Taking your eye off social media even for a moment reveals a greater danger. Deep down in the dark lies the Kraken of the social sea.
Permanently moved is a personal podcast 301 seconds in length, written and recorded by @thejaymo
The Kraken in the Social Seas
I hard blocked Twitter 2 weeks ago using an app called Blocksite. I’m on the free trial still for a month but it’s going to be worth 30 bucks a year to me for sure.
Twitter is now blocked on my phone and laptop. Straight away I found a workaround to see my notifications and DMs. So I also had to set it to block any URL containing the word Twitter. Which is a little extreme I’ll admit, but cant trust myself.
I have logged in to check my DM’s and have even tweeted a few times. If you’ve seen them then know I went through a whole rigamarole to do so. The feed however has been hard blocked.
I was in bed on Saturday two weeks ago doom scrolling. I realised doing that was making me unhappy. I was getting nothing out of it at all – except anxiety.
Over the years on 301 I’ve talked about my struggles trying to reduce my use of social media, or at least engaging with it in a healthy way. The PDF Zine “Your Attention Is Sovereign” made from those episodes has been downloaded over 10,000 times. People have even written to say they appreciated what I wrote and that it helped them.
But for me personally, right now I’ve had to step away. A hard block is the only option.
It’s also not my friends, or the people I follow that make me unhappy; it’s everyone else. All the shitstorms in peoples replies.
I’ve said before that I think of social media as having weather.
Perhaps a better metaphor is as a churning social sea with complex currents and wild riptides. Flowing this way and that.
The home screen is like the shoreline. The feed flows toward you. But even then the experience is strange. The algorithmic sea washing up tweetsam and jetsam. Out of order and out of time. As it updates the tide comes in and reveals people mad about one thing or another. Then as quickly as it came that tide retreats, hours or days later. Only to expose others mad about something else, elsewhere .
Friends throw messages in bottles out into choppy waters, unsure if they will even wash up at a friendly shore.
This is why blogs are better. Like little islands with lighthouses of stability and visibility.
I’m not saying that Twitter is all bad and that you should get off it. I’m saying that it was making me unhappy so I’ve left for a while. ‘Digital Detoxes’ are for the privileged. For those who can afford to take breaks from the exhausting demands of the attention economy.
But I’m not on a detox. I’m just not using Twitter, just as I haven’t been on Facebook for a decade. I’m already reading more long form blogs than ever. My RSS is brimming with cool new people I’ve discovered clicking links in other blogs.
I have not gazed out upon the choppy waters for 2 weeks now. But after 13 years on Twitter, it’s a bit of a shock. I can feel headspace returning. I have more time. I’ve even found myself picking up a book over breakfast. Instead of the usual morning diet of tweets and podcasts and not fully engaging with either. It’s like it’s 2008 or something.
But other things have happened in the last 14 days that I’ve been shocked by to be honest. If you stop watching the social seas even for a moment it betrays the greater danger. Because deep down in the dark lies the Kraken of the social sea.
The Kraken’s arms have come bursting into the dark forest social spaces I inhabit three times already in 14 days. Whipping and thrashing around disturbing the psychic weather.
One dangerous tentacle was a spreadsheet list of artists who work with Crypto NFTs and crypto art. “Just putting it out there” the poster said. “Would it be weird if we showed up at these people’s homes and workplaces for burning the planet down?” says another screenshot I saw. 185 Retweets and 260 likes. Now I don’t know about you but doxx mobs are scary. Meanwhile another group I know are apparently pro-eugenics. Folks online have quote “had their suspicions about them for a while”. Another friend has been cancelled for spurious reasons.
When you watch this sort of drama unfold in real time is this behaviour normalised?
When you hear about it second hand it’s absolutely deranged?
If you aren’t subscribed to the Fucking Cancelled podcast btw, you should be. The first episode and the recent episode called Nobody’s Getting Cancelled: You’re All Cut Off are both well worth your time.
If you read my blog, you’ll know I’ve been working in Web3 DAO’s recently. I’ve been learning a lot about coordination and governance in virtual space. Or rather the lack of it in social networks.
I’ve come up with a personal law of the internet. One a set of Jaymo’s laws.
“If people don’t control their own collective social norms online, every network will eventually behave like 4chan”Jaymo’s Law
Only its not Lulz that motivates people now but clout. Clout is similar to lulz but the feedback is measurable. Found in the feedback loops of likes retweets etc
I just need to repeat my own maxim. Your Attention Is Sovereign.
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The script above is the original script I wrote for the episode. It may differ from what ended up in the audio due to time constraints.