Checking my social media feeds one day, like many other days, I felt unsatisfied and frustrated. My thumb sliding over the smooth glass, my gaze sliding across smooth fonts and photos, my attention sliding away from anything of worth, my time sliding smoothly down the neck of the hourglass. I snapped into a small tantrum and deleted Twitter. It felt so good, I had to tweet it.
You know where this story goes. Other apps filled in: NYT, Reddit, WordPress, and my trusty Hacker News bookmark. Maybe here and there I saved a minute. I might have gazed into the glass well and wished for its approval just a little less. Probably nobody noticed any difference.
Whenever I have these soul-searching moments of blogger angst I review my attitude toward casual publishing. Many years ago I blogged to make new friends to help rebuild my broken life. It was safer before the ease of access invited comment spam and trolls and finally spoiled the garden. In the early days you were crazy if you didn’t let people leave comments. That table has turned.
Here I am sounding old. I am only going on 38.
We knew this would happen. We can’t stay mad at each other. I still slide my thumb up the smooth glass of other apps. I need to do this more seriously, less casually. I used to make real friends this way. Almost everyone I know, really.
The trick is to find a way to get the screen out from between us. This is the forgotten secret of healthy online interaction: take it offline.