I think I've finally turned the corner where my social media consumption has fallen off dramatically. My engagement with Facebook and Instagram has been mostly to post stuff, since I find them useful as a diary of sorts. I haven't been scrolling much at all, and really haven't had the urge to.
A lot of this is for mental health reasons. I'm perfectly aware of the way that democracy is eroding and civil rights are being limited. I don't need constant reminders to do something about it. I also want to engage in things that are more satisfying. I've been on a maker tear for the last few months, doing videos and writing code. It's deeply satisfying to do that, so I don't even get the urge to engage in doomscrolling. The socials aren't really adding anything valuable to my life.
The biggest reason for this isn't even the steady stream of negativity, it's that the "social" aspect has cratered. The people that I care most about and want to keep in touch with over great distances are using the platforms less and less. This decline has been going on for years, but it's extra true lately. Either that, or the algorithms just prevent me from seeing what they share. For all of the negatives around these platforms, the one thing they started with that was valuable was connecting to others. It wasn't about attention whoring or influencing or whatever kind of bullshit dominates it now. It was to be connected with other humans that I know in real life. Those humans aren't using it much anymore.
It's a real dilemma, because I don't want to lose touch with those folks, but if they aren't there either, then what's the point? Unfortunately, so much of my social circle is not local, so much of my social interaction has been online for much of the last decade. If I'm not traveling or friends are traveling here, then I'm often constrained to things like theater outings and not much else. Fortunately, there are people starting to trickle back into Orlando visits.
This is one thing in technology that I can't just say, "Screw it, I'll build my own thing," the way I have with other stuff. If the people aren't there, it wouldn't matter. I can't believe the market hasn't presented a better solution.