Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become an integral part of many people’s lives. However, for some, the negative effects of these platforms can be overwhelming. In this personal account, the writer reflects on their own experiences with social media and the liberating effects of giving it up.
The author begins acknowledging the sanctimony of criticizing social media use, as they once indulged in it themselves. They specifically mention Facebook and Twitter as platforms they used unhealthily. What they found most troubling about these platforms was the way they encouraged people to create false narratives of their lives, showcasing only the highlights and hiding the complexities of reality.
One aspect that particularly bothered the author was the constant humblebragging – the self-promotion disguised as humility. They recognized that behind these polished online personas, there was a more nuanced reality that they and their friends were aware of.
While the author had already stopped posting on Facebook and deleted the app from their phone years ago, they still found themselves lurking occasionally. They also remained compulsively engaged with Twitter, even though it often caused more distress than benefit. The constant need to check the app and the impact it had on their attention became evident.
However, it was a friend’s advice that ultimately made the author reflect on the impact of social media on their brain. Three key questions helped them realize the addictive nature of these platforms: the rush of dopamine from likes, the compulsion to check the app regularly, and the behavior of thinking about sharing something before even fully engaging with it.
Taking this advice to heart, the author decided to go cold turkey and quit social media. The first few weeks were challenging, akin to quitting cigarettes, but they soon noticed the benefits. Their concentration improved, and they had more time to focus on the things that truly mattered. Writing and reading became more fulfilling without the pressure of posting or seeking validation.
In conclusion, the author suggests that everyone has their own relationship with social media, and for them, giving it up was a liberating experience. They no longer feel the need to promote their work or worry about how it will be received on social media. It is a personal journey of self-discovery and a newfound freedom from the pressures of online performance.
– Sanctimony: hypocritical righteousness or self-righteousness
– Lurked: observed or read without interacting or engaging
– Humblebragging: the act of subtly bragging or showing off while appearing modest
– Veneer: a thin layer that conceals the true nature of something
– Chimera: something that is imagined or hoped for but is illusory or impossible to achieve
– Dopamine: a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward
– Cold turkey: abruptly and completely stopping an addictive habit
– Compulsively: in an irresistible or excessive manner
Source: Paul Daley, The Guardian Australia