2020: The social media exile experiment
Armed with an unnerving exploration into the full T’s and C’s of each social media platform and an unease at many of the recent data leaks and breaches of the ‘big guns’ such as Facebook; I attempt to make 2020 a social media free year.
How many times have you had a few spare minutes while waiting for a loved one to arrive, or waiting for a bus that is always late and you do the ‘usual’ – plough through the millions of updates on Facebook and Insta, Twitter or whatever your preferred ‘connectivity’ platform is. Sheila had a perfect Christmas apparently, but Roy has just posted a cryptic “fml, what a day…” message. “Are you ok hun? PM me if need anything” Lisa quickly replies. Problem is, before the advent of these platforms I’m not really sure if I ever gave a damn about Sheila’s Christmas. Conversely, there’s so much going on in our own lives that Roy’s message is lost on me. One would hope if he really needed help. he would text me, or phone me.
I have no doubts that there are elements of social media which has proven really helpful over the years. For example, a lot of baby/toddler/children groups/events can be found easily and makes meeting other parents so much easier. A toddler session in a local church won’t have any marketing strategy but a community on social media is invaluable in this circumstance. The marketplace on Facebook is particularly valuable too for second hand goodies without the hassle of eBay shipping.
The problem is weighing up whether access to groups and Marketplace is worth the price of privacy concerns, data handling concerns and the everyday negativity and trolling which is rampant on each platform. So for this year the balance for me tipped onto the privacy and mental health side and my personal social media accounts have been deleted. The only account remaining is the twitter account I use for this blog, but it doesn’t follow any friends or family. I plan to remain this way for the whole year and see what the implications, good or bad, may be.
I do feel there is a direct correlation between the mental health of the younger generation and social media. The platforms have a tendency to be a continuation of the playground clique mentality, and the desire to keep up with the ‘cool kids’ can trigger anxiety and depression. On a more general level, I’m sure I feel better when I’m not littered with the perfect life experiences of people I’ve only met in passing. Most people have enough to deal with in their daily lives, without worrying about every other person on your timelines.
I’ll revisit this in Jan 2021, but for now I’ll feel much better that my data is, hopefully, not a part of the next big social media data breach.