I’m going to try something different this year, just during the holiday season. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, I’ll be off Facebook and Twitter and back on the social networks we used to use in the early 2000s: personal blogs and news readers.

My social network will consist of:

  • Blogs — I’ll be posting to this one, of course, and keeping up with my friends through an RSS reader. (I’m going to give The Old Reader a try.)
  • Podcasts — listening, as well as continuing to record my own.
  • Flickr for photo sharing.
  • Email, I guess?
  • That’s it.
  • Maybe I’ll journal about it too or something.

This social network won’t be any fun without other people, so I’m hopeful that some of you are still blogging, or that you might even join in. If you want me to subscribe to your blog1 over the next month and a half, email me a link. I’ll post links to my subscriptions here soon after I start.

I’m also going to remove the Twitter, Facebook2 and Tumblr apps from my phone, and block those sites from my desktop browsers. My posts here will still be posted to social media, but that will happen automatically; I won’t be checking or responding to comments or likes made on those sites.

It’s interesting to think back to the time before Facebook and Twitter made sharing links and short status updates so easy. Back then, every time you wanted to share something with friends online, you basically had to sit down and write a paper. It didn’t have to be a long paper, but it was going to be an Official Post By You, with a title, a date and a permanent link, and it was going to sit at the top of your front page for awhile. I don’t know where I’m going with this.

Anyhow, it used to be that the Paragraph was the smallest currency of thought exchanged among friends online, and that “sharing” and “following” were much more deliberate actions3. That’s no longer the default setting on the internet and I’m Cool With That, Really, but I’m also thinking: maybe there are out-of-the-way avenues where that old kind of networking and exploration can still be experienced. Maybe it’ll be rejuvenating to take a break from the streams of pithy zingers, bumper stickers, and targeted ads that Facebook and Twitter are becoming. We’ll see. (I do love me a pithy zinger.)

So: maybe give it a shot with me. It’ll be like the Scenic Route of The Internet: not the quickest way to get what you want, but a change of pace that might be good for the soul. The rest of you: I’ll see you in 2014.

  1. If you know me from a long time ago and you used to have a Xanga or Blogspot blog that is now gathering dust, there's a good chance I’m still subscribed to it.

  2. I’ll be keeping Facebook Messenger on my phone, since my friends and family seem to rely on it more than anything else for coordinating events.

  3. It’s hard to imagine things “going viral” in that environment; I can’t really remember, but I’m not sure they ever did. Not really.