The Red Flags Of Social Media
The clarity a social media break brings
This year, as you may know, I gave up social media for Lent, again. I knew my mindless scrolling of social media was getting out of hand, and I wanted more control over what content and news I was digesting everyday. So, it had to let it go, at least for a while.
It was, once again, a good break. It helped me to step back from that very often toxic environment and truly analyze whether it is serving me or whether it is doing me harm. I think for the most part, social media unchecked and out of control is doing harm. Not only to me, but to everyone who uses it. And below are some of the red flags I’ve observed.
Social media red flag #1 is how addictive it is. It’s like a drug you aren’t aware that you are consuming, but by all means IT IS consuming you! Once you’re good and addicted, your use mostly goes unchecked and gets out of control, and that’s pretty much the state of which the majority of its users are constantly in. At that point, it’s very difficult to cut yourself off from it, or even take a short break from it. And, that’s exactly the state that Meta wants you in. Whether you choose to believe it or not, by opting to use free platforms such as Facebook & Instagram you agree to become an unpaid employee of whatever company owns said platform. Your use generates ads that generate income for the company. The more they can keep you addicted to their platform, your health be damned!, the more money rolls in for them. And you get nothing, accept an addiction you may not realize you have until it’s too late, and one you’ll likely struggle too free yourself of.
Red flag #2 is that it shrinks your social sphere to online communication only, for the most part. Like alcohol, social media is a widely, socially accepted drug, and you're more likely to be considered strange if you don’t use it than if you do. For instance, my family can’t fathom why I gave up my Facebook all those years ago. They think I’ve cut myself off from them. Never mind the fact that I still have two Instagram accounts, a Twitter account, a blog, a podcast, and a website or two. And let’s not forget we can all still connect through a phone call, text message, video chat, or the old fashioned way of writing a letter. But how dare I shut down my Facebook account!? How will they know when I’ve gone to the bathroom, or what I’ve eaten for lunch? Yep, I’m rolling my eyes big time over here. We’ve forgotten how to communicate and socialize outside of the Metasphere, and that’s truly sad.
Red flag #3 is the toxic environment that is often cultivated on these platforms. I left Facebook because of what it does to people and how it makes them treat the people they profess to love and cherish. It can get pretty bad in there. I found I couldn’t stomach the toxicity, so I left. And honestly, I haven’t looked back. But I now find that same toxicity creeping into Instagram as well, and to a lesser extent (for me anyway), Twitter. It’s everywhere really, and at some point, we have to take back control over the content we digest. We have to just say no to toxic negativity in order to safeguard our mental and emotional health. It’s easier said than done, but it isn’t impossible.
Those are my top three red flags, but there are dozens of other, smaller reasons to severely limit your use or go without altogether. That though, is a personal choice, and I can’t make it for you. I can only share with you my thoughts and experiences, and you can take it or leave it. For me, this break has left me wanting to make changes to how I use social media and to reconsider how much of an online presence I really need. I’m not ready to shutdown all my social media, but I have started taking steps to limit it.
For instance, both my Instagram accounts are now private (I had one private & one public up to this point). I am currently working to print the Instagram posts from my original private account in small volumes through Chatbooks. Once I get a new Chatbook delivered, I delete those posts from Instagram. And within a year (as I have my reoccurring order setup at 2 books per month) I will have all my private Instagram posts printed and all those posts deleted from Instagram. I will likely do the same for my newly private Instagram account as well, though that’s still under consideration. That account may become public again, once I figure out what direction I want to go with it. I’m thinking I will only post photos there that are taken within the calendar year, and once a new year rolls around, those posts will be deleted and I will start again with photos taken in the new calendar year. Almost like a year long gallery exhibit. We’ll see how it goes…
What I do know for sure is that I didn’t miss the mindless scrolling on social media, and my plan is to not go back to it. I will try to use social media more purposefully and less often. This may mean that I heavily curate who I follow, so that there isn’t as much content in my face each time I’m in the app. Just the content I truly want to see. However it pans out for me, it will be because it is what I need or rather don’t need in my life. I feel like I grew up in that last generation of people who didn’t grow up with internet, and I miss those simpler times.
Anyway… I have also moved my portfolio website over here on Substack. I’d love it if you can give me a follow there as well. www.tishaluk.com (hopefully this link works because I’m having issues with my Substack links working right now.
Have you ever taken a social media break? If so, how’d it go? Did it help you change your usage or did you go right back to the mindless scrolling? Let me know in the comments! Until next time, be loving, be kind, be better!
I’ve certainly cut back a bit. The mindless scrolling is just a waste of time and I’d rather try to get more engagement through places like this.