Thinking about social media
I've been thinking a lot about social media lately.
Actually, I've been thinking about it for a long time. And I've taken action to minimize my exposure: I deleted my Instagram and Pinterest account, I used extensions to eliminate Facebook's annoying timeline, I unfollowed hundreds of profiles on Twitter. But I still use social media a little.
I still check Twitter for local weather and traffic news or alerts. And I like to check the latest tweets from some cool authors I follow. I connect with people using the Facebook Groups platform. I have a LinkedIn account. I occasionally go check Reddit.
And after all this time reflecting, tweaking and observing my behavior I still think that the minimum amount of social media usage is not that beneficial. Maybe the benefits do not completely outweighs the downsides.
I can list at least 5 books I've read in the past that made me rethink the way I engage with social media and with the Internet in general:
- The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi
- You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier
- Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier
And now I'm reading Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. And just like Tristan Harris saying that social media apps today are like slot machines, Cal Newport says they are the “new smoking”:
“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.” ― Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Which, in the end, is saying that they are extremely addictive, no doubt.
And I worry about it. Have I become addicted without even knowing? How did those websites and apps changed my behavior? Is my mind being hijacked? Am I aware?
I don't have answers right now but I am feeling that after reading Cal Newport's new book I'm gonna have a radical change on how I use social media and the Internet.