I deleted two more social network accounts. I didn’t use them for socializing in any way but they still needed to go. I used them to log and sometimes review the books I read and the movies I watched. I thought I wanted to keep track of that but it turns out I don’t.

Up until I made the decision, I’d been faithfully noting every movie and book. I even went back and tried to remember the ones from the past. This was no easy task with no diary or record to reference. The trouble with reading and watching every day over decades is that much of it gets forgotten. There just isn’t enough accessible RAM to keep traces easily available. This goes for things I liked as much as those I didn’t.

I scrolled through dozens of lists to recreate my reading/watching history. Lists of best-of’s and regional lists. By decade, subject, and style. I came up with over 3000 movies and several hundred books. I don’t know what I expected would happen when this memory scrape was complete but whatever it was didn’t materialize. Adding to these lists became just another chore.

The thing that has always bothered me about every social network is the gamification of thought, feeling, and experience. There’s a built-in competition and envy component to every one of these platforms that eats at me like a bad rash. Art isn’t sports and showing off isn’t one of my hobbies. Yet, once you have an account on one of these sites, it’s impossible not to compare. I didn’t follow a single person on either StoryGraph or Letterboxd and still found myself checking ratings and reviews after logging my own.

There’s nothing wrong with talking over takes and reactions with others, but the online version of this has never lived up to the face-to-face one. Despite the endless potential of connection, these platforms feel howlingly lonesome to me.

As with most of the rash decisions I make, the impulse to trash the accounts came seemingly out of nowhere. I’d just gotten home from my eight-day tour with Bill. I was in bed watching a movie I can’t recall (though it was less than a week ago). It occurred to me that I’d need to note the movie on Letterboxd after it ended. This had begun to cause inner resentment. Why exactly did I need to keep track? Would there be a Participant trophy in the end?

I paused the movie, got out of bed, went to the front room, fired up the laptop and started deleting. It felt good to trash hours and days of now meaningless seeming activity. It always does.

It’s only a matter of time until another thing hooks me. But for now I feel like someone who shed fifty unwanted pounds. How long will I be able to keep it off?

My show opened yesterday. Here’s what’s in it.

Mallory and I talked I Saw the TV Glow.

Go see Robot Dreams. It’s a masterpiece.