When you surround yourself with an excessive amount of social media you begin to lose hold of your reality and liberty. This loss is most evident when using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, whose initial purposes have now degraded into inefficient ones. The overflow of media leads one’s psyche onto unfavourable paths. It’s supposed use of connecting individuals is now of lesser importance in a world of higher opportunity for connectivity. The entry point for its profitability is at its highest and rising due to a growing population. At all angles in this day and age conventional social media outlets leave most at a loss, instead of contributing to their rise.
Social media directly affects your behaviour, which consequently changes your development. The day after I had deactivated Facebook, I had opened its login page as part of my morning ritual – breakfast, coffee, Facebook, in that order. Realizing that the latter didn’t materialize I knew that I had made the right choice the other day. Facebook had become a habit, almost a reflex – except for the fact that it wasn’t serving any higher purpose. Subconsciously it was dictating my actions. How many times have you caught yourself doing something just to post it on social media? Or asked yourself how many hits am I going to get from posting this or that? You’re not alone; I’m as guilty of it as you are. The primitive side of our brain sets these patterns in motion – it feeds on instant gratification. Nature already made social media successful; all it needed was people to set up the structure. It’s the same reason fast food restaurants are most profitable.
I decided that it was time to rewire my brain. The next time I travel, or undertake any endeavour, I don’t want to record my journey for the sake of attention. That will only delude me to the life I am honestly living. I want those experiences to be shared with those close to me, with my kids in the future, to be able to look back at life with nostalgia, not primarily for a like.
You don’t need Facebook, or the other aforementioned means, to connect to those that are genuinely close to you. That’s not a selling point anymore. How many people on your timeline do you sincerely care about? That you would unconditionally help without the slightest hesitation and know that they would do the same for you. If someone wants to connect with you and appreciates your time, they will. You’ll do the same. It’s not necessary for social media to be the middleman in that encounter. It’s safe to say now that almost everyone has a cell phone in North America. Call a friend, set something up, have fun – don’t substitute that with social media for too long.
The average (mean) amount of friends for adults on Facebook is 338. Robin Dunbar, a British anthropologist, suggested that there is a cognitive limit to the amount of people we can maintain stable social relationships with. Called Dunbar’s number, this limit is in-between 100 and 250, with most people being able to comfortably juggle 150. Social media is not going to increase that limit; it’s ingrained in our minds from tribal times. It’ll let you know who’s who, but without the detailed why, when, and where what’s the point?
Unless you have switched to producing more than you consume, social media is a waste of time. Don’t you just love the paradox… don’t use it if you don’t produce, but then if everyone did that you would have no one to sell too. The thing is you would, as Freud mentioned people need to distract themselves – everyone won’t stop, in fact few will. I admit that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., are all effective tools when used in a marketing plan, but without a product or service what are you selling? Nothing! You’re bringing nothing to the table. Of course we’re always selling ourselves, in different situations and to different extents, but at what profit? When does it become profitable to do so? Probably once we have the ability to garner interest. Until then, like many others, I’m still a student trying to hustle my way into a dream. But Alex, you have a website and an opinion (like every other asshole) you can advertise through social media, spread the word! You see, this thought hits the wall of my previous point – if people really want to know they’ll find out, if they’re interested they’ll search. I’m not in the business of wasting your time. This will push me to continually create better content. I see my productivity increasing from this detox, there’s less of a chance to escape to a place of instant gratification, and by the end of the day I’m happier because of it. Once I reach a certain level of interest, there may be a use in returning – once the profits outweigh the time. Call me a hard core capitalist but I believe in results – we live in a high time of meritocracy. You don’t want to be wasting your own time. In the greater picture how is Facebook bringing you closer to a life you want, to your end goal? Many times it makes you regress, increasing the cognitive dissonance you hold in relation to the life your living. I still see LinkedIn’s use and it’s the only medium I have decided to keep. It produces posts that have added to my opportunities and let me learn. It lets me connect to individuals and groups that are ambitious to move forward and are passionate about what they’re doing. That’s who I want to surround myself with. It’s about working toward the life you want.
When you start to delude yourself about reality, your liberty becomes downtrodden. Social media’s use, in large part, is now limited to pulling the wool over your eyes. Wool that you were persuaded to pull over yourself. Social media dictates your actions. It distracts you from making meaningful connections. Eventually it produces a surplus of wasted time. Conventional social media sites, like Facebook, when used in excess, lead you to lose hold over your reality and liberty. I had come to understand Palahniuk and his popularized thought from Fight Club; "the things you own end up owning you". Sooner or later reality will hit you, and it will strike hardest when your liberty has severely weakened with time, when you no longer have the time to do what you have always wanted to do.
1. I’m a cold turkey type of guy; I’ve come to a point where it’s easier to stop than moderate certain social media. It’s like an addict keeping cocaine in the drawer for later, later becomes now.
2. Fast food restaurants work off of our innate need for sugar, salt and fat by supersizing those factors. Social media works off of our need for acceptance, attention and gratification by letting us go at it.
3. I don’t mean this on the primitive level of eating and drinking, but of producing and consuming work. If you wish to make movies do you spend more time on the craft or more time in theatres near you?
4. I don’t necessarily mean profits in the scope of wealth, at some point it could be used to better other aspects of my life (i.e. health, love, and happiness).