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Social Media's Effects On Our Minds & Lives


autopilot
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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.

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Well, I wouldn't say that someone is becoming less human/losing their humanity because of their social media addiction, as it's pretty innate in human nature to be obsessively attracted to things to an unhealthy degree. However, I do agree that unmoderated social media usage can have adverse effects on a person (as any addiction does), and that cutting it down is more sensible than ignoring the problem. I personally have recently decided to lessen my Facebook & Instagram usage because I found myself becoming something I don't like. I would catch myself having intrusive thoughts of "why am I not getting many likes?" and "how come my photos on Instagram aren't really getting noticed?", which are pretty minute things to care about & aren't healthy to obsess over. I think it's important to stay connected to the modern world and keep up to date so as to not get behind, but I think you can do that and not have your head glues to a computer or phone screen all the time. If it weren't for all my friends who live overseas or across the country, I wouldn't have a Facebook or Instagram. I want to keep in touch with them, so I don't wish to completely cut the cord, but I have started to discipline myself to not open those webpages or apps. I've found that it helps to find other things to distract myself so I won't fall of the wagon. Like IF games, my music, listening through the Aphex SC dumps, and browsing RYM and WATMM.

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I had a Facebook from 08-sometime last fall when I deactivated it. I didn't feel like it did too much to impinge me in many ways, but it did heavily alter the way I saw people after looking at them via the social media lens. Ended up with lots of disdain for lots of people. We've been given a new way to judge people, really. Now we can look at the things they post on some medium and think "Why would anyone care about this? Why would anyone think others may care about this?" , or perhaps "Why would anyone share something which may be very personal, offensive, or just ignorant with others who they barely acquainted?" Anyway I ended up doing this a lot, and disliking people a lot more quickly than I probably would have otherwise. That was slightly irritating to me, it is almost nice to have somewhat of an "artard filter" but I think it did, for me, more harm than good. This is essentially why I got rid of mine. I was tired of seeing inane bullshit, but I was more tired of knowing that 95% of the time I should've entirely expected inane bullshit.

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Gonna come back to this thread later (it's 4.45am lol, and I gotta go to work) as its a subject I find really interesting. Watmm is my only forum I use on the internet in a social context (even then I say to myself I am even anti-social on that lol).

 

I think you could use social media in a positive way, but I see it as 95 per cent bollocks. And massive bollocks at that. Catch ya later.

Edited by beerwolf
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For the most part I share the same sentiments. First signed up to FB back in February 2008, but the more time I spend on there the less interest I have and the more I question why I stay there. I guess it's mainly to keep in touch with current events around the globe, although many of these news outlets have become increasingly biased and sensationalized and seem to have lost their original purpose as keeping people "in the know" by being objective and transparent with the goings-on in the world. But I digress.

But I also stay because I might risk cutting ties with most acquaintances in my life if I terminate my account, much like Atom mentioned. But it's not like I talk to most of these people on my "friends" list, so it may not make much difference IRL if I deleted it anyway. It's been nearly two months since I posted any status update though. I see mostly boring shit being posted by the people I do know. I thought about holding on to it in case I wanted to upload pics or vids of the AeNA tour in four months, but I suspect it would go over most people's heads. They'd only care (or at least validate) if I were to get married or have kids or some bullshit.

So FB, I might keep, but continue to maintain a low profile. Twitter is a bag of dog shit, so I couldn't care less if my account got hacked again.

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I use facebook to stay in touch with friends spread throughout the world and am part of a private group that has some of the best North Korea analysts in the world.

Also use Twitter to follow various journalists, policy makers and a couple of official government accounts.

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95% of information shared on Facebook is worthless garbage. I would really like to quit Facebook but my work as web developer requires me to manage quite a bunch of commercial pages. Adding watmm users on Facebook and having a more personal connection to them is also nice and something I would miss

Edited by o00o
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intersting topic esp. given dat these social medias r a relatively recent way of communicating / not communicating. i haz nvr dun any fakesbook, twatter, binstagram or nuthin' but haz seen many friends get addicted like wen ppl were hooked on telly. iOnly eva joined wattm coz the awsm music; plato sed sumthink like - those who make the music r the real govt.

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I recently quit Facebook for a year, and it was really nice. However, being overseas from most of my 'friends' I was starting to feel ostracized a bit, and know groups of people that use that as their only communication medium. They weren't answering emails, and phone calls just seemed to confuse everyone. What do you know? I join back up, and people start talking to me again. Quite frustrating though.

 

One friend was actually angry that I left FB. Why would he get angry? Seems to be a modern behavior and it is so confusing to me.

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I've never had Facebook account, although I've been pressured to get one a lot. Especially from the family. But I am not going to get one. That's the end of that.

 

I do have three Twitter accounts. One is to let my family and friends know where I'm travelling so I don't have to write tons of text messages and emails, one is for my music and keeping up with things (I pretty rarely bother to check up on this or write anything) and one is for an IRC bot I made so I can automatically post my photos to IRC channels via my phone.

 

Linkedin is maybe a social media but for me that's just like an online resume thing.

 

The thing is most of my close friends are hardcore nerds and they all are on IRC. I just need a unix shell somewhere so I can keep my IRC client running. For that purpose I have rented a virtual server. That's the "social media" I use. For the rest of my connections it's just Skype, Whatsapp, email, text messages or whatever.

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this site is social media. facebook can be amended to remove pointless life spammers, and motivational and 'cool' content reposted material. There are people on here that use it to keep up with useful music events and so forth. In a way it's just an aggregation tool, how it's filters and parameters are set is up to you. It is a shame that it's not a peer to peer open source project, and i will jump ship the moment that comes on line, not that i use or check it much, or have many 'friends'. on it.

 

No offence to the concept of divorcing yourself from pointless life distractions though and you did write up a nice post about it all (i got two paragraphs in and then skimmed for same reason that you were on about, wanting to not piss about whilst the sun goes up and down ... oh damn whilst i was writing this i missed the sunset.

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I've never had Facebook account, although I've been pressured to get one a lot. Especially from the family. But I am not going to get one. That's the end of that.

 

I do have three Twitter accounts. One is to let my family and friends know where I'm travelling so I don't have to write tons of text messages and emails, one is for my music and keeping up with things (I pretty rarely bother to check up on this or write anything) and one is for an IRC bot I made so I can automatically post my photos to IRC channels via my phone.

 

Linkedin is maybe a social media but for me that's just like an online resume thing.

 

The thing is most of my close friends are hardcore nerds and they all are on IRC. I just need a unix shell somewhere so I can keep my IRC client running. For that purpose I have rented a virtual server. That's the "social media" I use. For the rest of my connections it's just Skype, Whatsapp, email, text messages or whatever.

That's really cool but why not using a smartphone IRC client instead of the server?

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I never joined Facebook, or myspace, or any of its other predecessors. The majority of my closest friends aren't on there (anymore) either. Of the three who are, two have the slightly annoying habit of talking about it, typically to complain about or ridicule something someone else posted. I'm sure all of their FB posts are well written and super interesting, lol. The third guy basically never mentions it other than as a source for info on upcoming events or whatever.

It probably helps that all of my real friends live close by and I see most of them every two weeks or so at the very least, we use a Telegram group to make plans and occasionally shoot the shit on there too, but the group is mostly dead quiet during the workweek.

I've had Twitter for several years now to follow a bunch of music/entertainment/sports people mainly, I don't tweet, don't RT or favorite stuff, am not on there under my real name, don't follow nor am I followed by any real life acquaintances, don't want to be found.

I'm a regular at three or four forums at any given time but I disagree that they're the same thing, they're a lot more casual and predominantly about keeping in touch with certain topics or subjects rather than personalities. There is definitely posturing too, but I think the social network / popularity aspect of forums, or mailing lists for that matter, was more of an afterthought or side effect that I never really cared for whereas it's at the core of the more recent 'social media'. I actually quit several forums when for my liking their emphasis shifted too much towards how 'hilarious' and pally their members were being instead of actually writing something on topic every now and then but I guess I'm just boring and old.

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It's also interesting to mention that tech journalists do not use Facebook to keep up with news as it's inconsistent in displaying all news right away so it's easy to miss certain topics. They use techmeme instead

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I recently quit Facebook for a year, and it was really nice. However, being overseas from most of my 'friends' I was starting to feel ostracized a bit, and know groups of people that use that as their only communication medium. They weren't answering emails, and phone calls just seemed to confuse everyone. What do you know? I join back up, and people start talking to me again. Quite frustrating though.

 

One friend was actually angry that I left FB. Why would he get angry? Seems to be a modern behavior and it is so confusing to me.

 

Very similar to reactions I got. Eventually I decided that if they wouldn't go through the (truly) minimal effort to call or text me, or send me a message on Skype, then surely they were not worth my time associating with. I definitely felt the ostracization, but then eventually became grateful for what was basically a new level of quality control in my acquaintances.

 

The question is, is seeing what movie recently seen or lunch recently had of someone you really haven't truly had a meaningful interaction with for years actually a friendship or anything resembling a relationship we need to maintain? This wasn't even a thing 10 years ago. You used to just be like "oh hey whatever happened to that guy we used to know? he moved to another country and probably has a whole new group of friends now" and things were somehow just fine that way.

Edited by autopilot
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I was just thinking about how when I was a kid (long long time ago), you would occasionally think "Man... I haven't heard from that person in ages..." and you would go find their phone number (probably in the phone book, or call someone you know for it), and then you would ring them and maybe talk for an hour.

 

I just can't imagine doing that now.

 

 

Self-control is cool.

 

But also hard.

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I recently quit Facebook for a year, and it was really nice. However, being overseas from most of my 'friends' I was starting to feel ostracized a bit, and know groups of people that use that as their only communication medium. They weren't answering emails, and phone calls just seemed to confuse everyone. What do you know? I join back up, and people start talking to me again. Quite frustrating though.

 

One friend was actually angry that I left FB. Why would he get angry? Seems to be a modern behavior and it is so confusing to me.

 

Very similar to reactions I got. Eventually I decided that if they wouldn't go through the (truly) minimal effort to call or text me, or send me a message on Skype,

 

So you're going to force people to use telephones now are you, or install skype !! You can't have it both ways broski, be annoyed that they were mad at you for leaving facebook and then be mad at them when then don't use your contact mode of choice (that is still an armslegth away from humon contact anyway, "why don't they physically visit me to tell me that they want to visit, i'm so mad at them").

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Facebook and Instagram okay i understand (i dont do neither of those) but twitter is important to keep in touch with the world and its not that addictive, check it every few hours to see what is going on in the world.

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Facebook and Instagram okay i understand (i dont do neither of those) but twitter is important to keep in touch with the world and its not that addictive, check it every few hours to see what is going on in the world.

 

Yeah Twitter is great imo, if only for following record labels, artists, venues, publishers, etc - It really is the perfect tool to keep track of a thousand interests at once

 

It has its downsides though.. I think twitter is the social network people take the most personally. A couple friends have been mad at me cause I didn't follow them - one of them being a guy who only and exclusively tweeted passive agressive remarks to her girlfriend

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Guest volg4

never had a facebook or twitter account, havent had a tv in over 10 years...

lol, not a hipster either... :cerious:

 

its really strange when im at someones house who has a tv, im just hipnotised... cant keep my eyes off it

ill be having a conversation and the flashy, loud, jingly noises and visuals just grab me

 

i wonder if im just not used to now it or if everyone else is just desensitised and is able to filter that shit out?

so they need to make louder and flashier stuff to grab people

 

it leaves me feeling like ive ate a bag of sugar, really sickly and over stimulated

 

i dont miss it

 

i only lurk some music and tech forums and rarely post anywhere except WATMM :music::wub:

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The amount of time I spend on Facebook has gotten way out of hand. Twitter less so. I use Facebook a lot for contacting promoters, labels, venues etc - but I don't think it's made a blind bit of difference in terms of helping to promote my music or get gigs. In fact, I think the opposite's true. I'm always concerned that these people will have too much of a view into my personal life which utterly shatters any possibility of me being perceived as 'cool'. I'm starting to wonder now if no social media whatsoever connected to my music would be a better idea. Just an email address and the tunes.

 

Also, I agree with how it creates a lens as to how we see the world. That constant seeking vaildation and getting tiny pellets of reward feeds a self-centred view of the world. On top of that when I see producers or whoever doing really well, I get jealous. WHat the fuck is that about? They've probably heavily edited their online lives anyway.

 

Either way, I need to get rid of Facebook. I'm constantly checking it while I'm watching TV, playing with my daughter, or talking to my wife. I have zero attention span anymore. It's gone beyond a joke.

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never had a facebook or twitter account, havent had a tv in over 10 years...

lol, not a hipster either... :cerious:

 

its really strange when im at someones house who has a tv, im just hipnotised... cant keep my eyes off it

ill be having a conversation and the flashy, loud, jingly noises and visuals just grab me

 

i wonder if im just not used to now it or if everyone else is just desensitised and is able to filter that shit out?

so they need to make louder and flashier stuff to grab people

 

it leaves me feeling like ive ate a bag of sugar, really sickly and over stimulated

 

i dont miss it

 

i only lurk some music and tech forums and rarely post anywhere except WATMM :music::wub:

 

Yo, that exact same shit happens to me. A lot of people I know just always have a TV on in the background, fall asleep to it, etc. The moment I walk in the room I'm just like "hey guys how's it go--omg glowing box with loud noises and flashing colors" and just stare at it, drooling, like an infant.

 

That's not to say I don't watch TV shows or anything, because I do, I just don't passively leave mediocre programming on in the background to drown out whatever I don't want to think about.

 

 

So you're going to force people to use telephones now are you, or install skype !! You can't have it both ways broski, be annoyed that they were mad at you for leaving facebook and then be mad at them when then don't use your contact mode of choice (that is still an armslegth away from humon contact anyway, "why don't they physically visit me to tell me that they want to visit, i'm so mad at them").

 

 

I'm not forcing anyone to use a phone... talking to me is voluntary and always has been. I never said that I was mad at them either, just that if they're thinking "hey I'd like to talk to autopilot, but not enough to talk to him via anything other than this webpage I already have open" then it must not be anything worthy of either of our time. Most of the Facebook addicts are browsing it on their phone as well, so if spending 2 seconds to move their fingers and click the SMS app button that everyone has is such a bother they'd rather not talk to me instead, than that's someone I probably shouldn't have in my life. It's not like I'm forcing anyone to go out and buy phones to get in touch with me, so your argument's pretty ridiculous.

Edited by autopilot
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