In random order:
1. If the product is free then you are the product
You have heard this before, but what does that mean essentially? There are many implications here, but it boils down to this:
There are people who want you to be on their social media platforms. They want you to spend there as much time as possible. They keep tweaking there tools to make sure you will spend more time there. Why? Because your presence makes them money.
If they can keep you there by having you in a negative mood they will do that.
If they can make you interact more by making you happy they will do that.
It’s not that their goal is to piss you off or to create a space where so many otherwise normal people start behaving like bullies. It’s just the nature of the game.
Toxic social media get more engagement. Just because people react more and are more deeply triggered by negativity, by what bothers them.
So not only do people want you to give them their time. They do that by having you exposed to stuff you will react to. A lot of stuff that pisses you off, maybe just a little, to keep you on edge.
They throw in just the right mix of dopamine hits to keep you going. A like, someone tags you in a pic, a retweet, a comment, a share, a friend request…
And you may think, just like everyone else, that commercials have zero influence over you, that only ‘dumb’ people can be influenced that way. That’s one of the many powers of advertisements, everyone thinks they are smarter than the advertizers.
At least use add blocks on all your devices.
Even then you will be manipulated.
2. Chances are you are addicted
An addict lives for the temporary high and in between those highs he suffers, he is needy, he craves more, he is restless, everything is about getting his next fix.
You do not want to be an addict. You lose your freedom, your control, your dignity. Addicts will go to ever more greater lengths to get their next fix.
3. It may be turning you into a bully
Come on, you too have called someone a moron, an idiot, a dickhead, a loser, because that person had a different opinion or started making fun of you or your opinion. You got pissed and off you went. In every day life you are not like that. But on social media… Yes, suddenly you have a short fuse. You have no more patience with other people’s viewpoints and hoe they present them.
4. Social media will give you more of the same
Once the system figures out what triggers responses from you it will present you with more of the same and this endlessly. The system will throw you a bit of variety here and there, because it doesn’t want you to get bored, but mainly it throws you more of the same. Eventually you will get kinda the same taste out of your social media use, again and again.
In my case I just kept being reminded of all the shitty things the politicians I detest the most were doing or had done and had got away with.
Your ‘flavor’ will of course be different.
But do you need it? Is it really helping you grow or to achieve something?
Maybe it does. In my case it certainly didn’t. It became a major source of distraction, anger and also feelings of powerlessness.
5. Your activity there does not matter
Commenting on a newspaper article? So what? Even if your comment gets some traction what will it do for you other than a fleeting moment of getting recognition? And what kind of recognition? The vapid kind.
Facebook has come up with a way to exploit the ego boosting effect of commenting even more by assigning titles to people who interact a lot with a page. Even you get recognition as top fan or whatever they call it what on earth does it really do for you? You only get a false sense of accomplishment. You haven’t accomplished a thing. You can’t buy anything with your top fan status and nobody in your offline life will even give a shit about it.
Being an active user on social media makes you a slave while giving you the feeling you are accomplishing something.
Fixing the plumbing of a hospital = accomplishment
Commenting on Facebook = crying for attention, prostituting yourself, setting yourself up as a nobody. I mean, truly succesful people don’t comment on social media. They don’t need to. If they are succesful in a field then they are already being listened to.
Commenting on social media = publicly admitting you’re a loser. I hate the word ‘loser’, it’s so degrading, but once in a while it’s correct to use it.
6. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time there it’s still enough time to learn a new language, get good at a sport or some other skill
Let’s say you spend a little less time on social media than the average user. Over one year’s time that would STILL be enough to learn a really cool skill!!!
7. A very telling sign: the smartest and most succesful people I know personally do not have social media.
I swear, the people in my environment who make the most money, and way more money than most people I know, DO NOT HAVE ANY SOCIAL MEDIA.
That tells me something.
My blog is set up in such a way that every new post automatically appears on Twitter. I never go to Twitter and never actively use it. Other than these automatic posts my account is asleep. At a certain point I will have lost 90 percent of my followers there, cause I never use it. I haven’t deleted my instagram accounts, but I can’t even remember how to log in… So I definitely don’t use IG anymore either. Facebook is gone. Which is one of the most liberating decisions I have taken over the past few years.