I’ve been social media free for about a month. I was inspired by my friend who, after being very active for years, one day just quit. I was also nudged into it by the last social media fight I’ve had with my cousin that left me furious, raging and ultimately drained. It was the best decision I made in the last few years.
Being finally away from this attention commanding vortex has yielded some very profound realizations about the nature of social media. Those realizations came out of a newfound equanimity and an emotional balance which was seriously lacking since I rejoined FB about 2 years ago and especially since the start of “pandemic”. I now realize how consumed I was by this devilish device which “intravenously” fed me click bait “news”, loads of irrelevant commentary from half wits that argue incessantly over anything and everything, and picture-perfect posts from posers of all shapes and sizes.
Especially since March 2020 when human stupidity, which has been steadily growing since advent of high-speed internet, exploded in the shape of “pandemic”, cancel culture, BLM, U.S. presidential elections, I have been sucked into this world that turns us into radical, angry, emotional wrecks. Because social media has replaced any kind of meaningful social forum, I tried to stand up against this stupidity for the sake of my children through social media. Being finally free of it I now realize what a monumental waste of time that was.
Social media algorithms have one purpose only and that is to command your attention for maximum amount of time. Hence, they measure your attention and shove more of the same down your throat. You apply this to politics and current events, and it means that we are increasingly fed one side of the story, in effect being radicalized and pushed to the fringes of political discourse. Because we humans are basically animals, what rouses us emotionally gets our attention, which means that social media algorithms push on us content that stimulates us emotionally. And since strongest emotions command most attention, we are pushed to anger, despair, envy, and the myriad of other intense, mostly negative emotions. Kind of like traditional media where everything is sensationalized to elicit an emotional response and grab attention, but now with the full power of computers and machine learning behind it. Human mind, no matter how intellectually sophisticated or emotionally stable, stands no chance.
Concurrently, what grabs most attention are bite-sized pieces of information in the form of headlines and memes. Since moving from topic to topic is just a thumb swipe away, these nibbles of information have to be both attention grabbing (i.e. outrageous) and simple so that they can be “understood” in milliseconds in which our brains stay focused on them. And so we consume loads of dumb shit without any context and any critical thinking and which heightens our emotional states. Add to that an ocean of comments, feelings, and opinions from billions of semi-literate 21st century, spoiled, empty humans and we are basically shoving rat poison into our heads and hearts.
So after 15 months of thinking I am fighting for my kids by posting stuff on social media I am left worse off than I was. I lost people in my life because they found my posts radical (just like I found their silence cowardly and cretinous). I wasted hundreds of hours which could have been put to a much better use. I ruined my health by constantly being in an emotionally aggravated state. And probably most importantly, it did not amount to anything that even resembles a benefit to my family and my immediate surroundings. Schools are still closed, masses are still mesmerized by a statistically insignificant virus, civil liberties are freely given away for “safety”, experimental treatments are still being pushed on children, social fabric is unravelling. I have nothing to show for the cost I paid.
And now? I still despise humanity of the 21st century. I have no patience for virus zealots, posers, brainless masses. I am still worried into what kind of world my kids will grow into. I still incredulously look at what the world is turning into and what my fellow humans are capable of. The difference is that I am now much calmer, emotionally divested from these things, able to look at them more rationally, and less emotionally. And hence, I am better able to chart the way forward, how to be of service to my loved ones, how to navigate in this new, crazy world. And since my emotional state is less hijacked with feelings of anger, rage, fear, panic, there is now space for love and care, which surely has a more beneficial effect on my family. I have cut myself off from traditional media long time ago, and now I’ve put the evil of social media in the rear-view mirror, once and for all. Good riddance, I’ve found my peace.