Considering the current…climate (yeah, let’s go with that), I’ve been thinking a lot about social media, much to my disgust. I’ve been a passive and sporadic user of Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube and Facebook for years and have tried my hand on Twitter a couple of times, only to find that the site terrifies me more than anything else.
Here’s the thing, the internet does kind of scare me. I’m so far from a knowledge base of how it all works, but from what I’ve seen, read and heard, the ways we consume, share and critique content is having some frankly gross effects on our public discourse.
/slides on tin foil hat.
Two weeks ago I turned to consider social media on a strictly personal level, realising that the way I used Facebook, in particular, was incredibly mindless and passive. My Facebook experience, often used via the phone app while waiting for a bus, was nothing more than an endless scroll through other peoples drivel, a surplus of news content and freakishly tailored advertisements. Whats more is that I rarely shared anything of my own, as I didn’t see the worth in contributing. Indeed, whenever the topic of Facebook came up in conversation, I’d only have something negative to say about the site. So really, why was I on it?
I deactivated my account in a sort of experiment to test how much I missed using it, arriving at the conclusion that I really don’t. I still have the messenger app, so people can reach me that way if they so desire. Yet, in the absence of my profile, friends have been opting to text me.
The only negative is that I missed out on a more timely event invitation to cousin’s first birthday. At the end of the day though, birthday’s are a much older concept than a facebook event. I will survive.
I’m ignoring and oversimplifying the grand problems of the social internet, I know. Regardless, I’ve decided that I’m only going to use the platforms that I actually enjoy using (groundbreaking). I don’t want social media to be a necessity. I don’t believe it has to be. I enjoy my blog, my Tumblr and the photos of the handful of people I follow on Instagram. I’ll seek out and actively read the news, critically. Really, it shouldn’t need to be any more complicated than that.
As I look back on my history of using social media and consider my past experiences (specifically as a teenager, which is something I may write about in future), I’m forced to confront that most of it came out of expectation rather than me seeking out what I wanted to consume and interact with. To me, that’s a loss of autonomy, but one I can easily reclaim.