How I went cold tur­key and gave up all so­cial me­dia

Three months into a digital detox, Jim Duffy is feel­ing lib­er­ated and get­ting over with­drawal symp­toms

The Scotsman - - Front Page - Jim Duffy:

Inoted with in­ter­est last week that Si­mon Cow­ell of X Fac­tor fame is feel­ing much bet­ter hav­ing rid him­self of his smart­phone. No more brows­ing Face­book and all the other chan­nels avail­able to kept him oc­cu­pied. All I can say to Si­mon is: Wel­come to the club!

This week marks my third com­plete month with no Face­book, Linkedin, Twit­ter or any other form of so­cial me­dia that used to suck up my time and in­ter­fere with the neu­ro­trans­mit­ters in my head. How does it feel? Lib­er­at­ing. The best bit is it is not as hard as you think it might be, al­beit with some work.

The week be­fore Face­book be­came the story and Zucker­berg went from hero to zero, I had de­cided to delete my Face­book ac­count. It was poignant that week to note that Face­book was now un­der the mi­cro­scope for its busi­ness prac­tices, its data col­lec­tion and its po­ten­tial harm. Global me­dia was reporting and still is that Face­book was not such a won­der­ful tech plat­form, but was in need of some foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion of how it op­er­ated and weaved it­self into our lives and psy­che. Did it in­deed lib­er­ate us, ex­tolling the tech virtue of catholic­ity or was it ac­tu­ally a huge con­straint on our time, our at­ten­tion span and our men­tal well be­ing? Re­gard­less, I had de­cided I was trail­blaz­ing and would pi­o­neer my own trek into a new world where so­cial me­dia would be ban­ished.

I let my Face­book “Friends” know that I was leav­ing – af­ter all, one does not sim­ply walk out on peo­ple. I did not wish to di­vorce my­self from peo­ple who had liked my posts and ac­cepted my of­fers of “friend­ship”. I was sur­prised that once I had penned my ple­nary post and pub­lished it, the re­sponse was mas­sively pos­i­tive. Not so much that they would no longer have to en­dure Duffy as a Face­book buddy, but that they ac­knowl­edged why I was com­ing off the plat­form and my rea­son­ing for it. With more than 100 likes and com­ments, I was off. I hit the “delete ac­count” but­ton and six years of build­ing my con­tacts was over. No fan­fare. No epi­taph. No gold watch. Just peace and quiet – and nowhere to post pic­tures of my Hungarian Vizsla.

Then for the next step in my digital detox. I was set to switch off my Linkedin ac­count, which to be hon­est was a big step. I had spent a great deal of time build­ing this net­work and it meant a great deal to me. But, like all heir­looms it had to go if I was to get clean. Again, I let all my con­nec­tions know I was ex­it­ing and again the over­whelm­ing re­sponses was sup­port­ive, pos­i­tive and a few replies were very touch­ing.

Of course there are al­ways one or two felons who like to take a swing and yes they did. Funny, they never called me ever to let me know they re­sented me or deleted their con­nec­tion with me. But, as a breathed my last digital breath on this net­work­ing plat­form they were happy to have one last acer­bic rant. God bless them – who would they now vent their piti­ful frus­tra­tion at via their key­board?

To com­plete my digital tran­scen­den­tal voy­age, it was only Twit­ter now that had to go. Ah Twit­ter, that 140 char­ac­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool that for some rea­son many users have cho­sen to use to vent, crit­i­cise, ac­cuse, de­nounce, dis­ap­prove, abuse, slan­der, vil­ify, lam­bast and de­fame oth­ers. I would have no prob­lem at all hit­ting the delete ac­count but­ton on this. In fact, as I looked at my ac­count, I hadn’t tweeted for weeks, so it was ob­vi­ously on its way out any­way. And with one click on the key­board, I

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