Unmedia by TM O'Leary – One
It started with this entry in my offline “TXT” journal on my new Chromebox:
Out Of Touch (with world happenings)
So many things happen every day in the 24 hour news cycle. I pay attention to, and keep up with basically NONE of them. No social media, no cruising sites like CNN or The Guardian, no “recommended” stories on Google Chrome, nothing. I am 100% at peace with this, and just at peace in general for being blissfully unaware of the troubles of the world. It's been 10+ years of almost daily media consumption – as of May 2020, I stopped reading the news, as of September 2019, I closed all my social media accounts, and I will never look back.
People talk, and the people they are talking to generally know what they are talking about, but I am not “current”. I just say things like “who's that?”, “when did that happen?”, and of course – “that's crazy!”. I feel like my mind and psyche are “healing” from my removal from media matters. Kind of like not using the Internet (which I did for weeks on-end before (several times) since 2015), only now I have the best of both worlds by building cool stuff online, writing online, having scant (but meaningful) communication online (usually through e-mail), but none of the toxic byproduct of CONSUMING anything and everything online.
I should write an e-book about this. Maybe?
...but did it really start there? I suppose it kind of started in early-2015 when I was having nervous breakdowns all the time from a wide range of issues I was facing in my life. I had moved to St Louis in October, 2014 with the hopes of finishing the book that I was writing about my time at Job Corps, selling the book, and having a more free, more independent life in “the big city”. I managed to fill the (digital) pages with 100K words over the course of a year, but I was completely burnt out on the project, had no credentials with which to land a literary agent, had been through a gauntlet of different psychiatric medications (and psychiatrists) to help me with my mental health issues, but what I truly needed was a “time-out” from all the anxiety-inducing dread and fear I saw on a daily basis being fed to me through the WWW. I decided (over the course of a couple weeks) that I was going to take a hiatus from the Internet. I prepared for this by giving my MacBook, iPad, and smartphone to my sister (for safe keeping), activate a dumbphone for communication, and buy and old school typewriter to document whatever happened in my time away. I managed to keep my hiatus going for three weeks, and hammer out 75 pages of “thoughts, ideas, and concepts” in the meantime on the typewriter – but I came back to the Internet more defeated than ever, but at least it was a “calm defeat”.
Between 2015 and 2017, I took many hiatus' from the Internet. The longest stretching four weeks in early-2017. Each time I learned something new, but the thing I learned during that last hiatus, was that the Internet is really useful, and really convenient, and, if used the right way, really fun! So I needed a hybrid of quasi-regular Internet usage/access, and time spent away from consuming anything and everything that came my way. And with the intent to “unmedia” my life – I found the balance.