soft quit

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A soft quit of a silo is when a person temporarily leaves, deactivates, or takes an extended break from one or more social media platforms for any of a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes referred to as taking a "social media break". Compare with silo-quits which have a more permanent connotation.

Why

People performing soft quits may fall short of permanently deactivating or deleting their accounts as they represent the only means of contact with other people or groups they want to stay in touch with. Some may use workarounds to mitigate problems or issues they have with the platform while still minimally participating to get the information and contact they desire.

Many soft quitters aren't aware of other potential methods of communication or may be discouraged by the user interfaces and experiences they may find via other modalities.

Possible reasons for soft quits

  • mental health
  • escape from negative posts
  • escape from bullying
  • regain time for other activities
  • Not wanting to contribute or participate in systems which profit from the harms they're causing
  • ...


Methods

  • Removing apps from one's cell phone to remove the easy of accessibility
  • Piping content into feed readers as a barrier against the gamification of social media (see Granary or tools like https://twitter-atom.appspot.com/, etc.)
  • Practicing "digital minimalism" (a la Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport (Penguin, 2019, ISBN: 978-0525536512)
  • practicing "slow social"
  • Joining the IndieWeb
  • ...


2019

Mark Haddon

2018

Ben Werdmüller

Adam Croom

I decided that I would deactivate my Twitter account for the holidays. The holidays turned quickly turned into six months and here I am. I still have access to the Twitter profiles I wish to follow as most profiles are public, and thus I make a conscience effort to check the streams of particular folks (mostly journalists and news publications) that I’m still interested in following. Unsurprisingly, removing myself from punching the Twitter icon and swimming in the often negative environment that the community perpetuates has been a net positive for my health. In a similar fashion, I don’t have Instagram installed on my phone anymore (my workaround here is I’ll occasionally install it and bulk upload a handful of files and then delete it). For Facebook, I actually inactivated that account in November as well, but surprisingly felt myself come back to it quicker for important information I would miss otherwise (my gym uses a private group for all communication). But, for the most part, my day is spent sans social media.


Counter Examples

There are also people who may "soft join" a platform for either a minimal set of functionalities or specific connections with people.

Robin Sloan

Robin Sloan joined micro.blog for the express purpose of interacting with one friend as stated in his first post:

Literally just here to follow @ayjay 👋
Robin Sloan 2018-08-18

All his subsequent interactions on the platform (as of 2019-05-06) were solely replies or interactions meant for one user despite some incoming interactions with other users.

Brainstorming

Naming

None of the citations or quotes actually use the phrase "soft quit" which makes it unmemorable to associate with new examples. In reading the examples, few of them have a "quit" intention, more of them mention other phrases.

We should rename this page accordingly to use one of these terms:

  • deactivate
  • break - LOTS of examples use this literal term, see silo-quits for "social media break" or "break from"
    • Chris Aldrich +1 to this or "social media break" (the original name "soft quit" was to have something and to keep a reasonable parallelism with silo-quits, see also naming)
  • pause (e.g. silo pause)
  • ...

In some variant like:

  • silo break
  • social media break
  • ...

See Also