Social media is still an amazing tool to connect with others. But what about the risks?
I’m not even talking about scams, fake news, identity theft, etc. Think of your mental health, your self-esteem, the colossal amount of time spent sharing and following and all that.
Social media isn’t just incredibly addictive — it often comes at a price, which is at best wasting time and at worst changes in mood, including depression and anxiety.
We already knew this years ago; it’s just more noticeable now as algorithms get smarter and apps get faster, with some users being… used by social media rather than the other way around.
An amazing tool… but is it worth it? And most importantly, when we do use this tool, is it a conscious decision, or simply the tendency to copy whatever others do?
When we download the coolest and latest social media app, do we do it out of genuine interest or because it was shown as a suggestion? Or perhaps was the app already installed on the phone?
Why I am not interested in social media
Look — I’m not trying to demonize social media. Like I said, it can be useful, particularly as a way to promote a business, advertise, or even find out about events or connect with like-minded people.
What I find disturbing is how social media has become some type of automatism; how some people spend hours upon hours scrolling pages and profiles… impulsively.
It doesn’t occur to them that they don’t have to do any of that, that it’s perfectly fine to “miss out” and use their time and energy in healthier ways.
Personally, I have no interest in social media (with the exception of Pinterest, where I promote some of the posts) and here are six reasons why…
1. You actually don’t miss much
Yes — your life will be complete and meaningful even if you don’t watch cat videos. And if you miss your coworker’s Instagram post from Cancun, that’s okay too.
On a serious note, even if the goal was to e.g. look for events in your area, or reviews, or practical tips or tutorials, social media wouldn’t be the only source. There are plenty of sites/sources that serve the same exact purpose, and often do it better.
2. Time is your greatest asset
You can increase your monthly income, improve your health/energy, and even improve your time management. Time itself, however, is the same for everyone. Cliche, but it’s true.
Unless you were in some way addicted to social media, would you really consciously define it as a sensible use of your time? Once you’ve seen the latest hundred posts or so, has your life changed in any way? Do you feel better in any way?
3. I care about my mental health
I really do. Even the majority of the articles on this site deal with mental health and ways to improve your mood (as the domain name suggests). Having suffered from severe depression, I know how important my mind is.
It’s easy to say social media doesn’t affect the way we think — about the world, others, and ourselves — because we are “immune”, or “disciplined”. But in reality, our ability to filter what we see is limited, and the risks range from a shorter attention span to feelings of inadequacy.
4. Comparing means losing
We all work toward a better life in some way. We all want to be happy and successful — the definition of success being totally subjective. Here’s the thing, though: while being “inspired” is fine, comparing isn’t.
Compare your life to that of others (or to posts/pictures that have actually very little to do with their life as a whole) and you’ve already lost. Social media makes it painfully easy to get stuck in the endless cycle of comparison, and I don’t want any of that.
5. Some apps are intrusive
I repeat — only some of them. And I’m sure the information required to use such apps is collected mainly for security purposes. But still, not ideal if you care about your privacy.
Do I really need to share my date of birth and address, and give the site/app permission to find out about my location, contacts, friends, etc. just so I can see someone’s funny post? No, thanks.
6. No such thing as “responsibly”
Although it’s true that, in theory, one could have only one or a few social media profiles and use them wisely — in practice this turns out to be quite difficult.
So personally, I choose not to engage in it in the first place. That’s just me, to each their own. But I’m sure only a small percentage of people could use social media in a truly conscious, responsible way.
Benefits of losing interest in social media
- FOMO eventually turns into JOMO
- Your privacy/personal information is protected
- Less screen time (potentially deeper sleep, better posture)
- What others think of you loses importance
- When you do use social media, it’s a more conscious choice
- You no longer scroll/watch/like/comment as a habit
- The offline world suddenly becomes more interesting
- More freedom, independence, willpower, and productivity
If you have lost interest in social media, it’s probably a good thing because the cons can easily outweigh the pros.
While social media itself doesn’t equal worse mental health, in general there seems to be a correlation between the two.
Not to mention that all social media platforms are very addictive for a lot of different reasons.
If you no longer need your social media fix, be proud. You don’t have much to lose… and a lot to gain.