Fighting Social Internet Burn Out

Slowly over the past year I’ve noticed I’ve not been getting the same enjoyment out of places like Mastodon that I used to.

There’s a lot of goings on that might explain this, but I suspect the main culprit is myself and my changing tastes over time.

Over the past year I’ve migrated Mastodon servers. I’ve made heavier use of filters to block politics, activism, and outrage porn. I’ve become quicker to block and mute people who I’m not interested in interacting with. All these things have been a help but not a cure.

I’m hesitant to entirely give up Mastodon right now after having moved to a new area. I still think it can be a good social outlet for me, and perhaps all I need is to try something new.

An excuse to try a fun experiment?

Ok maybe this isn’t the greatest idea given what I’ve just written, but I’ve been getting the urge to find something new to self-host. Maybe that thing could be a fediverse server? My ideal form of social media is some kind of small community with diverse but overlapping interests. One that follows the same kind of social norms that most would follow in a real life social gathering. Simple things like using discretion when wanting to introduce something controversial or heavy, or asking others a question every once in a while. I haven’t found a community like this that really suits me, but maybe it wouldn’t be crazy to try to build one.

Obviously I’d want to do a lengthy trial run by hosting for myself first. And maybe anybody I know who doesn’t mind being part of an experiment. I would at least try setting up Mastodon or its glitch-soc fork myself for the experience. Let that run a month and get a feel for it. From there I could see myself going a couple different ways.

Maybe I’ll like running a server. In that case, if I do decide to give community-building a go and if there’s interest, maybe I’ll turn it into something. If I got serious about it I would likely switch to managed Mastodon hosting.

Maybe I’ll want to keep it to myself and decide not to burden myself with moderation and maintenance and all the other icky stuff that comes with running an online platform. In that case I plan on checking out GoToSocial if migration from Mastodon is possible, or just sticking with Mastodon if not.

The other possibility is that I decide Mastodon just isn’t really my thing any more. I go back to my current account, cut back on my following list, and just check in on the people I care about periodically.

The real solution

I’ll give myself a bit of time to think about that plan. If nothing else, I think it would be a fun experiment that would give me experience setting up something more complex than I’m used to.

Realistically, the thing that will end up helping the most is taking some sort of break and cutting back on people I follow. There’s a very good chance I’ll do that regardless of the self-hosting plan.

If you have things to say about running a fediverse server for yourself or a group, or about social media breaks, feel free to drop me a line.

A footnote

While I was drafting this post, Kev Quirk happened to publish something that resonated with me. It’s good to know I’m not the only one getting a little tired with social media and wishing things were different.

Kev Quirk: Bring Back the Humble Forum

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