I quit Microblog for one year and it feels good


In November 2022, I left a ‘No Such Person’ as my farewell message on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media, and decided to stop using it to view and post content.

The reason was simple. At that time, the COVID-19 pandemic was getting much more serious in China, and there was a lot of sad or hostile news surrounding me both online and in real life.

Weibo was like an amplifier for such news, and I could not take any more negative content, I even entered a state of political depression a long time ago. I needed to go on an information fast, like a physical fast, to reduce receiving fragmented information and focus on what made me feel healed.

Quitting Weibo wasn’t that difficult. #

Maybe I have pretty good self-control, so I didn’t have the fear of missing out when I left Weibo, even though I couldn’t immediately access the latest updates on my friends’ lives, the opinions of internet celebrities, or news from around the world.

It reminds me of a message I wrote a long time ago:

Don’t read the news, because the important things come through interpersonal communication. And you don’t need to know the unimportant things.

From a media literacy point of view, this statement now seems wrong: obtaining information only through interpersonal communication would make it difficult to distinguish truth from gossip, to know more details, and would put us in filter bubbles created by our social circle.

Ironically, the information fast does work, especially if you already know that something is wrong with your mental health.

Quitting Weibo was the first step in curing myself of information fatigue syndrome, after which I unfollowed some bloggers on other social media platforms. The amount of content I could read on the internet became less and less, so I gradually lost the desire to open the app and only used it when I needed to search for something.

In the end, I kept the basic information obtained through carefully selected RSS feeds. In my spare time, I preferred to read books, watch films, and study, hoping to pull out the old me, who used to be overly concerned about the outside world, and pull the new me back into my world.

Social media is an arena #

After one-year’s information fast, I slowly recovered from my anxiety and depression. At the same time, my desire to snoop on others and share my life on social media surprisingly decreased.

Social media allows us to easily see the lives of others to satisfy our self-curiosity. But with information fast, I stopped being curious about how other people’s lives were going, and what they were sharing, and in the process, I became less inclined to post my life.

In Day One, a dairy app, I have a journal and collect the content I post on the internet every month. With quitting Weibo and keeping silent on the other social media platforms, the content of the journal has slowly turned into reviews of books, films, or music written on Douban.

I realised that the desire to snoop on others and the desire to share with others are two sides of the same coin. You want to see what others have, and you want others to see you by sharing what you have.

Social media is not only a photo wall like Instagram, but also an arena where users compete with each other by creating a (real or fake) positive image of life.

It is such an information environment that I have to take information fast to cure myself of information fatigue syndrome and find myself again.

Now, like a lurker of the internet, I have possibly responded to my farewell message of a year ago.

No such person.

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