My son's visit to Santa. Our bright pink Christmas tree, topped with a Barbie who looks like she hit the Baileys a little too hard. A frankly biblical stomach bug that will go down in family lore. Our big, smelly dog cozied under our duvet, just his brown nose sticking out. You won’t have seen any of these things on my X (formerly Twitter), Instagram or Facebook this month.

For some, this might not be a big deal but I have been a chronic social media user for 13 years and sharing my life has become as automatic as blinking for me. When I signed my first publishing deal, a few months before my 30th birthday, my agent suggested I join Twitter, assuring me that all the new writers were doing it. As a working class woman who knew no one in the industry it seemed wise to take her advice and it turned out, back then, it really was a friendly, supportive and, most importantly, fairly accessible and democratic community.

My debut novel actually became a small breakout success even though it hadn’t even been published in hardback so unconvinced was my publisher about its profitability. But it was shortlisted for seven awards and won Scottish First Book of the Year and I managed to secure a second book deal, Arts Council Grant to write it and, eventually to leave my day job on the back of those. Much of this was possible because I was able to be very visible on Twitter. People knew that I was up for prizes, I could share reader responses and events I was doing. Basically, back then, Twitter was an incredibly helpful PR machine talking directly to an audience of enthusiastic and interested readers.

In many ways social media has treated me very well. It kept me company and sane, or sane-ish, when I was in a foreign country and newly pregnant with a pandemic raging. I'd estimate I used to get around 70% of my work from it. And, in turn, I did some good things. I set up the WoMentoring Project securing over 100 free literary mentors for marginalised women hoping to access the still-elitist publishing industry.

I ran the Breakthrough Festival for marginalised writers, who couldn’t afford festivals or workshops. It was actually held at the extremely fancy Twitter headquarters in London and everything from the speakers, to travel, to lunch, to the goody bags were donated thanks to the power of Twitter.

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When we were living in Prague I held an online fundraiser for Ghanaian and Nigerian student refugees from occupied Ukraine who were not receiving the same essential donations as native Ukrainans. I’ve crowdsourced medical advice, and found almost every rental flat we've lived in for the last 10 years on social media.

Mostly the pluses evened out the minuses of Twitter spats and the time-suck of socials, though my husband, who refuses all social media, would joke on holidays, on our wedding day, that there were "three of us in the relationship".

But, I often felt pressured too. People had followed my journey with such kindness and support for so many years that I felt I owed it to them to update them on every life change immediately. When I had my baby or emergency surgery, when I was bed bound for months with an autoimmune flare-up, I felt constantly guilty I wasn’t giving them the hottest take on my own recent events. Eventually I realised that feeling beholden to over 30,000 strangers you have a parasocial relationship with is probably not a value I want to model for my son.

This year many people I love and respect, who I consider real friends, started leaving social media in droves. Particularly when Elon Musk took over and we woke up overnight to find the cutesy Twitter bluebird rebranded as the hyper-masculine X, reminiscent of a Savers own brand aftershave logo.

Meanwhile it felt the conversation had devolved. It was nastier than ever, as people pushed what is an acceptable thing to say to another stranger just because they can, it became more polarised and it seems that almost everything you did was likely to be offensive to someone.

If you commented, you were commenting on the wrong thing or in the wrong way. If you didn't comment you were adding your silence and part of the problem. But it all felt very performative and I couldn’t help but notice that all the discourse very rarely led to long-term meaningful change to whatever the hot issue was.

Three weeks ago I lost my phone. When I got my new one, I didn't install any apps. Not X or Instagram or Facebook, not even Whatsapp or Gmail. I essentially made my new iPhone into a Nokia noughties brick. It can text, it can call, I will acknowledge it does take a slightly better picture than my flip-phone did back in the day.

The result? Bliss. I no longer feel like a slave to tiny dopamine hits with the ping, ping, ping of my phone. I couldn’t tell you how often I checked my phone absentmindedly before, but now I know there is nothing to check and so daydreaming and eavesdropping are back on my inspiration menu.

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I'm not giving up completely. Indeed it would be weird timing if I did since I have a new book, Newborn, out in seven weeks. But I'm not putting those apps back on my phone and I'm fairly sure I’ll only be sharing professional news moving forward.

As a working mum of a toddler with an incredibly full life, I enjoy the extra space that stepping away from social media has given me. And my husband? My husband says he’s glad he doesn’t have to share me with 36,000 strangers anymore.