virenlr The Mind of an Overthinker

Why I Cannot Stand Social Media

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Before I begin this article, I would like to make a disclaimer: I fully realize and understand the positive impact that social media has made, is making, and will make in our lives. I acknowledge that social media helps people across the world stay connected. It allows a father in Canada to talk to his daughter in India, almost as if he was sitting right there beside her. Social media applications like Facebook and WhatsApp help people get together, plan, and connect. They allow people to peek into the on-goings of others’ lives. Social media is a tool; just like a knife, it can be used to kill, or it can be used to cut vegetables. When used appropriately, it allows people to work together and play together. It is indeed a miracle of the 21st century. That said, here are seven reasons why I cannot stand social media.

1. Birthdays, Events, and Greetings: I am a person who places great value on wishing someone on their birthday, simply because of the love and care associated with the act. However, it is not the actual wishing that has great value. After all, how much of an effort does it take to say the words “happy birthday”? For me, it is the act of remembering the birthday (or any other momentous occasion for that matter) that counts. When one can make space in their busy minds to store that little extra piece of information, it shows a great deal of genuine respect for the person on the receiving end. This is where Facebook steps in and ruins the process. Because of Facebook and its way of reminding its users, the whole meaning behind the act of wishing is lost. Wishing becomes more of a formality and less of an emotional exchange. Furthermore, I cannot recall the number of times I have received elaborate picture-cards and group-forwards on WhatsApp. While sending someone a picture off Google images or a generic, elaborately written greeting on a festival day might seem extravagant to some, the personalization and emotional significance of sending someone a written message just for them are lost. I would much rather have a one-line greeting with my name on it than a ten-page message forwarded to fifty different people with the same content.

2. Memory: I think it is sad that we live in a world where even youngsters can no longer remember basic details. I can understand not knowing the birthdays and phone numbers of every single person in one’s life. Still, I think that it is unacceptable to forget the phone numbers and birthdays of one’s oldest, closest friends. Once again, social media has diminished the capacity of our powerful ability to remember.

3. Judgment and The Need to Impress: As we all know, people do not upload their saddest, most painful, heart-wrenching moments on social media. Of course, why would anyone want to portray themselves to the world when they are at their lowest? Due to this one-sided image that people choose to share, we now all live in a reality where we believe that we are the only ones with severe problems and that others live without a care in the world. In excess, this thinking can be detrimental, both physically and mentally. It is no wonder then that more and more people feel depressed in our societies every day.

4. Validation: I must admit, I am one of these people. While I am logically fully aware that “likes” and “shares” do not define both the quantity and quality of friends in my life, I find myself a victim of social validation. It is unhealthy, but I know that I am not the only victim of this disease. Unfortunately, when we compare our personal image with that of our friends’ public ones, we feel naturally inclined to measure our status and worth based on our social approval. This leads to misplaced feelings of loneliness, low self-worth, and many self-criticisms, with poor self-esteem.

5. Time Management: When you read a book, you stop on the last page. When you eat a meal, you stop when there is nothing left to eat. When you interact with people in real life, you stop at the end of the occasion. With social media, however, there is no “end.” You can keep scrolling and scrolling forever because the world will never run out of content to share with you. In this situation, most of us find ourselves unable to stop and do something else. After all, our minds are wired to perform a task until its completion. So when do you stop in a reality where there is no end?

6. Lack of Proper Communication: I have found myself stuck in so many situations of miscommunication while texting. It is widely known and accepted that communication consists of 55% body language, 38% voice, and only 7% of spoken words. Only 7% of the entire intended message goes through when you text someone, leaving the remaining 93% to the viewer’s imagination and attitude. This can potentially lead to severe misunderstandings, especially when the people involved have communicated more via text than in person.

7. Information: When you click on a suggested video on YouTube, more suggestions of the same nature appear later on. When you buy a product from Amazon, similar products appear in the advertisements that you see on the side. Similarly, social media like Facebook have a subtle way of showing the user what they want to see. For example, journalism can be very subjective; there is no right or wrong in most situations, with the truth being more a matter of perspective than objectivity. Facebook will thus bring to your attention all the news articles and journalistic content of the nature that you like to consume, which may not always include the objective truth, thus leading to the worsening of preconceived notions and biases.

As I said before, I acknowledge and understand the positive impact that social media makes on our lives and relationships. For the reasons mentioned above, however, I cannot stand social media. Do you have any other reasons for disliking it? Do you disagree with some of the points mentioned above? Let me know in the comment section below!

virenlr The Mind of an Overthinker

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I'm a self-certified overthinker. I write articles about the thoughts I have when overthinking. I'm also an ML Engineer and App Developer. But who am I, really?