Burnout, and the social media time sink

I’m not sure how long I can keep this blogging and Tweeting going for, I’m spending all my time on Covid and politics and there’s only so long that you can spend all day every day until 4 in the morning and neglecting everything else in your life when you’re not being paid for it. Thanks for a few recent donations which have come in, but I have the old catch-22 of not having a big enough audience to sustain this financially, so it’s going to end eventually, but I’m going to try to keep going for a while longer.

Here’s the other thing. Social media. For me, it’s Twitter. It sucks up so much time. I know a lot of readers here hate social media, and I don’t blame them. I’m not even going to go into its many bad points here, just the time-wasting bit. Well, not exactly wasting, because I come across a lot of good material via it. It’s not all bad, and it does provide an alternative voice to the media. But it’s a black hole for time, and I have become increasingly unproductive in producing my own articles in recent months and it’s mainly because of time spent on Twitter. (I also keep getting behind on putting up good submissions that come in.)

Recently things have come to a head, because Twitter has clearly started ‘throttling’ me once I started tweeting about the US election. My retweets and likes have dropped off a cliff. So I’ve been forced to bite the bullet and made a decision that I’ve been thinking about for months, and that is to drastically cut down on Twitter, and concentrate on writing articles/blog posts.

The thing about Twitter isn’t that you get obsessed with your likes and retweets. It isn’t the supposed “dopamine hits” you get from that. It isn’t for me anyway, I don’t even pay much attention to that (it’s usually my wife who tells me that one of my tweets has had a lot of retweets). For me it’s the “I’ll just look at one more account” issue. You look at that account, and not only does that take time, but that takes you into looking at numerous other things, and a few articles, and then 45 minutes has gone by, and then you think “I’ll just look at one more account” again, and the whole thing starts over again. You do this because you’re thinking, “What if there’s some recent update I need to know about?” You get an obsession with the latest news, and needing to know about it, and you’re anxious in case you’ve missed out on it.

This is a weird frame of mind for me to be in, because for most of my life I was the opposite. I was a philosopher who was completely uninterested in current affairs and day-to-day things. So how did I end up this way? I think it’s because I (and many others like me) have ended up on a war footing. This happened gradually, but really ramped up once Brexit happened, and has been in place ever since. Life become a constant battle against the left (I include Theresa May and Boris Johnson in that loose categorisation).

In other words, we really are in a kind of war, a cultural and political war. It’s not a war that I ever wanted to be in, and I greatly resent it taking over my life, but when the enemy attacks you have to do your part. So I think that’s why so many of us have become news junkies. It’s because when you’re in a war getting hold of the latest information becomes extremely important, and you fear missing out on it. That’s what we’re doing now. We’re after the latest dispatches from the various front lines.

Then again, it’s not a physical war, and my life isn’t immediately threatened by not having the latest news, so I need to get out of that mindset. I can do more good by writing a considered blog post than by trying to read the whole of Twitter in one day and produce fifty Tweets. And that mindset is also contributing to my feeling of burnout (which I had in the 2000s when I stopped my original blog, so I know how that can end).

So I’m going to try to reduce Twitter to keep this blog going, for a while anyway (at least to publish submissions, if nothing else). But I don’t know how successful it’s going to be. There’s only so long I can stand reading and writing about the same things over and over. And I need to start doing some more physical exercise again, I can feel my body turning to crap as I sit at a desk all day and night. I need to start writing fiction and music again. I need to spend more time with my family. I need to do various DIY jobs around the house before it falls apart. I need to lie down in a darkened room and rest for a few weeks. Also, I need to earn some money doing something real at some stage. So the blog may falter anyway. But at least now others have picked up the anti-lockdown baton.

(If I can’t keep it up then of course I’ll understand if subscribers on Patreon or SubscribeStar cancel their subscriptions.)

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18 thoughts on “Burnout, and the social media time sink

  1. A couple of thoughts:
    – life isn’t single issue. So your life shouldn’t be around a single issue
    – the likelihood of one man in a sea of millions fixing the problem (whatever it is) alone is so close to zero it’s not worth worrying about
    – if you don’t have an income stream, you’ll starve to death. This is not conducive to winning anything

    So step back. Perhaps settle on a small list of things it’s worth concentrating on. Pretend you’re employed to do this, whatever it is, and do it 40 hours a week (or 25, or whatever) and no more. This will force you to prioritise. This will increase your effectiveness.

    To further increase your effectiveness, seek (and hopefully find) some group with roughly similar goals. Join them. Spread the word. Recruit (all within those 25 hours a week, or whatever).

    Keep publishing other folk. Less effort for you, and provides extra interest to the readers.

  2. Twitter is an addiction. The best way to control that kind of addiction is to go Cold Turkey. Cancel your Twitter account with extreme prejudice; deep-six Faceplant and LinkedIn at the same time. Be like the Spanish landing on the shores of the New World — burn your ships, and move forward to glory.

    Good luck with re-establishing some balance in your life. I hope you can find the energy to keep this valuable blog going — you are doing the Lord’s work.

  3. As an aside, decades ago there was a Twitter-like craze for Citizen Band (CB) radio. Everyone was having a CB radio installed in their cars and chatting to other drivers as they drove down the highway. Over time, the Usual Suspects came to dominate the airwaves with vituperation & stupidity, and most people cured themselves of CB addiction.

    The same thing will happen with Twitter. It will still be there, but occupied only by the losers in this world. That is already happening with Faceplant, whose user group is trending older & older. Time to get ahead of the curve. As the song said:
    Be the first one on your block
    To send Twitter home in a box.

  4. I guess you don’t miss what you’ve never had, so my Twitter-time is zero. It sounds as if you should give it up – like the demon drink, there’s little desire until you’ve dabbled, then it’s hard to stop.
    But this blog has been and hopefully will continue to be a beacon of sanity and showing properly displayed graphs – you know, the ones which inform rather than worry – which has been a rational lifeline in these insane times. Please continue as long as possible – there are few others doing as much to blow away the fog of confusion belched by our useless ‘leaders’.

  5. Social media can be addictive even if it’s just following endless links when obsessed about a subject. At least you’ve identified this as a problem, so definitely step back and do other things, especially more physical activity.

    I tend to veer between an impulse to ignore what’s going on in the news and getting obsessed about reading up on Covid, or any other issue du jour.

    Go for a walk, explore the countryside, read books, listen to music, earn money. The world will still be there doing it’s thing regardless of what we do.

  6. Thank you very much for your unselfish dedication to seeking the truth, Hector! You are very much appreciated by your readers – a select (if exclusive) band.

    I agree that you ought to think seriously about going “cold turkey” on blogging and tweeting if you feel your life is going the wrong way. As BlokeInTejas said in the first comment here, one man alone cannot hope to fix the problems of the world. You have already contributed mightily by giving us regular sane, balanced, reliable information and data.

    I am sorry not to have followed up my intention (months ago) to write an article for you. After quite a lot of data gathering, I came to the conclusion that everything that is to be said was already out there. The problem wasn’t a lack of information, but a lack of people paying attention to it.

  7. Thank you so much. Please take care of yourself and family first.
    I was frustrated yes, and exactly, why one of the reasons I quit FB, Twitter, and stopped listening to the mass media propaganda. Changed browser to Brave, and consciously avoid products advertised in fake press. Any alternative to the narrative opinion is met with bullying, and lynch mob hostility. Just, enjoy these sort of forums. Sure we may not want be listened to by many. Though does the lack of audience make the message any less important?

  8. One of the few things that David Cameron said with which I agreed was “too many tweets make a twat”. Dump Twitter, it’s an over-controlled left-wing echo-chamber. Much the same can be said of facething and linkedin.

    This blog has been an excellent source of information, data analysis done “properly” and clarity of thought from yourself and your other contributors. It’s a worthwhile task, even if you row-back on blogging yourself and limit your activity to publishing quality work done by others.

    My “two-penn’orth”.

  9. I was in a similar situation a few months ago. I’ve always detested social networks, but I did join Twitter once COVID-19 had become a household name. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. Twitter allowed me to connect with people who were also appalled by what was going on, and I desperately felt I needed to do that to preserve my sanity.

    After a while, though, I realized Twitter was doing the opposite to me. Instead of preserving my sanity, I felt like I was losing it. Ultimately, Twitter is a place for people who have too much time on their hands. I will admit Twitter has its uses – it’s a good way to follow people who interest you in real time, and it’s a good way to stay on top of things. But the costs outweigh the benefits. In the end, you find yourself fighting puerile battles you will never win, usually with people not worth fighting. Whose mind has ever been changed after a debate on Twitter?

    I started feeling angrier, more enraged, at people I didn’t know and had never met. I began to experience emotions that were antithetical to my personality. I also realized I was getting more addicted to Twitter – it really does a good job of getting you hooked. So at one point, I decided to dump the whole thing. I deleted my Twitter account, cold turkey, and it promptly put me back in the right state of mind.

    This solution is not for everyone. If you have accumulated many followers and/or are using Twitter to promote your books, it might be worth keeping the account active. But hard limits need to be set and rigorously followed. Twitter does terrible things to smart people. I often see intelligent and gifted individuals who spend much too much time engaging with “opponents” on Twitter and looking utterly pathetic as they do it. You only live once, and you ain’t getting all that time back.

    I do hope the blog won’t falter. You’ve got a good thing going here.

  10. Twitter is 99% a cess-pit. A slithering mass of psychotic reptiles. (I look at it, from time to time, over a VPN to see if eg. Heneghan or Levitt has something new elsewhere.) IMHO, dump it.

    Think about what your strengths are. I concur with folk above they’re mainly in this blog: writing analytical posts, and providing some bandwidth to other well-chosen voices.

  11. @Hector

    So how did I end up this way? I think it’s because I (and many others like me) have ended up on a war footing. This happened gradually, but really ramped up once Brexit happened, and has been in place ever since. Life become a constant battle against the left (I include Theresa May and Boris Johnson in that loose categorisation).

    Same here, Brexit Ref was the start – I believed I had a duty to counter the Gov’t & MSM lies and the never ending “We need more information” claims

    I too am becoming burnt out by Gov’ts complete rejection of alternative (non-Left) views, advice and Freedom.

    Biden fraud win is maybe last fight back. Why? See PS

    Left: After campaigning for Major in 1992, I publicly declared he was a socialist in 1994 and left party

    Twatter, Gab, FB etc – I refuse to be sucked in and don’t use

    Maybe you should appoint a deputy or two to share load and review & post submitted articles. Merge, collaborate with Toby at FSU & LS?

    Can you hear the people sing?
    Watch this message of hope again and have a think about world establishment reaction and what & where we are now

    Depressing: establishment, Left and msm around world have stifled it and now using Covid-19 to nail coffin shut and burn it



  12. Biden – Mao, Stalin

    Now we have: AOC led Media & Dems threaten lists and punishment for Trump supporters
    ‘Trump Accountability Project’: The making of lists never ends well
    eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diJVQ93dJhQ
    eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuRC4-eOajs

    Biden Fraud
    Probably the best


    – Do Not Lockdown.
    – Covid no worse than ‘Flu (IFR ~0.14%)

  13. The internet ain’t, by a very very long chalk, real life. Trouble is, people allow themselves to get sucked in and then treat it as such.
    I see it on one of the few other sites I look at, one I imagine to be a fair way from “social media”, whereby someone gets upset after being insulted by another and really takes it to heart. My response is to tell them that “It’s only the internet, not reality” and to either ignore it or take the piss out of the insulter.
    There have been several discourteous exchanges on there recently about the US presidency. I stand back dispassionately and think, “I’ve been on this Earth for 74 years, and not once during that time has the American president, whoever he is, ever affected me directly”. Frankly, I don’t give a flying fuck who’s in the seat or what party they represent . Life IS too short to care. Sorry.
    If I may Hector, my advice would be not to go anywhere near these things, your life will be much easier without them. Your articles on here are appreciated.

  14. @John W

    I don’t give a flying f*** who’s in the seat or what party they represent; never affected me directly

    Naive statement, it affects everyone in world as USA is larger than rest of G7 combined

    How not who is the point. It’s the blatant fraud enabled by establishment, media and tech to install an establishment figure-head that matters and concerns. If voters are not allowed to choose winner there’s no point having elections

    We’ve plenty of vote fraud in UK, and it will now increase. We should all be worried as it’s the path to dystopia:

    The ‘Great Reset’ is about pushing ‘us toward the socialist-left Marxist worldview’

    Imagine no possessions: Watch the deleted World Economic Forum 2030 video
    Key WEF Advert: https://youtu.be/yt0c-di1MSA?t=297
    Full: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt0c-di1MSA

    It’s Huxley’s Brave New World made real

    A statistical case against a Biden win
    (Foreign as YT censoring)

  15. Pcar,
    You talk as if I’m a country, rather than an individual! I may be “naive” by your standards, but things I can do nothing about simply don’t concern me, and I’m afraid I lack your knowledge when it comes to being so certain about matters “dystopian”, or who’s done what to whom in US politics!
    When I was 25 I did care about the things you talk of, but for me that was half a century ago, and little has changed in that time, except my attitude. There are still wars, corruption, cruelty, avarice, etc, all the usual stuff that makes the world go around, greed, political finagling, greasy poles etc etc. I am sick of hearing references to “1984”, Huxley, “The Great Reset” (whatever that is!), World domination, blah blah blah. And, do you know what?-the internet, the computer, social media (may it rot in hell) have conspired to make it all worse!
    I’m sorry, but I feel I should let you know that when you reach “a certain age”, other more pressing matters intrude!
    So Pcar, I still don’t give a flying fuck who the president of the US might be.
    Republican or Democrat-they’re both cheeks on the same arse! Much the same as here really.

  16. @John W
    You still miss the point – it’s not “who wins”. It’s free & fair elections without establishment fraud that matters

    Doesn’t affect you? Biden’s Covid & Health advisor wants everyone over 75 dead

    “Cheeks on same arse” – exactly, that’s why they want Trump, Farage etc gone

  17. Pcar,
    Your remark regarding Biden’s advisor is, surprisingly for you, beneath contempt! Do you seriously think that Emanuel will stick to his ridiculous view, now he’s working for Biden? Seriously? Come on man, you can do better than that! So no, whoever the US president might be, will still not affect my attitude.
    Anyways up, with the demise of Hector’s site, regretfully we have to say goodbye. Maybe see you on Tim’s one day.

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