When we consider the ‘dangers’ that the Internet poses, pornography is usually the subject discussed the most: keeping it out of sight from children, ensuring that adults aren’t addicted, not making it demeaning to women, etc.
In the age of Trump, ‘fake news’ has now become a cause for concern. And I’ve always argued that cheap political punditry is far more damaging than online pornography.
Social media, however, occasionally gets its critics. But it always gets a pass because everyone uses it.
It’s been a few months since I’ve quit social media. I don’t miss it. But the truth is that I might’ve never understood it.
What do I mean?
I suppose the theory behind Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc, is that it allows you to ‘connect’: stay in touch with friends, meet people with similar interests, etc. That’s the idea at least, and that is likely our rationale behind using it.
But it’s not really about ‘others’. It’s about providing a false image of yourself. For many, this image has become indistinguishable from themselves. They are unable to divorce themselves from the platform which presents this image, which is why they are unable to relate to people face-to-face: their online world has become indistinguishable from reality because reality presents an insufficient self. That’s a common criticism at least.
But, in a world where we need more face-to-face interaction with regards to our political activity, online platforms have been seen as a substitute for that as well. Twitter is a prime example. ‘SJWs”, “hashtavists”, “Twitter Heroes” see their activity as being just as important as the Civil Rights work of previous generations. In their eyes, they’re bringing ‘awareness’ to a larger audience…somehow believing that a limited number of characters can enlighten others. This halfassed form of activism usually results in mockery and downplays the severity of the issues because it is seemingly done for the benefit of the users narcissism. It appeals to their “feel good” nature by having them believe that they’ve done something admirable and provides and image of superiority over the opponents. AT LEAST that’s the image they’re providing. I have no idea what the actual thought process is…all I know is that Twitter probably hurts more than helps their cause and is definitely no substitute for ACTUAL action. If you want to change the world, one has to act WITHIN it.
I think we can all agree that Twitter needs to go away.
What provoked me to slowly move away from social media was a Twitter incident during my podcasting days. I managed to provoke a response from the National Review’s Kyle Smith. It didn’t do any good: Smith thought I was an idiot (for good reason) and I ended up hating him. But I felt a rush of power because I actually got a response from someone in ‘power’. But after a few hours of reflection, an emptiness was felt inside of me because I realized that the interaction only resulted in hate and feelings of superiority. A few days later, I took down the account and never looked back. When I began to assess why I use social media, I realized that that was the ONLY reason I used it…to piss off others.
Soon after, my Facebook use began to decline. Eventually I deleted my account (I have another account that, I guess, is still active but I have no access to it). I have not used social media in the last few months.
“What about your friends?”, you might ask.
I’m a grown ass man. If I wanted to contact my friends, I’ll fucking contact them!
If I needed social media to stay in contact with my family, then maybe I just don’t want to talk to my family!
True, I suppose we could say that this blog is a form of ‘social media’ (except I don’t care if I meet any of my readers). But this blog at least allows me to thoroughly explain my opinions to an audience that might actually want to read them. That’s something that neither Facebook nor Twitter could provide (at least adequately).
There was a lot more I wanted to cover, but since leaving those platforms, I’m looking at my phone LESS and engaging in personal discussion MORE. And in today’s world, people need to be reminded to do that.