First off, oh I don’t post on this blog very much do I? It’s mostly saved for when I have actual news to share, and there isn’t much of that at the moment. ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture is still running smoothly, somewhat close to ending its second big story and moving onto its third, whose title I will reveal somewhat later in the article… but only if you read on!
Nobody is gonna click this, are they.
OK now onto the actual blog topic.
Social Media Sucks
It’s a huge waste of time going on social media websites for so many reasons, not least of which because they’re literally designed to keep you as engaged as possible not through content but through psychological marketing tactics. Upvotes and likes sort posts by mob popularity and cater the comments sections towards who can make the most universally-appealing or “wittiest” remarks, turning everyone into irony-filled zombies that can’t express a genuine emotion.
You know all this already though. Social media websites are linked to depression, especially in teenagers, and there’s that dreary sense of anxiety as you think about not being up-to-date with the latest goings-on. It sucks.
Infinite scrolling is the bane of existence; at least back on Tumblr (RIP) you had the option of turning that off by enabling page views, but as far as I know no other popular social network has allowed for that since it decreases ad revenue and gets less marketing data to mine and sell off.
It’s especially bad in comments sections. I’m one of the people who is terrible about getting into arguments with dumb jerks and Russian astroturfing accounts, unable to just let things sit and ignore them. Reddit, of all of these, is the worst because of people’s herdlike mentality where one opinion per subreddit rules all, and deviating from that opinion gets you in a fight.
Sometimes these fights carry on for days as you receive replies and continue arguing about mundane things. Even if I am 100% right always. It’s emotionally draining to be some sort of crusader for justice in a realm that obviously does not reward that (it rewards clicks and upvotes).
And that’s why sometimes I try to leave social media.
Seriously, Social Media Sucks
I’ve done it a few times, just completely divorcing myself from social media so that I can do certain things. Once it was an experiment to go totally internet-free during the Summer of 2013 so I could catch up on TV and video games and stuff. It was a mild success despite the occasional breaks. Another time, I was trying to avoid Super Smash Bros. leaks in 2014 and left the social side of the internet almost entirely… except when my friends kept linking me to dumb internet drama.
And then every so often I’ll go on weird anti-binges where I cold-turkey quit certain social media sites, usually Facebook, for months at a time. It makes me feel really out of the loop, but I also usually don’t regret it.
And yet… I invariably end up coming back.
Social Media Sucks… But You Gotta Use It Sometimes
It’s pretty much impossible for me lately to wholesale quit social media. I have to run the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages for ATL, and unless anyone knows a way to manage all the accounts without A) paying money or B) getting trapped in social media loops, then I’ll have to continue using them at least a little bit. I have extensions on my computer to disable News Feed/Wall scrolling stuff but sadly where it hurts worst is scrolling on cell phones. When I’m making the next ATL story, Embed, how the heck am I gonna do it if I’m stuck scrolling forever?
It’s not the worst thing in the world. I know the sites are designed specifically to keep me using them for as long as possible, but there is an element of self-control involved. Going cold turkey is a poor idea overall, because it doesn’t rely on reducing what seems to be an addiction but rather ignoring it. However… sometimes it’s the best way to me.
So my current plan is, as much as I can help it, to avoid sites like Reddit or Quora fully, and to avoid using Facebook or Twitter on my phone. Instagram is OK because it’s mostly just people’s art. I don’t have to avoid the rest because I never use them.
This Is All To Say…
…that I didn’t have a real plan when I started this post so I’m not exactly sure where I was going with it. I think making all these section headings probably hurt the post overall.
Do you hate social media too? Do you love it and want to offer a firm rebuttal on my plan to go cold turkey on these websites? Do you want to offer your condolences in advance of when I inevitably return to each of them over the next few months? Leave comments below. I will, sadly, respond to each of them.