Social Media Detox Journal

Day 0

My strategy includes a few things. I’ve put in my /etc/hosts some entries that redirect,,, and to In Firefox, I’ve set up an addon to block access to the same websites.

On my phone, I deleted the Twitter and Tusky apps. I’ve disabled the YouTube app because I can’t uninstall that.

I’ll have to set those up on my work laptop as well if I want this to be an effective social media detox.

Already though, I’m getting that kind of notification anxiety. Is someone messaging me? Does something need my attention? It’s a little unnerving to think that only 20 minutes after setting up these roadblocks, my mind is already having a hard time coping with the anxiety of not having checked the sites for a while.

This is the exact behaviour I’m trying to rid of.

So I just finished writing down a list of reasons for why I’m doing this, and the list kind of reads like a “benefits of social media detox” list if you change the wording a little bit. Funny enough, this list also potentially includes ideas for future posts on the topics of things like Focus on a single thing, Don’t tweet, blog, and my personal favourite, Not enough time syndrome.

I’ve got a few points per reason so that when I do write that post of why I did this and what the benefits I noticed were I have something to kick off of. This is how I write a post normally, but I’ve not had a list like this that had so many subtopics that I could explore before, and I love it.

I’ve realized that every time I get up and sit back down at my computer that I’m expecting those notifications. My mind goes something along the lines of, “I wonder if anyone has replied to me. I wonder if there’s new people who wants to discuss something I posted about.”

I don’t know if that’s a human response or not though, because it’s slightly indicative of need for connection, but at the same time it’s like the video calls during the times of COVID: these are just palliative, a way to deal with the situation for the time being, not a cure or a permanent solution.

Refresh syndrome: You go back to the same page over and over again, expecting a new reply/message/notification, and that’s the dopamine hit. “Ouu, something new!”

I was browsing reddit for a little bit and I noticed that when I expanded one of the previews, I did it without looking exactly what the source of the preview would be. It could have very well been scat entertainment for all I knew. But alas, it was YouTube. When I saw Firefox’s “unable to connect”, my immediate reaction was, “cool.”

Was reading this post from the Chromium team and I started thinking about how much I have a willingness to post about it on some form of social media. Why though?

Part of it is that I want to discuss the topic. Part of it is that I feel the need to convince folks that even though a company might be evil, I don’t think we should see every person who works there as evil. The last part is that I worry that there might be a part of the story that I’m missing and believe that folks on the internet can as a whole help me to understand the sides I might be missing.

I was looking for a text-expander tool that would do system-wide text expansion and my first instinct was to ask the fediverse what they recommend for someone using a Linux distro. I ended up with espanso and I’m kinda digging it, especially since it’s basically a super simple AutoHotKey replacement.

If I would have waited for someone to recommend something and I got no recommendations, I’d likely have forgotten about it or just got impatient and did a search all on my own. Either I have saved time, will become more of an autodidact, or both. I’m fine with any of those outcomes.

On another note, and this will probably become its own post at some point, I think this is going to help me figure out why I want to be on social media in the first place. Is it vanity? Is it the connection? Is it because I want some sort of power? That’s something I’m gonna be thinking about over the next week.

Was looking at COVID stats for various countries and I got the urge to use Twitter to lambast Donald Trump for having more than 3 times the amount of deaths than practically every other country. Then I thought about how little impact that would have, and how little that affects me personally. Just something I wanted to note down and think about.

Also, this is probably going to be the longest ever post on my blog.

After half a day, I’m starting to feel disconnected after looking at my phone so many times and having no notifications, nobody to talk to online, and nobody to share my thoughts with online. This will probably push me to spend more time with my partner and that’s certainly not a bad thing I would say.

That being said, this sadness is likely some form of dopamine withdrawal and I’m sure it’s going to get worse over the next few days. Such is life, I need this.

Passing thought: I was watching a Javascript course and the man pronounced ECMA like ek-muh and I immediately wanted to poll how people pronounce it. Is that some sort of alignment mechanism that I’m defaulting to so that I can feel more “in line” with the popular opinion? Do I care too much about being “in line”? Is it not that deep? :P

Day 1

Been off of social media for a day now and it’s still feeling a little difficult. I constantly check my phone for notifications, and just before I actually look I remember that there shouldn’t be any.

The only notifications I’m getting are from people who work at my company or people who know me personally. It’s a beautiful thing, but at the same time, I’m still feeling that need for more.

Hopefully this feeling can melt away soon. I’m immersing myself in study now.

After a full day without social media from wakeup to getting off my computer, I can safely say that I’m gonna be able to do this. It’s difficult, yes. And there’s times where I look at those blue icons and want to click or tap so bad, but thank goodness I set up the roadblocks I did. I haven’t caved just yet!

Day 2

So I woke up to no notifications this morning and that was pretty nice. I got to cuddle a bit more with my partner because I didn’t feel like I had something pressing to take care of. Often in the morning there’s some work issue that’s pressing that I need to either read up on.

Maybe though, that’s some sort of distance that I need to make sure I’m doing for my own mental health. I find myself feeling a sense of urgency with any notification I receive and that sense of urgency is probably also what’s caused the compulsive checking of the notifications.

An aside: I’ve been using Ghostwriter to write this post and on Windows, I wanted to install the Ubuntu fonts. When I downloaded the fonts, I found a folder named __MACOSX! Shame Canonical!

I keep having these super random thoughts that I want to throw out that are minor frustrations. Latest example is how I hate how heavy Slack is. It’s an electron app and goddamn does it chug sometimes. It also takes some GPU to render anything.

I would have just posted that part of my opinion without considering anything else. But now that I give it more thought, I realize that yes, it means it’s easier to write-once-build-for-many, but that comes at a cost to the user.

It’s not like it’s super egregious, but I make a lot of use of the keyboard shortcuts and sometimes changes just take forever to happen and then repaginating becomes heavy too. I don’t have much more to say on the topic. I think if I allowed myself more time to think, or even decided to write a blog post using these small thoughts as inspiration, I might find myself dealing with these issues in a better manner.

Hell, I might even inspire someone to do something about it. But I think I remember someone else having written alternative slack apps?

Looks like they’re all defunct or deprecated :(

End of the day, time to relax. I was, of course, instinctively thinking “let’s check the socials!” but alas, you and I both know that’s not what I should be doing, and I didn’t. I was going to go on reddit as well, just to browse, but I’ve refrained from doing so.

Gosh, I never realized how ingrained into my habits this is and how subconscious that habit is. It’s only actually doing a real social media detox that would have revealed this, I would think.

An aside: I made some burgers today on the barbecue for the second time and oh my god they were delicious. I couldn’t bear cooking inside today with all the heat right now.

I was about to type that I regret not telling folks my email is available to use during this time, but another part of me said that instead, I should feel proud.

Email could have become the same stupid compulsive notification checking in this moment. I would set up a PO box so folks could send me real mail, but I don’t think I’d receive enough letters for that to be worth it.

Such is life.

I’m currently reading an article in that someone has deleted their instagram (for real this time) and one of the things that clicked with me (and which I’ve written about earlier in this post) was that they would mull, on and off, some thing to post and how they would post it.

I’ve felt the same way, but I’m also inclined to think, “why put so much mental effort into a post less than 500 characters?”

In my opinion, we check social media so often for the same reason we open our fridge 12 times a day or drink beer at a party: to numb what we’re feeling or to produce a false sense of comfort and validation. - That article

So I was watching Philip DeFranco’s weekdaily news show and I kind of experienced some of the same building anger/frustration but primarily it was around the utter stupidity shown by some individuals in regards to the COVID-19 situation in various US states.

The worst part is that there’s basically no direct effect on me as these things transpire. If I didn’t know these things and didn’t watch the news regarding these things, I would feel and behave no different. I don’t think that it’s worth keeping up on and I find myself more and more dismayed every time I realize this but don’t do anything about it.

But how do I replace that? Should I replace that? What part of it do I get satisfaction out of? Why do I keep coming back, knowing that I shouldn’t? Sure Philip DeFranco’s a cool guy but I can’t just hold onto him because he’s him. I need to think of myself. I’m at a loss of words for my cognitive dissonance.

Oh how ephemeral these social media posts are. Just to think that there’s the potential that when I finish my social media detox, when I post this journal folks are going to be talking about how they didn’t even know I was doing this. That that single update that may have meant a lot to me and my partner, but evidently meant basically nothing to (at least) 80% of the people I’ve personally interacted with online.

I could easily just set up a bot reminding people but that feels a little cheap and not in the spirit of things.

Lastly, in reading other people’s experiences with social detox I’m realizing that I really don’t interact with social media the way that those people do.

I’ve previously thought about the idea of a closed door {needs context} when writing to be a temporary thing, for the time you’re trying to write in that specific day. I had been told, “to write, you must find your closed door time first.” I thought it was just for the day you’re writing.

But then I realized today it actually means secluding myself from the world in a meaningful way for a bout of time longer than a day and perhaps longer than a week at a time.

Maybe I’ll do another detox the moment I feel like writing again.

Day 3

I’m noticing that any time I feel the urge to go to social media, it’s because I want to post something that, before the internet, would go into someone’s journal. I want to post about some tensions going on at work, but that doesn’t seem like the sort of thing I should be sharing in public.

It’s not that I want to curate my feed so that I only show the good, it’s just I’ve never thought of this before.

I’m feeling extremely distracted today, but I can’t be sure whether it’s because of the heat.

Damn, I’m reading stuff about KCS and I just can’t stop thinking, “I wonder what’s going on on Twitter right now. The US has just hit 100k deaths, how are they taking that?”

But the thing is, I know full well just about how well it’ll be on Twitter. Staunch dems are going to lambast Trump, staunch republicans will praise him like nothing went wrong, and everyone in between will keep on with their pissing contest arguing about how bad things really are.

It’s useless information, especially if I already have my own opinions about what’s going on.

Day 4

After work right now all I want to do is mindlessly browse social media. It seems like social media’s been some sort of escapism that I’ve been addicted to for longer than I realize and more intensely than I realized.

It doesn’t help that outside is the 7th level of hell in heat right now. This is good timing though, as I have a huge bunch of documentation to read for a KCS certification that my work is paying for.

Lots of reading, lots of ideas going through my brain, and luckily after about 30 minutes, none of those thoughts related to social media.

Day 5

I got through a healthy chunk of the KCS documentation last night. Here is a link to the documentation I’m referring to. It’s a lot of reading but I’d say that if you’re anyone who works in a service-type role, or play the role of a project manager in FOSS, it’s super useful.

Document early, document often :)

That being said, I didn’t think of going on social media when I woke up. I went straight to the weather app on my phone, to check the temperature and then got right into the shower.

I began taking a walk in the morning around my neighbourhood to simulate the habit of going to work every morning. I do it in a loop so it’s not like I’m going over the same bit of path, allowing for some semblance of having travelled somewhere.

Day 6

I thought I had started my detox last Saturday but it looks like that’s not the case from when this document was created! It’s a shame I made that mistake but I’m glad I didn’t just assume it to be true without checking, going onto social media and ruining it.

I’ve allowed myself some lazy YouTube time this morning as I like to usually relax on Saturdays in the morning but not too long. Maybe 40 mins or so.

I’ll be going back to the KCS docs to try and get a good 2 hours of that on but there’s no telling how long I’ll be able to go for real. Hopefully longer.

Day 7

I didn’t actually have a journal entry for this day but I’m going to close this post off with some conclusions that I’ve drawn from looking back at the week.

I waste way too much time on social media between going down rabbit holes, getting in useless arguments with conspiracy theorists, and at the very least just checking notifications. All of this time spent could be used for productive means like learning a new skill, reading some of the many books I intended to read this year, or even just being by my partner’s side as we relax outside.

I crave that hit of dopamine. I don’t crave it as much as some, but definitely more than others. I check my socials moreso to check for reply notifications so at least there’s more depth than just seeing if someone liked my post or not, but I’m not a fan of even just that. I should be going on social media because I want to start a discussion, not to see if someone’s paid enough attention to a post to reply.

I’m not mindful about my social media use. That’s what this exercise in discipline was for, and I think I’ve become at least a small bit more mindful. Scrolling away on Twitter or constantly refreshing my YouTube subscriptions is something I’ve probably collectively used about an hour each week for. I want that to change.

Finally, I think I need a longer social media detox.

It’s difficult to do this at this time because of confinement rules and with all the social justice being raised. I feel guilty for not saying more but I also know that if I make a misstep it could garner more attention for me than I’m comfortable with.

I’m by no means the right person to stand up right now. I’m listening.

If you want to share your thoughts with me, feel free to send me an email at