My friend and fellow blogger Yatahaze posted a short video on Twitter today regarding his choice to step away from the platform. It was one of the most powerful statements I’ve seen in a while, and one that I resonated with so completely that I felt compelled to write about it in his honor. This is a topic I’ve thought about a lot and have in the past exercised, and perhaps wish to again.
Social media is stressful.
Like, really fucking stressful, especially for somebody as compulsive as I am. I become obsessive over things, I become unable to break myself away from time wasters. I stop doing things in moderation. Everything else falls by the wayside.
2017 has been a great year for me. This blog has been incredibly successful relative to any expectations I had going in, and I recently teamed up with my friends at Wave Motion Cannon. These are the things I love doing. But you know what else I love? Watching anime, watching films, playing games, listening to music (damn do I love listening to music). And I barely do these things anymore because I’m spending so many of my waking hours on a social media website I’ve quit once before.
I had a Twitter account under my real name dating back to– I believe– 2009. In early 2016 it was deleted after returning from a months-long period of inactivity only to find myself falling into the same obsessive patterns. I’d made a lot of connections with big people in gaming on this Twitter, some of which I will never get back. But it didn’t matter because Twitter was actively impacting my mental and physical health. I started to feel less like a person than I did an avatar. Not only this, but around this time I also deleted my Facebook (which remains down). I was social media free.
I’ve always made great friends on Twitter. That is especially true for the people in the AniTwitter community, all of whom I consider friends. I like interacting with them, but I’ve started to notice something: compared to most I have become omnipresent. You’ve probably noticed that I’m on Twitter a lot, and that’s because it fills a lack of social activity in my real life. That’s not something that will ever change while I’m constantly glued to social media.
I’ve made an effort recently to get out more, often in the form of going to concerts or (less expensively) taking walks to areas of the city I’ve never seen despite living here for what’s going on three years. I spend so much time in my apartment that I haven’t bothered to do things less than a mile from my front door! Yet even when doing those things, I’m thinking about Twitter. I’m thinking about the next thing I can tweet. Last weekend while walking the High Line I was constantly snapping photos, not for my own want but to post them on Twitter. Nobody was going to care about these things. There are plenty of times I’m tweeting everything that comes my way without care because I have to share it with someone, hoping anyone will care in return. I have so few other outlets because social media has been an excuse not to try to find those, and even further not to leave my apartment. And when I do, I’m still in Twitter mode, and that is just not healthy.
You may have noticed that early on in my blog’s lifecycle I was posting much more constantly. Part of this was needing to establish the blog and favoring quantity over quality as a result. However, another part of it was that I was actually consuming anime, not spending my time online. You want to know why so much of my content has veered away from anime? I’m just not watching it. I haven’t been for about three months. I have to force myself to watch stuff because I know I need to fill a quota for my work here. I can’t just sit down and watch a series because even when I put my phone across the room I inevitably end up looking at it again after a few episodes, and that turns into an hour or more wherein I grow lazy and begin to waste even more time. It might take me a day to continue watching anime, rinse and repeat. Once I finish a series I just become numb at the thought of continuing this cycle. Yet I watched so much when Twitter wasn’t a part of my life. I was able to zone out the world and enjoy it. I want to recapture that, and I want the blog to reflect it.
So there needs to be a change. A big change. And sadly, the only way I can accomplish this is by mustering all the willpower I can find and going cold turkey. As such, I am going to be taking a hiatus from Twitter. I will be promoting my own blog and WMC’s content– as well as anything related to this– as it’s an obligation, but for now I will not be tweeting anything else (or if I do, it will be few and far between, but my hope is not to do even this as it can very easily cause me to fall back into bad habits). This is not forever, although I can’t say for how long it’ll last. I need to be able to rebalance my life, get away from my computer screen, spend some more time in front of my TV, do the things I love, explore outside of my four walls. My hope is to figure out how to regulate my Twitter time upon returning, but even then I could repeat this cycle and end up going cold turkey again. I can’t say. Maybe me and social media are just not meant to be together because eventually it causes immensely unhealthy patterns.
In a month I’ll be 24 years old. I feel my youth starting to waste away, and what have I done with it? I’ve spent most of it dealing with depression, locking myself away from the world. I don’t regret all of it, and some of it was out of my own control due to severe mental illness, but I also have been starting to realize that I have one chance at life and I don’t want to throw this time of my life away. I’ll never be some social animal, nor do I want to be as it goes against my introverted nature, but I do value social activity and enjoy it. I want to go to meet-ups, meet new friends, and foster the few existing friendships I have in NYC (many of whom are moving away soon, which puts even more emphasis on said meet-ups and social gatherings). I’m stepping outside my comfort zone, but what, am I never going to do that? Am I just going to remain inside my apartment staring into the abyss of the internet for the next however many years I’m alive? I’ve made this comparison before but I really do relate to Lain, and it’s why Serial Experiments Lain is one of the most personal viewing experiences I’ve ever had.
I just can’t be Lain anymore.
I want to express to you all the same thing that Yatahaze did. Anything you want me to see, or any time you want to talk to me, please reach out. My DMs are open to the public and that’s for a reason. I’m even going to go one step further: you can add me on Discord at TTM#7076. I can’t always be available here or on Twitter DM (I’ll only be checking the site when posting my content, as well as being available for a bit of time afterwards to interact with people) but I will respond when I get the chance, and I’m down to hold down a conversation from time to time. I still consider you all friends and I genuinely don’t want this to seem like I’m abandoning you.
I hope you’ll continue to read the blog but I also know that diluting my presence will mean that for many I will fade away, my blog will become less of an interest when a post crosses their way. I’m okay with this because the blog is not my life (the success of which I’ve conflated with my own self-worth for the past few months). It’s a part of it, and my work is very important and something I hope to grow further. I’m a writer, I love writing, this is who I am. But it’s also not.
I’ll see you around, I won’t be gone forever. You can expect regular content from me here, per usual. Yatahaze, your 45 second video inspired me to do something that needed to be done. I’m very grateful for that.