Deodorant Wars: A Very Special "Am I Okay? I Might Not Be Okay?" Late Stage Pandemic Edition

Unsocial Media

I really want to delete my Facebook account. And Instagram, while I'm at it, to a lesser degree. I wiped my Twitter account ages ago, but that was hardly a sacrifice -- I was only ever on Twitter because oh my God, you have a blog and/or write for another blog, you have to be On Twitter!  You can't not be On Twitter! 

But I never loved Twitter. It gave me a weird, low-level anxiety -- way too much of everything, all of the time -- and I never particularly excelled at being funny or engaging in a format that did not allow for paragraph-length run-on sentences. And I think a huge chunk of my followers were just blue eggs who signed up circa 2008/2009 to see what the fuss was about, took Twitter's suggestion that I was someone to follow because they checked "Parenting" or "Humor" or "Deodorant" as topics of interest, then never logged in again. (And yet I could never get my account verified for some reason??) Eventually I only used it to cross-post blog or Instagram links before finally deciding: This is dumb, and I'm not going to do it anymore. 

Facebook is not dumb, just kind of increasingly evil in an echo-chamber-mining-your-life-for-data-while-destroying-society way? And then there's Instagram -- the one social media app I really did legitimately enjoy using, back when my timeline was CHRONOLOGICAL and not full of BRANDS selling things that are CREEPILY RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS, and now I can't even scroll down far enough to find the photos you just posted of your cat or new baby because the algorithm thinks I need to see some celebrity-I-don't-remember-following's #sponcon from yesterday and/or buy a t-shirt with an extremely niche/obscure pop culture reference on it first. Dammit. I do want that shirt.

(Good god, are you listening to this? When did I get like this? Should I go outside and yell at a cloud? Post an upside-down video of my thumb on the camera to Tik Tok?)

But deleting those accounts would likely cut off my connection to so many people -- other OG bloggers from back in the day, blog readers and commenters I've befriended over the years, literally hundreds and hundreds of random Internet People I've met along the way, all people I like to check in on every now and then to see photos of their cats and babies but aren't like, "here's my phone number, don't ever fucking call it"-level friends with. Like, how would I keep in touch with those people? Like, by writing emails? (DO YOU REMEMBER WRITING EMAILS?) If I take a nice photo of my cat and don't have Instagram, what would I even do with it? If I publish a blog post and don't share it on Facebook, does it even exist? 

(Also, lest you think I'm judging anyone else's social media preferences or relationships with problematic big tech companies: My phone and phone service are Google, I am completely dependent on Amazon Prime, Alexa is surely spying on us from almost every room, and I am definitely subscribed to some questionable and/or embarrassing subreddits.)

Anyway. I'm not really sure where I am going with this, or even why I decided to even start with this, out of the blue, when I have a million other things I could and should write about. (The pets are great and I have extensive photo evidence of this! We went to the beach and had the best time! We remodeled multiple bathrooms back-to-back and it was not the best time! I had a minor mental breakdown over figs! Figs!! And then Noah turned SIXFUCKINGTEEN!!!) I guess I ventured on Twitter for the first time in ages yesterday (not to actually tweet; I wanted to read all the takes on Bad Art Friend), and while I was there I saw everybody's jokes from Monday about Facebook and Instagram going down for hours. I hadn't even noticed. 

The last time I checked Instagram was Sunday night, during our born-of-quarantine-pizza-and-a-movie night, when I briefly thought about posting this photo of everyone's ridiculously long antelope legs. I couldn't think of a good caption, and then Noah noticed I was on my phone and told me I was "missing all the good parts" of the movie. (We were watching Jumanji: The Next Level, soooo...) But he wasn't wrong.

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 I put my phone away instead.

Comments

Erin

I have the exact same rambly, shouting at a cloud in the sky conversation with myself about Facebook and IG. I want to quit. They take up too much of my time and attention. They are stalking me and mining my life for data. But also then I will lose contact with so many old friends who I genuinely care about and don't want to lose total contact with. UGH! I would say "maybe I'll just log in once a weekend, see what everyone's up to" but come on. That will never happen. Besides, once you quit regularly logging into Facebook they bombard you with emails, peer pressuring you to just log in, everyone does it.

Those long antelope legs are kind of mind blowing. They used to be so little! Is this what's going to happen to my toddler son? I'm going to go eat my feelings and scroll around on IG.

Judi Cutrone

The irony of this for me is I'm 90% certain I first learned about Instagram years ago, on this very site! So... thank you for the gift that you are now saying is trash (and it's a take that I agree with?)

Joanna Moore

Omg no they can't all be that old and tall!

Please keep at least blogging, your blog is literally one of my favourite things ever. <3

Katie H.

I could NOT agree more. I HATED Twitter from the very start, but I wasn't sure why. Your description of "low level anxiety" from the overwhelming, never-ending tweeting nails it! I go on Instagram once in a while, but I'm mostly hopelessly devoted to FB. And I HATE it. I hate that I know I'm not learning anything new or interesting or seeing other points of view that might very well give me insight (and will surely piss me off at some level) but it's important not to just be stuck in that stupid echo chamber 24/7. It's exhausting, but I don't want to lose connections. And maybe long term we'll all find out that the old ways were better anyhow. I'm mailing my 92 year old Aunt puzzles and pictures today because I talked to her ON THE PHONE the other day and she said that's what brings her joy. No social media necessary. :)

Melissa

I so get you. I have an entire blog post written about why I'm quitting Instagram as a graphic designer, because omg if you're a designer you HAVE to be on Instagram, right? But I haven't quit yet, the post sits in my drafts. I haven't posted in ages and if nothing else has told me it's all stupid is that I've done nothing but gain followers. Slowly, nothing exciting, but that dumb account has gained followers who are likely just hoping I'll follow back. I don't want to be in the circle jerk anymore. But I DO want to see people's kids and cats and art, so I've stayed. Le sigh.

Brandi

I gave up Facebook a few years ago because I scroll through then feel like I wasted the time. And I also never tweeted much because I couldn’t be funny/witty/informative in 140 characters. I do Instagram some, but I definitely get the excessive amount of CRAP that clogs up my feed. Mostly I’m on Reddit, so I get the questionable/embarrassing subreddit thing SO HARD! So yeah. Social media weirdness. I totally get it.

Chris

It blows my mind how big they are! I always love your updates. I hope they don’t stop, but I understand if they do. It’s sort of strange to have watched your kiddos grow up as if you were an IRL friend. I’ve always thought of you as a mom mentor, as my oldest is Ike’s age. I hope that’s not weird. Just thought maybe I should take this opportunity to say thank you for that. <3

Sara

Please don’t disappear completely. I am a chronic lurker and have watched sadly as all the bloggers I followed vanished. There is no un-creepy way to say I have been reading your blog for your kids’ whole lives and I feel like I know you, and I would be sad not to get infrequent updates on how you all are doing. (Here or on Instagram, I don’t check my own Facebook much myself anymore. I’ve never tried to friend folks I don’t know in real life on fb, anyway.) <3

Emily

Same as Sara :)

Lurker E. Coyote

Also same as Sara!

Susan

I have actually managed to carve out a career as a "digital engagement specialist" for non-profits, despite being over 40 and hopelessly clueless at remembering any password longer than my cat's name (which is only 2 letters, not actually accepted as a password). I agree with your post 100%, but ironically, I struggle everyday for my mission-related messages to break through the noise and sponsored posts to reach the people who actually indicated they do want to hear from my organization. Facebook keeps helpfully suggesting we pay to boost our posts, but hello, non-profit? So thanks for that, Zuck.

Oh, the antelope legs! We've got a couple sets of those sprouting around here and I can't handle it.

Julie

Double same as Sara!

Carolyn Russell

Yes, I echo what everyone has been saying, but also: can you tell me more about your couch?????

Jeff

Love from a regular reader and infrequent commenter. Thank you for sharing some of your life with us it's been wonderful to see Noah, Ike and Ezra grow and like others (and yourself) mentioned those legs are hilarious. Congratulations on ignoring FB/IG I applaud everyone that has broken free or never gotten trapped in that 'prison'.

junkie

Makes perfect sense. Just really hoping you keep blogging!

SB

Same as Sara again- you can't imagine the joy finding this post brought me today
Thank you

Heather

Your blog, I’m sad to say, is the very last on my feed reader. It seems like real blogs are going the way of the dodo. Everyone I followed back in my infertility days has closed up shop. But I’ll keep my Feedly app just for the occasional Amalah post. Thank you for the laughs, deodorant wars especially!

Abesha1

😄

Amalah

Guys. You should know me by now. That's not a couch, that's a goddamn cheap ass IKEA futon photographed while the slipcover was in the wash because someone spilled wine on it.

M

Same as Sara, I've been lurking for years. I would miss you if you went away forever. So glad you checked in again. Oh, and completely agree on the FB/Insta thing. I have a major love-hate relationship with them both, but I'd lose too many contacts otherwise.

Suzanne

Time marches on without us. Geez, I remember first finding your blog and Noah was not even born yet and now you have THREE nearly grown humans! (Ike is NOT that tall or old, is he?)

I miss seeing regular posts, but understand it completely. I ditched a nearly 7 year daily blogging streak when I went on a cruise and had no internet. Facebook provides me a good connection to friends around the world (none live within an hour of me now), but there isn't a good alternative - yet.

Please keep it, even if you don't use it regularly. Update with whatever socials you may find you like better. A voice of someone who is clearly of similar mind and skepticism is always needed...

Christine

Hi! I miss your blog posts but you're right about everything. Still, thanks for being here.

Hope

Hi there, I completely understand. I am too private to put much out there, and only check in to Facebook to see what's going on with people I'm genuinely friends with but don't talk to more than once or twice a year at most. I have a very inactive Instagram account with maybe 2 followers and 3 posts, all from 9 years ago. I read your blog regularly and lived by your advice on Alpha Mom years ago for getting past the kid's major baby and toddler hurdles. Please do whatever you need to for your sanity and to stay grounded in real life! But, I'd love to see some blog posts from time to time.
Virtual hugs!

Andee

Their legs are all really long. :-)

tay

hahahaah noah is so into it. and i love ezra's commitment to dem glasses. ike, hello sir.

Elizabeth_K

Same as Sara, and also, I am not NEARLY as connected as you (like 10 followers, all my family) and still dropped Facebook/Instagram because ... I never saw those people's photos or updates... the 'algorithm' gave me so much crap. I do regret it sometimes, but rarely. I wasn't really IN TOUCH with those high school friends anyway ...

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