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I'm off these sites now. Haven't had a Facebook account for about 5 years, and haven't had a Twitter account for about 6 months. Never joined Instagram in the first place. It feels like I was standing in a room full of televisions that were turned up very loud and tuned to static, and I suddenly turned them all off. I find my attention span has increased greatly, as has my ability to focus. When I see something cool like a beautiful sunset, I can just enjoy it in the moment and not have to whip out my phone and document it so I can get blue thumbs & gold stars later. My friends think I'm crazy. I think they're losing part of their humanity (and very obviously have ADHD/attention span problems) with their faces perpetually buried in smartphones browsing feeds of inane bullshit. They flippantly dismiss my decision to quit the sites as though I'm one of those hipsters we all laughed at in 2006 who would say "I don't own a television". I can totally empathize with how & why they would view me that way, but I feel like I don't flaunt it to show off a holier-than-thou attitude, it only ever comes up in conversation (IRL) when people ask to add me on Facebook and I respond that I don't have an account. One of my aunts insisted that I secretly had an account and started yelling at me when I wouldn't give her my account name (she thought I just wanted to hide it from her so she couldn't see my youthful party shenanigans). Even if I did have a secret account for my peers only, it's really obnoxious and presumptuous of her to feel entitled to a public feed of my private affairs. Yet, this is the kind of mentality constant exposure to these sites cultivates. These websites are designed to be addicting in the same way that casinos or video games are. They create feedback loops of nonstop novelty and personal validation (likes & favorites, no dislikes or hates) that keep you coming back to the sites whenever you feel the slightest hint of boredom or ennui that would've traditionally propelled you to go accomplish something of value. They also unhealthily rewire your brain to not only be way more narcissistic, but also think about what you're going to say/do on the sites when not actively browsing them. At least in my case... I speak from personal experience from when I was heavily using Twitter. I couldn't do any IRL activity without thinking of what I was going to tweet about it later. I was never in the moment because I was always in my head thinking about what I could say to get more gold stars. I noticed that it steered my inner monologue toward curt, snarky, pessimistic observations, as that's the main form of discourse on Twitter, and the style that gets you the most retweets and favorites. Perception is everything, and my world was shittier because I was viewing it through that lens. While it was strange and a little ostracizing at first to be off social media, with each passing month I feel more and more grateful for my decision, and not just because of the mental/physical/emotional comfort that washed over me soon after removing them from my life. Seeing how a poorly worded tweet can end someone's career at the hands of the professionally offended PC leftist bloggers & rabid twitter shaming mob, or how everyone who uses Facebook is willingly and/or ignorantly part of a massive surveillance database that contains full facial recognition scans, I kind of feel like I dodged a bullet for opting out of those systems before they got out of control. I felt like I saw that future coming just from how Facebook was being used in 2008 with people wanting to share every moment of their lives out of vanity with no thought given to how the voluntary eradication of privacy would effect society going forward. Being a regular member of the dance music production & DJ community, I was also told I was insane by my peers for not having a Twitter & FB page, as I would be unable to promote myself as an artist. I was told that nobody would book me if I didn't have thousands of Facebook likes. Yet, not being on those sites has not stopped labels from signing & releasing my work, not stopped people from coming to my shows, and not stopped promoters all over the continent from booking me. In fact, spending most hours of the day in a DAW working on music instead of posting Nikes & dog pictures on Instagram, or 140 character inconsequential snarky observations on Twitter, has given me an enormous edge over those I'm competing with for stage time in the DJ scene. I'm not trying to big myself up so much as give encouragement to any artists thinking of quitting these atrocious, time-wasting, cesspool websites by letting them know that the quality of your work is truly all that matters, not tweeting an unfunny joke about Bruce Jenner or activist-hashtagging Baltimore riots. I'm curious to hear what all of you think. Have any of you quit these sites or not joined them in the first place? Are any of you so inexorably addicted to these sites that it's unfathomable to not have them be a regular part of your lives? Have any of you reconciled the nature of the beasts and manage to use them in healthy moderation while not succumbing to permanently digitally documenting every waking moment & thought you have? Do any of you see this cultural shift in the direction of nonstop public shaming and eradication of privacy as disturbing or even dangerous? Let's have a public conversation about this subject on this easily-Google-able messageboard that's essentially the precursor to those sites and basically does the exact same shit with a far more archaic interface.