Many of those who interact with me on social media picked up on my brief hiatus from Twitter. I am now back and thought I would get back into the swing of blogging by discussing what happened and why I decided to take a break.
As a resident, my brain is constantly swimming with details about work, whether it be me wondering how a patient I admitted or discharged is doing today, or a dose of a medication, or whether I will pass my USMLE step 3 exam I’m taking tomorrow, or about my personal life, such as how I will spend time with my wife and pup on my next day off or how I will pay for my medical licenses, required training courses, and DEA number before I graduate residency. In between all of that, I ponder my own mortality and health, and try to maintain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
Social media has been a huge source of support for me ever since I started to participate and engage. I have met some truly remarkable people, most virtually and a few in person too, through my activity on Twitter. After the 2016 presidential election, and during it, social media was ablaze with political discourse. Some of it was productive and healthy debate but a lot of it was cruel, intolerant, and upsetting to witness.
I was finding that I was using my Twitter more to vent my anger and frustration at current affairs than for engaging with others to better myself, both from a medical standpoint and as a contributing member of society at large. It all came to a head when I realized that I was posting only political rants and I was not growing from my investment in social media. So, I realized it was time for a break. I shut down my Twitter for a while.
At first, I did feel the urge to check. I had gotten so used to checking my phone in between conversations, activities, and whenever I had some down time. Truthfully I was glued to my phone a little too much, but no one’s perfect, right? Then as I settled in, I found new and different ways to get news and information. I used to rely on the Twitter moments a lot when I was heavily active on Twitter. I started to look up articles on specific news sites. I used other news applications available such as Apple News and others. I discussed articles with my wife. I asked her for recommendations and sent her articles I read myself.
I had hoped to make more profound changes in how I interacted with people digitally and how I sought information and news. I made some changes, for sure. In the end, what I really gained from my break was a chance to reflect on what I wanted to gain from my social media presence. What did I want to say? What did I want to think about and converse about with others? What did I personally gain from my tweeting and blogging?
This and more I pondered for a couple of months, all the while intermittently logging into and deactivating my Twitter to keep it alive in the shadows. I’ll probably delve into all of this more in the coming months and years, as there’s much to share, but it’s good to be back.
Why do you use social media? What are your reasons for blogging, vlogging, tweeting, instagramming, or snapchatting?