What did I learn regarding social media in 2014?
I learned I did not need Facebook in my life anymore. Early this year, I deactivated my Facebook account. I did this hesitantly as I was worried of a bit of personal FOMO. I had a lot of connections (friends) on Facebook, and I worried I would lose contact with them. I worried I would miss not knowing their every thought, concern, photo, experience, food, birthday, etc.
Turns out, I don’t.
Turns out I enjoy the peacefulness of not checking Facebook daily, nightly, at lunch time, while sitting at a restaurant table, etc. Truns out, the decreased notifications have been a wonderful experience for me. Turns out I love sitting quietly in public, where I used to chck my Facebook, and watch others glued to their phones. Turns out I love spending quality time with friends, having conversations unbroken by random notifications. Turns out I love finding out about people’s lives in person rather than via comments and other electronic impersonal snippets.
This Facebook experience moved me to try my flip-phone experiment (which lasted a full 6 weeks) before I got tired of trying to find a 3 letter response to the many texts I receive every day. Now my strategy is to not check my phone for texts all the time and only sporadically.
I also have functionally quit Twitter, though my account still stands. The app is off my phone. I am culling my previous tweets. It seems Twitter is a social media of anger. Apparently,anger is the most influential and powerful emotion online, and twitter is a great place to spread that emotional spring. Many people do.
One large reason I am glad to be separating myself from online social media sites, is the way I feel in the waves of apparent popular opinions (if you don’t know me, I might become a bit facetious here). People socially congregate with others who think like they do or who in some way see things similarly. Social media has had a groupthing problem for a long time (as published in 2012, in 2013, in 2014). This phenomenon makes dissenters or those who want to critically think against the flow forced to feel like they must remain silent.
In fact, in the end, I decided not to write facetiously as I think it is wiser to just remain silent on the matters I was going to bring up. The fact that I am hesitant to articulate a very serious point exemplifies the profound sadness our world and culture have come to. I feel stating my thoughts, without accusing others, putting anyone down (lifting them up really) could hurt my career, livelihood, friendships, etc. This is wrong. For this, I am cannot exclaim excitedly enough how glad I am to be done with Facebook. To be putting Twitter behind me. To be moving away from other social media giants.
My 2014 Social Media Lookback is really a Lookforward where I see myself moving away from these perils (my opinion). It is so crazy to me that at the beginning of the year, I was a heavy user of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Doximity, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, and any other social media site I could sign up on.
In writing this, memories of the anxiety over notifications, status updates, frequent checking all came back to me. In the future, I will not need to worry about Facebook Messenger using my phone’s camera whenever it wants, I will not worry about an imaginary wave Twitter hate that seems all encompassing, I will not waste my valuable personal time checking what others are doing to fill their valuable personal time …. no, I will be much more … free.