Half a year ago I deleted my facebook account and made a new one with a limited number of “friends”. More than a month ago, I decided to delete my instagram account, in which I had about 4,000 followers, many daily comments and direct messages. Those two apps were the only ones I had been using, which is probably not many to most people.. because there is also snapchat, twitter, tumbr and so on, which are being used by millions of people. And still I felt those “social media” accounts were too much, the benefits too little, their harms too severe.
So please feel free to exchange the names of the applications you are using for the ones I am using… and I am sure it still will make some sense.
Lets start with facebook. It is THE social media … most people use it, almost everyone has at least tried it. Some have accounts they barely use, others post every day, and other post several times a day. People share their thoughts, their pictures, their food, their private moments and so on. People post when they are angry, happy, depressed, bored, and you name it.
There are a few things about facebook that make me worry a lot though.
First of all, we do have so many friends on facebook and barely speak 5% of them. We count friends on facebook and spend less time in real friendship. Sitting behind a screen and showing the world how many friends you have, while you do not have people you could call in the middle of the night because you felt down or sick. It makes us lonely instead of social.
Second we compare. How amazing is the life of others right? Their perfectly trained bodies, their 5 university degrees and prizes they win, their handsome boyfriend or very hot girlfriend. Look what a happy and functioning family he or she has. And me? Sitting here with a few kilograms too much/ not even a 2-pack, only being average at university or stuck in an job which makes me unhappy. Life is not positive all the time, even those on facebook who seem to live the happiest and perfect lives do have issues and moments of frustration, but those are not being shared, of course.. So, if you do not share them on social media, and your friendships are not as strong as they should be where do you get rid of all the frustration? Who will listen to you? Who will make you hot chocolate or tell you that you are just being silly and worrying for not reason? Who will tell you that you are perfect the way you are and you do not have to compete with the fake perfect lives of others.
Third thing I am very allergic to, when it comes to facebook, is, that we spend… no waste so much time in front of the screen. We keep checking on other peoples lives over and over again. How many times a day do you log into facebook? Oh wait I guess you do not even log out right? It just stays logged in. Because every now and then you check updates: at the bus stop, at the line in the supermarket, at home when you wake up, before you go to bed, when you are waiting at the waiting rooms, sitting in the train, etc. Everyone is looking down on their phones. No one wants to do small talk to random strangers. We are avoiding eye contact because we fear someone could disturb us while we are checking facebook and listening to music.
About a year ago I started forcing myself to put my phone down in those situations.. and from force became a habit. I observe. And you know what my conclusion is? You can have lovely conversations with old people. Especially old ladies are adorable. Actually, old people are the only ones who do speak, because they do not own a smartphone I guess? And then there are the “older” people, which I should not call that way because my mom would be offended but those who are age 50+ are also happy to talk to young people about anything… So why do we, the young, energetic, openminded, adventurous and fun generation not talk to each other? I will leave this question unanswered.
As I said I also deleted my instagram account.
The day I announced I was going to delete my instagram account, I received hundreds of messages of people who had never cared about me (at least that’s what I thought), what I was posting or thinking, asking why I decided to delete my accounts. This means, they were really following me.
Why I did it, I do not know. I had the feeling that this was the right thing to do. And believe me saying goodbye to 4,000 followers (which is not much compared to others but still a lot) is not easy. But the minute I deleted my account and the app… I did not even think one second about it, or tried to find the app, or missed it. It was unexpectedly fine. Instagram works a bit differently than facebook as you might know, it is only about pictures showing off what an amazing life you have. And then you can choose to make it public or only visible to friends.
All pictures on instagram are unfortunately making people unhappy- and we are not even aware of that. Seeing all that perfect world in which you are no part of, can be very frustrating. Some see it as motivation… which might work I am not denying that but, but this motivation comes from envy. And envy is not good for anyone.
Social media is soaking out the happiness of us. We do not have real friends anymore, we do compare ourselfs to the perfect people out there, we forget the world around us and how much more the real world has to offer than the “social” media world.
Now you might ask yourself, but why do you still have facebook?
For me the only adventage of facebook is keeping contacts, people I meet on my trips around the world and to whom I will not talk on regular bases but who are happy to hear from me once in a while or when I want to visit them vice versa.
Oh and congratulations whatsapp!!! A step closer to become a “social” media as well with the new snapchat/status function.