Nov 20, 2016

Wasting Time: Deactivate (Why I Hate Social Media and Why You Should Too)

     The second best decision I've ever made in my life was giving in to peer pressure and setting up several accounts on social media. Why second best? Because it led to the  very best decision of my life: quitting all social media. I never knew joy until I deactivated all my accounts: Happiness, thy name is Button, Deactivate Button. I guess I'm not a fan of online networking — can you tell?
     Since I at least hinted at some point already and straight up said it at another, the fact that I'm not a social media freak is, however, old news, but I've never gone into detail about the reasons for my antipathy. Although I desperately wanted to purge my soul and go on an anti-social-media rampage here on the blog many a time, I steered clear because a) who cares what I think about social media and b) it wouldn't make a difference.
     To be frank, I've been going back and forth on whether there's any point in highlighting whatever you think is wrong with the world (or at least doing it a disservice) for a long long time, since I'm fully aware that it's all just pissing in the wind because people are like frogs: if you put a frog in cold water and then gradually bring it to a boil, the frog won't realize it's in danger and will be cooked to death, and so the majority of society is happily milling about not realizing or caring that we're wantonly poisoning our land, our air, our water, our oceans and our minds, that basically everything is in a shambles. Pointing this out is, of course, pointless because changing one's ways is demanding, too demanding and thus we prefer to keep fucking up this planet for your  children — so why even bother writing about the error of our ways? It's futile.
     Of course I'm not the first nor the only one to see or write about the futility of talking about such things. Several months ago I read a column by a Slovenian writer complaining about how he'd been writing about Slovenia and its people for six years but nothing changed, we're still crashing down a downward spire economically, politically, morally, you name it. "It was all in vain," he writes. Well, of course it was — we're frogs.
     But just to mess me up, when I was all convinced and decided that screaming 'mayday, mayday' to my fellow frogs truly was useless, I chanced upon another column by another brilliant Slovenian writer in which she says, and of course I'm paraphrasing, that one has to scream 'mayday, mayday' if one thinks a rescue party is in order because too many fucking people are too fucking blind — a voice crying in the wilderness is our only hope, in a way.
     Even though I see the logic and the sense of moral responsibility behind that viewpoint, I didn't (and still don't) fully back or even believe in it, but recently yet another woman (I guess women are hopeless romantics) brought it up: after losing to Donald Trump (whom any of this has nothing to do with whatsoever), Hilary Clinton said, "Please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it." Well. A little too late for that perhaps? I said my last goodbye to that belief a long time ago.
     Be it too late or not, however, there's a neat little Latin proverb which says veritas filia temporis  (truth is the daughter of time), so I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if all the voices in the wilderness crying S.O.S. will truly be worth it one day. Will you condemn me as a cynic if I say that I'm not betting half a dime on it? But just to be on the safe side, allow me to share the reasons for my social media aversion nonetheless — after all, I'm a woman and apparently there's a hopelessly romantic bone in me somewhere sweet-talking me into thinking that maybe, just maybe some frog will read this and say, "This social media bullshit is  bullshit!" and delete a social networking app or two from their phone. So why is this social media bullshit bullshit? It's bullshit for essentially three reasons, which are as follows:

  • The better part of it is SUPERFICIAL and SHALLOW.
Years ago, when Facebook was blowing up and everybody seemed to be creating profiles for themselves, my brother asked me why I hadn't set up an account myself. I told him that I had no use for it. "I don't need that to 'keep in touch'. I think it's the funniest thing when people say that it's easier to 'keep in touch' with Facebook. What's wrong with picking up the phone and making a phone call if you want to 'keep in touch' so badly?" I said.
"Ha, who cares about staying in touch, that's not what Facebook is for."
"Then why the fuck do you use it for?"
"To brag."
"To brag," said my brother laughingly, "duh. I ran a marathon — I put it on Facebook. I get a kid — I put it on Facebook. Who cares about staying in touch." A lot of truth is said in jest, huh. Well, in this case not just a lot, but a whole lot — social media is an endless stream of personal promotion and basically nothing else. You have women taking 200 selfies before finally posting one and guys flexing their (Photoshopped) muscles in their bathrooms. And for what? To brag. I'm glad someone was honest enough to say it. So remind me again, why the fuck is tuning in and keeping up with fabricated or at least cherry-picked moments of people's lives a good idea?

  • The better part of it is NEGATIVE and HATEFUL.
A long while ago, I read somebody's tweet describing Twitter and social media in general as 'a cesspit which we all could do without' — and then the person posted some 75 tweets in that same hour and probably all of the following hours up to this very second too, not realizing that not every whiny bitchy senseless musing that pops into your head should leave it (it's called a thought  for a reason). Despite this person's actions not being in compliance with her words, however, I couldn't agree more, social media is  a cesspit: when people don't brag, they either complain or hate on something or someone, which is both (self)destructive and counterproductive, period. Here's a fine example of the fact: Earlier this year, Slovenia held a referendum where voters essentially decided whether we wanted to grant more rights to homosexuals (the right to get married, the right to adopt, etc.) and leading up to the day of the referendum, my Twitter feed was exploding with tweets of supposedly open-minded, knowledgeable and supportive individuals advocating equality for all with comments which were everything but open-minded, knowledgeable and supportive and mostly just ignorant and insulting. "I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance," Samuel Taylor Coleridge would say, while I would plainly say #cesspit #hatespeech #sadface. Yet another example is Gigi Hadid's Instagram post encouraging people to support the Elephant Crisis Fund to end elephant slaughter. You'd think that a pretty girl promoting a worthy cause couldn't go wrong — and social media would prove you wrong. Instead of animal lovers being thankful (or at least quiet) when she spread the word about the cause among her 25+ million followers, she got attacked for eating meat and wearing leather with numerous people insulting her for not being a vegan and calling her a hypocrite (I'm sorry, #hypocrite), etc. And if you want yet another example, try searching for Justin Bieber's Instagram account — you won't find it. He deleted it because too many people wrote degrading and just plain vicious comments about his (now ex) girlfriend, calling her ugly, an 'irrelevant hoe ass' and much much worse. Cess. Pit.

  • All of it is WASTEFUL.
If this was 1816 and not 2016, my day would look something like this: I'd get up at the crack of dawn because I wouldn't want to waste daylight as I'd have to go to bed at nightfall or burn candles to see anything. Then I'd have to make a fire to keep warm and if I wanted to wash myself, my clothes, my dishes or anything else, I'd have to go to a well or a spring to fetch some water. Of course I'd have to do all of the washing by hand too. And food? Whatever I'd want to eat, I'd have to make myself, basically. You know like grow actual vegetables and grain and stuff on my own piece of land and working in the field with my very own hands kind of thing? I wouldn't necessarily have to go to a job but I'd most definitely have to work to survive (unlike today when so many people have to go to a job in which they don't necessarily have to work (just waste 8 hours on the Internet) to survive). If you weren't a part of the upper class, your day would look something like that too back in 1816 and as you can see, there's no room for endless and mindless gawking at YouTube epic fail compilations nor scrolling through Twitter feeds, Facebook walls or Instagram pages — and yet, I think they had a leg up on us back then, spending the little free time they had outdoors or reading or playing an instrument, just off the top of my head. And I don't think that the pioneers of industrial revolution and other inventors of home appliances hoped for our species to have more free time just so we could squander it all staring at some plastic lifeless shitty gadget. Even the famed Kendall Jenner deactivated her Instagram account recently, saying "I just wanted to detox, I just wanted a little bit of a break. I would wake up in the morning and I would look at it first thing. I would go to bed and it was the last thing that I would look at. I felt a little too dependent on it," and, "I find it offensive if you're with someone at a dinner and they're just sitting on their phone the whole time. I take that personally. Like, am I not interesting enough for you to talk to me?" and talking about a family trip, "I definitely have close friends, and even some family members, who are so connected to their phone and can't get off of it. It was the first time we had ever been to this beautiful place, and we were sitting in a car. I was just zoning out, taking it all in. And [my sister] Kylie wouldn't put her phone down. I'm like, 'That's so crazy to me that you're not experiencing this.' That was the moment it kind of clicked for me. And I didn't like it. So sometimes I delete Instagram or Twitter or Snapchat off my phone for a couple days." I mean, even a twenty-something supermodel reality star gets is. So for fuck's sake, I'm begging you, put down your phone, turn off your computer, go outside and stop wasting your time, your experiences, your memories, your life  — live sans social media, online networking and all that hollow rubbish, at least for a while. I'm telling you, there is a better way, there truly is. Fucking seize it.

     Ah, who am I kidding ... Pointless.

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