I have a big problem with social media. It is a dilemma that I have been grappling with for a while. I have not found any solutions yet, but I have devised a few options.
Here is the problem:
I DO NOT WANT TO BE ON SOCIAL MEDIA ANY MORE.
Okay so, on the surface, this seems fairly straightforward and simple. The next logical step down this rabbit hole would be to deactivate my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and all other social media accounts forever.
The dilemma I have is that this is actually not so simple for two reasons:
- I use social media to promote my films, music, and all other creative projects.
- I stay connected with friends and relatives all over the world.
It does not help that there are no monetary fees attached to using social media and that I can store literally countless terabytes of data, videos, and photos on their platforms. The powers that be behind these internet behemoths have made it all too convenient and inescapable to inhabit their ecosystems.
Personally though, there are trade-offs that I have become increasingly dissatisfied with:
- There is a constant bombardment of advertising on these sites that continues to fuel a culture of consumerism and capitalism.
- These platforms utilize incredibly sophisticated technology and algorithms that capitalize on your usage habits, sensibilities, and history to tailor its advertising strategies. This encroaches on personal privacy and feels incredibly manipulative.
- These sites are designed to be highly addictive. I have lost valuable time scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feeds and losing track of my day and priorities.
- Negativity, amid national and worldwide catastrophes like police brutality and climate change, has become the predominant currency of social media. The onslaught of negative posts and arguing induces anxiety and depression. This does not serve my mental health well at all.
- It is now well documented that Russia used Facebook to influence the last US election for president, and its efforts were successful. There is no justification for this under any circumstances.
I could go on and on, but these issues stand foremost in my mind.
Simply put, social media takes up mental space in my brain that I want to utilize for other priorities. I do not want to be brainwashed by advertising or a foreign country. I do not want to have a philosophical argument with a Trump supporter who won’t comprehend anything I say. I do not want to waste precious hours of my life staring at so much detritus on my computer screen.
Clearly, the trade-offs far outweigh the benefits that I derive from social media. At this point in my thinking, I feel like I need to take some sort of action. If I do not get rid of social media entirely, what is the middle ground that would make me feel better?
Here are some steps I am contemplating toward limiting my social media usage:
- Whittle down the number of sites I use to one platform. In my case, I get the most engagement from Facebook. I could simply stop using Instagram and Twitter and focus on Facebook exclusively.
- Remove social media apps from my phone and restrict usage to only my laptop.
- Restrict usage of social media to specific times of the day and week. Perhaps only engage on the weekdays as if it were a job, for example.
- Have a long term goal of phasing out Facebook by slowly migrating my audience to my website, blog, e-newsletter, and Youtube channel.
The truth is that I love using social media to create free and easy access to my creative work, and I love being able to check in on my friends all over the world whenever I want. However, I am simply not willing to tolerate the trade-offs anymore. I have reached an impasse, and I do not know what to do.
This post is a call for help and suggestions. What do you do to mitigate the impact of social media on your mental health and well being? Given the reasons and thoughts shared above, what do you think I should do?
Feel free to leave a comment below or on social media where I share this post. I could truly use some good guidance on this problem.
Thanks for reading, and please have a calm and joyful week ahead.
PS: I released a new film last Friday for my birthday. It is called “The Preservation of Self”. It is my first original work of art exploring colonialism. You can watch the full short film right here: