave them off. They’ll be back – they always come back. It drove me crazy that ‘getting off social media’ was this virtuous act that would allow you the ability to forever look down your nose at the rest of the poor plebs who would remain trapped in their cesspits arguing endlessly about Brexit and Piers Morgan.
Well I did leave, albeit without the fanfare. But given I did it over 6 months ago, I feel I can now put some skin on the bones. Because honestly, despite the vom inducing nature of a blog like this, I have to say it has been wonderful.
Sure, in these weird times, it means I don’t get to see or hear from all my friends and acquaintances, see their wedding photos, new children, what they’re up to with their lives, and that’s a bit of a shame. But honestly, maybe it was just the little nest I’d built for myself in my little corner of the internet that did it, but it was getting too much. Politics, Brexit, Tories, “Boris” was all that was ever being discussed. And that’s fun for a while, but not forever.
When you find yourself on the opposite side of a debate while everyone is worked up into a frenzy, it is exhausting. Even though I posted less and less frequently, I could still see it all. All the lies, the distortions, the pettiness, the frustrations all being spilled out onto the internet. I did my fair share of it over the years.
I’ll always be able to pinpoint the moment it happened. I wasn’t planning it, I just did it. 10.01pm, 12th December 2019.
One minute after I saw the election result predicting a Conservative landslide, I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone and that was that. A couple of weeks later I suspended my accounts. Not deleted, as I still use Messenger, and I’ve used the marketplace to sell some things, this blog will even be posted there, but it’s not there to be scrolled through or looked at.
I couldn’t bear to see the inevitable roar of rage that was about to be unleashed. My circle of friends consists of people from Liverpool (my home city), people from the comedy world (whom I have met whilst doing standup) and others. That means Labour, left wing, Remain – not exactly the audience for an exit poll like that one.
It certainly wasn’t the result I was expecting (or desiring), but my goodness was it going to be unbearable to be a part of that reaction. If the Brexit debate had taught me anything, it was to not swim out into the ocean when you see black clouds incoming.
So I left. And it has been pure, unadulterated bliss. No more shouting and screaming (digitally of course), no more feeling the need to defend even those who I dislike, no more feeling the need to balance everything out, nothing. I’m free. I’m going to post this on social media and I won’t even read any reaction. I’m not interested any more.
There is no moral message to this – it isn’t a recommendation or a warning or anything like that. It is merely a story. I was on Facebook for the best part of a decade, Twitter less so but still regularly opened. And now I no longer have the urge to open them up, life is easier for me.
I’m aiming to restart the blog and try and make it regular again (with furlough and a worldwide crisis, it feels like a good time), but I no longer care about or will even see the reaction to it. So don’t take it personally if I’m not responding, I honestly just won’t see it.
No doubt I miss a lot of you. But it’s been for the best. Maybe I’ll see you again in real life – but probably not any time soon.