Quitting Recreational Social Media

Published on: October 31st 2018

So today, with a spark of realisation, I have decided to get rid of recreational social media from my life. By recreational, I mean the social media websites and apps that you open when you are doing nothing and which add no significant value to your life (facebook, instagram, snapchat etc). I will however continue to use some social media for utlility purposes such as WhatsApp for quick messaging (not for stories), Twitter for following great people, and Reddit for staying in touch with the hype. Here are few important of the reasons why I decided to quit recreational social media:

  1. Waste of time: Most people use social media for at least an hour a day including the time in bathroom, work breaks, coffee breaks, pre-sleep. That sums to 7 hours a week and more than half a month every a year. This means, if you are to live for 50 more years, you will spend almost three years of your precious life just scrolling pictures on instagram, liking posts on facebook and/or taking selfies. Seems kind of ridiculous to me.
  2. Pseudo touch: You must have heard this sentence: "Yeah we are in touch on Facebook.". Wait. What? Is "being in touch on facebook" even a thing? With social media, you get a pseudo sense of touch, but, we know that things are quite different when you actually talk to them on phone or in person.
  3. Misidentification: Given the current state of Instagram and Facebook, most people are identified by their appearance; which is by far the worst thing social media has done to its users. Twitter is much better in that sense because people on twitter are identified more by their work and their ideas than their appearance. Of course there are exceptions, but let us not deny the general pattern. In fact, this realisation was the ultimate trigger for me to quit social media. I no longer want to think of somebody's appearance when I think about them. I'd rather not remember them at all than just remember them by their looks.
  4. Show off control: This point is specific to me and might not be generic. I was developing a habit of showing off things to friends/acquaintances via stories and posts. This is again a major waste of time because we all know that most of us don't give a heartless damn about the things that people post.
  5. Productivity enhancement: This is a hypothesis: I think, quitting social media will force people into developing productive hobbies, skills and activities that add value to life, like painting, dancing, singing, sports, reading books, learning new skills etc. This hypothesis comes from the fact that nobody wants to stay bored. I will write up a post later explaining if it works out.
  6. PhD in Keyboard Warfare: Most of us have forgotten how to make a real intimate conversation. When is the last time you have made a heartful apology in person? When is the last time you have passionately expressed gratitude? Do you tell your mom that you love her, instead of just texting "Love you mom!"? If you can recall, all these things used to happen ten years back. It is really sad that these words have been reduced merely to some bytes of data in a machine. Also, chat screens are used as shields these days. While texting, people feel free to say words that they would never say in person. Just because we can't be yelled, frowned or punched at, we find it convenient to use the keyboard for releasing our angry, frustrated, horny or jealous energies. We say things that we don't mean. We say things that we can never imagine saying to a person. I think it is because human beings haven't been conditioned to being compassionate towards a screen. I have said really hurtful and terrible things to people and am really guilty about it. Quitting social media is also an apology to all of them.

These are some of the reasons why I think social media sucks for overall human growth. To summarize this post, I would rather want to be a human than an API.

P.S: The link to this article is going to be my last ever WhatsApp story so that I don't get a spam of "Did you block me?" calls.

Edit: I have started using instagram for following the hobbies that I have been pursuing. I stayed away from Insta for 13 months and the past year has been the most productive one for me. Planning to continue using it in moderation.