“Every Day I Want To Quit Social Media,” moans author and Buzzfeed writer Michael Seidlinger, wailing “I am drowning in a sea of anxiety created by Twitter and Facebook.”

Given that he probably knows better than we do how to delete unwanted social media accounts, I suspect he isn’t serious. But we’ll see:

I always have at least a handful of tweets and posts ready days, sometimes weeks, ahead of when I plan to use them. It keeps me calm, assured that I will always have something meaningful to say, or at the very least, something funny, clever, clickworthy. I never want to be caught off guard. I never want to be left speechless.

Michael, chill. The problem isn’t social media. The problem is you. You think no one accepts you if you are not a star. How many people, honestly, have any right to ask that of you?

Every night, at approximately 10 p.m., I end up back where I started: my desk. I frequently fall asleep there, just as often waking up in the middle of the night, mid-sentence, without any understanding of where the night went.

If we were coping with a major disaster, this level of effort might make sense. It’s not worth doing just to impress or amuse people.

I really just want to have something meaningful to say.

Actually, Michael, you also want to be popular. You make that clear. You could doubtless find something meaningful to say, but only if you give up wanting to be popular.

I am forever judging myself by my social media performance.

Why? How many of those people would care much if they never heard from you again? Wouldn’t you be better off with a small circle of people who would try to find you in the real world?

This need to matter, to count, to be relevant is what drives me to do all I’ve been doing to gain notice in the first place.

Losing cause. The people to whom you can truly be relevant will never ask all this of you. Get out and meet them.

(Michael describes a life-at-the-bottom scene of himself hiding in a washroom stall. As a result of his interactions with people who may not even exist …)

At some point I notice the Facebook tab flashing, meaning that someone has messaged me. I look and it’s a dear friend of mine whom I’ve never met face-to-face, and yet we’re closer than I am with some of my offline friends. 

No. You only imagine that you are closer to the online “friend” you have never met. Because he knows only what you tell him, not what he can see, hear, and otherwise sense about you on his own.

Readers, alas, we guessed it. Michael is not going to give up self-torture:

I ended up on social media for a reason, and though the reason escapes me during moments of sheer panic and anxiety, I take part, no matter what — the pursuit of relevancy, or, in the strictest sense of the term, validation, is an imperative that exists as a key part of humankind’s quest for meaning. Self-definition has become intertwined with social media. We are all here for each other.

No, Michael. Let’s start by being honest. We are not all here for each other on social media. You are there for the attention and approval. You don’t know for sure why those other people are there, but it is not to give you attention and approval.

Social media addiction is like any other kind; you spend all your time pursuing an imagined happiness that an addiction can never give.

Michael, if you choose treatment, good luck with it!

See also: Whoa, Rosie! Twitter is not a family conference! We all have family problems, and let’s all just keep them off the internet.


Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...