- Internet & the Web
Why I Said No to Facebook (and Social Media in General)
Do you remember Friendster, Multiply, and MySpace? We would take such a long time to carefully construct our bio section, choose our top 8 friends, and ask for testimonials from our friends.
Aside from uploading some pictures we didn't really have much use for these social media sites.
They were just a way for us to connect with people, old friends or ones we've newly met, in order to ease communication when it was necessary.
However, these have almost become obsolete (Fact: Multiply is currently an online market place where you can buy and sell things) and have been replaced by the new giants of social media.
Facebook is arguably the most popular site in history,
It gradually expanded and by the year 2012 it had over a billion active users, talk about networking. I’m pretty sure we are all familiar with how Facebook works.
Next up is Twitter that was created in 2006. This site allows us to post and read a maximum of 140 characters that is why it is referred to as the text messaging of the Internet. In a span of six years Twitter has had over a hundred million users.
Celebrities have been very active in this site and have cited it as a way to feel closer to their fans.
Last is Instagram that was launched in 2010. This is similar to twitter but focuses on photo and video sharing. This allowed regular users to feel like professionals with the option to select from a variety of photo filters enhancing the aesthetics of their images.
I'm pretty sure there are many more (snapchat, tumblr, and even tinder)but just listing a few.
All these social networking sites have become such a hit that I immediately signed up for each one as soon as they reached my circle.
I wouldn't want to feel like the odd one out so setting up an account became a necessity. It was really fun to be able to connect with my friends and family to see what they’re up to.
It became a tool for me to reconnect with old friends of whom I had lost contact with; it was so much easier to catch up with the help of these sites.
Meeting new friends and getting to know them was also greatly aided since they were, just a like, a follow, and a tweet away. My world became so much smaller and closer too.
With all the benefits from networking sites you might be wondering why after years with them I decided to delete all my accounts.
I wouldn't deny how much these have helped me and I am in no way influencing anyone to do the same. We all have different perspectives and experience and this was mine. I came to a point when I realized that I am better off without them. It came to a point where I would check my phone for notifications out of habit, I was obsessed with my social life within these sites.
I suddenly knew so much about people without even talking to them; I just had to look at their profiles, check their statuses, and view their photos.
It gave me the illusion of being close to people effortlessly. It’s as if there was no need for actual conversation to be updated with their lives. It gave me a false sense of closeness to people.
I became so caught up with how I presented myself on the Internet. I would take some time to choose the perfect profile picture and endlessly edit my status so I would sound witty and funny. I would be alarmed at notifications of tagged photos,
I would quickly check if they were worthy to be seen by people or if I am better off un-tagging myself. I wanted to show how I was always having the time of life and enjoying even if I wasn't. The limited social interactions I would have will not be complete without a photo, a status update, and a tweet.
It was an obsession to present such a perfect life, and yet no one really has such a perfect life in reality anyway. I spent so much time thinking of the opinions of people who most likely just scroll past my posts.
I caught myself trying so hard to please people that aren't really my actual friends, people that I have not much interaction outside of these sites.
I decided to say no to Facebook and other social media sites because I did not want to use them as a replacement for real social interactions. I decided to be updated with the lives of those I care about over some coffee or a few rounds of beers.
I was satisfied in having a small circle of people that I would actually enjoy spending time with. I decided that I did not need the pressure of having to present myself in a certain way just to please other people.
I wouldn't lie, the first week of quitting felt like hell, it was as if I was blind and had no idea what was going on around me but then came the second week, I started to reach out to old friends in person through parties, doing lunch and dinners, having a cup of coffee together and hey! I had a best friend who joined me to quit as well.
By the end of the month I had buddies I go on jogs with everyday which really changed my lifestyle, the one's I visit the pub with and the one's I avoid (not a big deal) if not for quitting social media I will still have to deal with.
It was worth it and I have never been happier.