Why I got off Social Media…Pt 1

  1. I’m not a public relations officer.
  2. Data is expensive.

I can actually end the article here.

I’m not one to enquire about the Wi-Fi password at every establishment I walk into, unless I’m travelling or need to upgrade my software. So being active on 4 plus social media sites did require a lot of fuel. I say fuel because being without data these days is so catastrophic one would rather go hungry.

Ok so the more serious reasons why I de-activated my accounts from major social networks are of a personal nature. The biggest; was my flaw in being a procrastinator! I will postpone doing something important for as long as I possibly can especially if it doesn’t inspire me. Unfortunately there are many mandatory things one has to do and I will use my Facebook/instagram as a much-needed distraction as they are clearly far more interesting than anything one has to do. Naturally, my turnaround times were much longer and I would sing regrets over lost time.

Secondly, social media made me feel discontent about my life. It’s true. When I’m going through a dry season or hardship, scrolling through my news feed made me feel even worse. Everyone out there seems to be having the time of their lives and everything is going well for them except for poor miserable me! What I would fail to realize is that on social media people post only the good stuff about their lives, to keep building up their personal brand. People post sad stuff more often than not to get sympathy from the rest of the audience. Even the ones who do post adverse news genuinely annoy everyone else coz frankly aint no nobody go time for that.

So you end up feeling like you are retrogressive when in actual fact you are measuring yourself against an unrealistic hype people are creating about themselves. I’m note sure if its for self validation or nursing egos. So please don’t feel left out; everyone is trying to put their best foot forward. I once asked a guy friend of mine why they were so obsessed with social media and he looked at me dumb founded, like; “duh – how else was he supposed to know how well he was doing against his peers?”

In addition, social media creates a false sense of closeness with your ‘real’ friends, not the virtual ones you have never met or ever will meet. One no longer sees the need to set aside a Sunday afternoon to check up on old friend, because frankly you are up to date with everything that has been happening in their lives, or you have some sort of idea. I mean they posted a picture smiling the other day; they must surely be over their illness/heart break. Even if our friends are not frequent posters seeing them liking a status or commenting somewhere indicates to us that they are okay. And unfortunately there is great benefit in physical interaction with people as we get to share in their energy and learn a lot about and from them just by being around them. You may be the loneliest person on earth, but as long as you have your 1023 online friends and a minimum of 10 likes on every post, you’re okay.

The virtual reality becomes so addictive that even when you are blessed with the presence of the living beings around you, you cannot wait to have a moment to yourself with your phone to check your notifications and refresh your feed. You have one new like on a status you posted in the morning and yet you feel the need to go into the app and check how the new like fits into you status. You end up reading your status 16 times in one day and pat yourself on the back for jotting down something so relevant and popular. Ok, maybe not everyone has experienced this; I should probably speak for myself. I eventually got tired of clapping for myself at every feedback I got or a compromised validation if I don’t get it. So I created a rule: Every App that requires me to baby sit my phone would be deleted.

Facebook

This was my biggest time waster, and it was my first app to go. One does get exposed to a lot of interesting subject matters; reconnect with old friends and helps spread the word to whatever buy in one wanted. But the problem came with the Candy crush invites, Check who is viewing your profile, and undesired tags in pictures one is not even in. I see now they even have a friendship anniversary thingy to commemorate how many interactions, likes, statuses etc. you have shared with a friend you haven’t even seen for the past 5 years, and yet you share so much! So those little nuances turned me off a bit, then through my random conspiracy research I discovered that Facebook is used for personal profiling and that information is made available to security agencies and marketing companies. Your tags check INS, page likes, login activity and in boxing are putting you in particular segment of society and you are literally being watched. Having no privacy for me was a bit unsettling, as I believe there is a desired order out of all the chaos.

What switched me off again on Facebook was that every single morning I could not get out of bed without scrolling through my feed. And as expected I would find gems of information and end up reading a whole article on how a woman became friends with a lion and married it. It also helped me waste my precious time stalking people who have no interest in me. As human beings we get fascinated with people who don’t like us and we make an effort to follow up on what makes them think they are better enough to not be interested in who we are. So some days I would find myself going through a 6 year old picture of my ex’s girlfriends sister just to try and link up a connection to whatever justification I was trying to convince myself off. It basically got me to lose my self-control and I eventually got rid of it. I wont even start to mention how it saved me from the insecurity that my foes and frenemies somehow had sight of what was happening in my life OR people checking in at KFC, bed, home, work, literally everywhere…wasting my data, mxxim!

Instagram

Oh I loved this platform and I must admit that I actually deleted in by mistake. I was de-activating my profile for a few days and when I tried to log in it rejected me. I was sore for about a week and then quickly realized that it was a blessing in disguise coz I didn’t have data stress that week. The problem with instagram is that people post only the best shot of their best moments. At least on Facebook one could pick up on how empty some people’s approach to life was, but on instagram there was basically no room for error. I have seen people chilling on the couch posting beach champaigne pictures from last years holiday. Talk about marketing on the layer of the PR practice! This unfortunately puts us under unnecessary pressure to keep up a certain lifestyle or persona we’ve created about ourselves. And the one shortfall was that scrolling through the news feed would sometimes bore me and I now had specific peoples profiles that I was interested in. So every time I log in I would go and directly type in their names to check if they have posted anything new while I was away, scrolling through the picture feed will take so long and chow so much data. Eventually everyone else becomes just an extra against your chosen people, they could be friends, and friends of friends, crushes, celebs, relatives, etc. but ultimately these people officially make you a fan. Yes they don’t to be famous for you to obsess over them.

Another instagram frustration was those people who have profiles, but never post and keep liking your stuff. Those that have many followers but follow no one. I could go on. But there are some very fascinating pages that can teach one a lot and give beneficial insight

Twitter

It’s super addictive coz It’s just so damn nice! I’ve had some serious withdrawal symptoms I must admit. Watching a TV show and following the hash tag enhances the experience so much more! Twitter is also very informative and requires less scrolling power. The most valid affirmations on this platform are retweets and quotations, favorites are the cherry on top and a following is first prize. At first I struggled to get followers until I figured that one thought a week wont cut it, I needed to throw in as much bait in there, eventually someone might catch something. You can laugh for days there, and become an activist overnight; I swear if government elections were run on twitter they would be most effective. If there is a social ill that one feels strongly about they will just participate in the hash tag and if they are lucky enough it might make it to the news! Oh and companies preserve their brands by responding to complaints, its really just PR not the power of your tweet.

Linked-In

Is the only platform I’m still active in purely because I can see the value it adds to my life because I once got a very lucrative employment offer through the platform. The news feed is normally on professional and educational matters versus personal rants. There are a few show offs here and there but for now the benefit outweigh the inconvenience. One also filter the stuff they want to see and what current job opportunities on offer. I don’t spend much time on the platform frankly because its not exactly entertaining and it’s the one place where I am intentionally building and maintain my brand. Knowing me, maybe in the future I might find a reason to disregard it, but for now it stays.

Wats app

Hmmm, this one is still in the court of appeal. It is rather a cheaper form of communication and effective when used well. But we all know the procrastinator in me wants to scroll through peoples profile pictures and statuses when faced with boredom or a daunting task.

Viber, we-chat, etc.

I haven’t tried them and have no interest in creating a new obligation to my already limited time span.

In closing…

Social media does have its positive sides no doubt and I’m in no way judging those who are active on the above platforms or more. It does make life easier and expands the access to knowledge and makes life more enjoyable I guess. But I believe each person approach anything in a manner that works best for them. I do miss the fact that I was able to reach far more people with my inspirational posts, but in the same breath my shortcomings enslaved me to use of the platforms. So for now this website will have to for reach.

I believe in life we all find what we actively look for. I was fortunate enough to discover a subject matter that was of the outmost importance to my life on instagram and since then I have been collecting literature and sites that broaden my knowledge on the science.

This was just part one of why I am discarding social media, a Part 2 will follow soon, hopefully it will put a few more things into perspective especially to those who may perceive my approach as antisocial behavior.

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4 Responses to “Why I got off Social Media…Pt 1”

  1. Sibusiso says:

    Thanks for the post, it made me feel that I’m not the only one who has come to the full realisation of what social media is… time waster. I’m down to only Twitter. I started off with Instagram because of the obvious reasons… data cost, then I followed with Facebook; it just wasted so much of my precious time. Finally, Whatsapp followed; most people were saying to me the same thing you expressed… “the cheaper form of communication”. One thing I have realised is that I want it to cost me something to be in touch with another human being especially friends and loved ones. Our relationships were worth more back then when it cost us 90c a minute from pay-phone to talk to your friend/girlfriend/boyfriend then now…

    From this I’ve come to realise that we can live perfectly normal lives without so much social media… for me, I would say, just pick only one, not all.

    Great post, thanks!

    • inneradmin says:

      Thanks for reading Sbu, glad you identify with the sentiments. I really like your insights of having to compromise something to reach your loved ones. If something comes freely/cheaply we rarely value it.

      Yup! serious time wasters these things are. Part 2 will focus on how this virtual reality is diverting us from our real existence.

  2. Lindiwe Khanyile says:

    Thanks for the lovely read yazi I mostly agree with what you saying. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Whatsapp which has confused and ruined some of my relationships( business, family, friends, and potentials) over the years because we assume and we long and mostly pretend to be what we are not just to fit in the diversified. I recently came to this realization , that these platforms were made to classify people they even have apps to enhance what’s not “so” up to the required standard to fit in with whatever the social media peeps feel is perfect or easy for their eyes to look at, it’s like another way of clouding or putting our minds in a box. It makes us want and want and I wonder when are we going to stop wanting and enjoy who we are and what we have. Yes it’s good for business but is it good for human nature, do people afford leaving the life they post will people ever learn to be content and actually nurture what they have ….I felt pressurised and stupid at times with all the check-ins and posing for a camera posting of food and whatever else, while missing out being in the moment and enjoying the whatever I’m set out to be doing ….. but I recently grew a nerve and I’m no longer feeling obliged to put everything out or read and stalk on what other people are getting up to. Even with whatsapp which I still use pretty much everyday I know when to switch my data off and not feel guilty.

    • inneradmin says:

      Thank you for reading Lindiwe 🙂

      “social media has confused and ruined some of my relationships” is such a hard truth to acknowledge hey. Unfortunately we become active participants to our our ruin. You start getting paranoid about petty things (wats app ticks) and related to loved ones in unrealistic manners.
      Proud to hear that you have defying the norm and using social media only on your own terms at your own time. Goodluck!

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