Announcing bankruptcy


As far as finance is concerned, bankruptcy is probably the lowest point in a company or an individual’s life. The dictionary defines bankruptcy as such,

n. the state of being completely lacking in a particular quality or value.

I’m not going to talk about declaring bankruptcy in financial terms, though. 🙂 There’s a popular term that’s being thrown around lately called “email bankruptcy”. This is usually done by someone who has accumulated (and slacked over) a lot of emails and has failed to respond to many of them. By declaring email bankruptcy, this person announces to the world that they have technically marked all their email as “Read” and if you haven’t heard back from them, the onus is now on you to email them again to solicit a response IF you deem that your mail was indeed worthy of their purview. Most often, you wouldn’t want to email them back again because a. you’re pissed off that they haven’t responded to you and you want to cut all ties with them or more likely b. the thing you wanted from them wasn’t relevant anymore. This is usually true for most things in life as well. Most of what we want to accomplish right away probably has no bearings in the long term and is probably irrelevant.

Now that I have made it clear about the definition of the term “bankruptcy” here, I’d like to go to make a brave announcement on my blog. But before I do that, some history about my usage of social media.

I’ve been exposed to the Internet since the late 90s and have been one of the early users of pretty much every social platform conceived – Orkut, MySpace, Facebook, Identi.ca, Google Buzz, Google +, Twitter, haiku etc. Over the last few years, we’ve seen some consolidation of all these services and I’m fairly active (at least sifting through the feeds) on Facebook, Twitter, Quora and LinkedIn. While technically these are not “social platforms”, I’m also fairly active on Reddit and Hacker News. With companies like Facebook and Twitter getting big, their sole objective has been to grab as much screen time as possible by milking the effects of the poor user’s dopamine rush. This has led to us consuming mainstream news (carefully avoiding clickbaits) about politics, sports, entertainment etc. on these platforms. In fact, the reach of social media is so profound that most news breaks first on Twitter or Reddit before even being reported by mainstream media. Thanks to the amount of time we spend on social media, we are bombarded with so much information ranging from Trump signing executive orders, the Kardarshians starting another show, Uber appointing a new CEO, Amazon acquiring Whole Foods, the once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse and the hurricanes pillaging towns across the world. In addition to this, I also come across tons of news about the various happenings in India ranging from the Demonetization failure, non-secular sentiments, crass memes, Bigg Boss etc. And not to forget the constant flurry of Game of Thrones related content (Yep, I don’t watch it!).

In addition to social media, I also follow a bunch of feeds through my various sources like Hacker News, Feedly about the various happenings in the world ranging from politics to science to music to Sanskrit. And oftentimes, I’m guilty of abusing the ‘Read Later’ feature of Facebook, Pocket, Feedly etc. which just contain a graveyard of shiny articles that are waiting for me to open them some day and read.

Well, I think I’ve had enough. But before I go further …

I’m a huge fan of the Netflix Series, Black Mirror. If you love science fiction and have some time to spare, I highly recommend watching it. It’s a British anthology science fiction series that beautifully captures the technology infused future that we’re heading towards. In one of the episodes, the world runs on ratings where everyone rates everyone else and your rating determines whether you get a rental car or a flight ticket or a discount in home rent or heck, even a bed in the hospital. And in order to get good ratings (even from your kith and kin), every person puts up a fake façade, badly craving that 5 star rating from every conversation or encounter with another human. If you could think about how we’re obsessed with social media today, the way most of us crave for that Like/Comment on our post would ultimately lead to us craving for such ratings from our social circles in the future. Fuck future, such an app exists today.

So where am I going with all of this? From the constant bombardment of sensational news (mostly toxic and worry inducing) TO the constant notifications from social media TO the plethora of articles that are waiting to be read TO the humungous amounts of Quora answers to be read TO the millions of opinionated articles shared on YCombinator TO the number of LinkedIn profiles to be stalked TO the funny posts on reddit to be followed TO the bazillion heavily left-slant social shares on Twitter and Facebook, I think I’ve had enough!

I’m announcing bankruptcy from social media, mainstream news and information hoarding websites for a while. Truth be told, all of this shit has been playing in mind for quite some time and I can observe my stress and anxiety levels constantly increasing over the past few months and I need a break. While I haven’t technically deactivated myself on any of these services, I did spend some time deleting all those saved articles on Facebook, Pocket and Feedly thus freeing me off the guilt of not finding the time to read them. Of course, I did the due diligence of removing relevant apps on my phone and promptly added these websites to the black list on Self Control.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not becoming a stoic and closing myself off to the external world. I’m going to go on a media detox for a while and concentrate on improving things in my life that actually matter.

I might share this on Twitter and Facebook. Not to brag but to establish some accountability. Also to let people know that I’m not reachable through these platforms.

Life’s beautiful. 🙂 See you on the other side.