The wasteland of social media.

There's little doubt that the online world of social media is a pit of hate and despair.

9 months ago

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There's little doubt that the online world of social media is a pit of hate and despair.

Arguments based on false equivalency, fake news, far-right and far-left propaganda everywhere, division, hatred for others, constant bickering and hateful words.

Click bait, selling weapons of death, human trafficking... the list just goes on and on.

Small people, small minds, and platforms that encourage them to spread their disease of lunacy.

That IS Facebook. That IS Twitter. That IS every social media platform that profits off people's data and classifies them by an algorithm.

They turn us into commodities to be traded and profited from. We aren't humans to people like Mark Zuckerfuck.

We're things. Products.

If something is free, YOU'RE the product. - Richard Serra

All the information they silently glean and sell about your daily habits and lives result in those oh so prescient ads that pop up into your feed.

They know more about you than you do, and they especially know all your weak spots they can use to eke out just a few more dollars from your dusty, soon to be empty wallet.

They manipulate you, abuse your trust, make you hate the world in a lot of ways.

And like an abusive partner, you keep logging in and going back to this toxic relationship, wondering why things seem to get worse all the time.

That's the story that keeps you coming back for more, of course. So they play it in an endless loop. Addicting you to the feed.

The only way to cure an addiction is to detox and rehab.

Detoxing isn't easy.

The social media companies are run and developed by shrewd thinkers. They know how to profit off of people and regardless of what they may say they don't care very much who gets hurt by that.

They've developed insidious tools to trap you. The "like," the "follow," the "upvote." Each one designed to produce a chemical response in your brain to eat your shit sandwich and give them more data to manipulate you.

The only way I've found to do this is to start shutting down profiles. As of now, I only have a Twitter, which I use mostly to catch up to the second political stuff and see what some of my favorite comic books creators are doing.

Ultimately, you just have to decide to do it. Deactivate the accounts, delete the apps, put down the phone, and take a deep breath.

It'll be okay. I remember a time before all the tech. We survived just fine, and it's not like you're going to be giving up your internet or all your modern digital living.

You're just going to start using it in a more mindful manner. This is the absolute key of it all.

Your time is valuable.

Many people I've spoken with say they always "feel rushed." I think a large part of this is due to life becoming an "always on" situation where your private moments are intruded upon by the outside world via their digital devices.

That invasion happens a lot with most social platforms. Notifications are another insidious mind fuck, using friendships to manipulate your attention.

Once you make some of these changes, diving a bit into digital minimalism, I think you'll find that you agree considering what you'll have time to accomplish.

The hours I've regained since severely limiting social media is ridiculous.

My creativity has gone through the roof. I'm writing blogs, zines, brainstorming, you name it. It has been a boon for that aspect of my life, no doubt.

I've also started focusing on things I would constantly push off and then complain about online, like my finances, relationships, depression, and physical health.

Now I have time to balance budgets, engage in meaningful relationships, take on my depression, and take walks.

Once you get used to the time you get back, you'll laugh at how much time people spend turning into zombies.

I'm no longer "on" 24-7.

My smartphone is no longer attached to me, and my anxiety is way down.

I'm not dreading the next message I get in an argument with my ex. I'm not afraid of work emails coming in during my off hours. I'm not worried about participating in conversations I don't feel like participating in.

I'm picking and choosing how I engage the world, with intent and mindfulness, which empowers me.

I'm not doomscrolling anymore, either. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the mountain of shit news that comes out with the way the world is. It's downright depressing and can lead some to spiral.

This is a thing of the past for me now. No longer am I outraged because the algorithms think I should be. I'm able to look at news that upsets me with a critical eye. I still get upset, but not "punch a hole in the wall" upset or "I don't even see a point to it all" upset.

There are downsides.

Some people will feel like you're minimizing them out of your life. This isn't your concern. Your concern is with your mental health and living a balanced, healthy lifestyle. A life you enjoy. A life worth living.

I don't answer my phone frequently because it's nowhere near me. I don't message back in seconds, minutes, or even hours. I may answer several days later.

If people feel like you're abandoning them, remind them that there are other options to communicate besides social media. Here are a few:

Also remind them you're not obligated to be online 24/7 and they shouldn't be either.  It's not healthy.

Finally, don't feel like you have to become a hermit.

I like to be alone. I like the freedom of solitude. I like being able to do what I want. I'm an introvert with a bundle of issues involving socialization.

That doesn't mean you have to be! And these changes don't force you into that kind of lifestyle.

I think properly balancing your digital and analog life will result in better relationships. You just might not be "Facebook Official" or whatever the fuck other stupidity the people stealing your identities might want.

Tune in, drop out, and be free fam.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Joe Forest

Published 9 months ago


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