Is social media too creepy to survive?
I don’t have a single social media account. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The last one I used was Snapchat, and I haven’t used it in about a year. And you know what? I don’t miss any of them one bit.
I got rid of my Facebook in the fall of 2011 after generally being creeped out by the site's policies with users' personal information and the strange voyeuristic vibe. I never posted anything myself, and got queasy watching the lives of people I didn’t really know or care about unfold on my computer screen.
If I don’t find myself calling or texting you, I don’t need to voyeur into the developments of your life.
Now that Facebook has been around for more than a decade, the largest social media site in the world is seeing a decline in user activity. From 2014 to 2015, the user created content shares decreased 21 percent, and overall sharing of all content decreased by 5.5 percent.
Those are pretty large number when you consider the fact that Facebook’s entire business model is based around users sharing content and selling ads related to that content.
These trends may reflect a larger societal trend in which people value their own privacy more than they once did. Now that social media is so deeply entrenched in the modern world, have people finally begun to take a step back and reevaluate their Internet habits?
There’s no doubting the allure of Facebook has declined over the last ten years. In Internet time, a decade is a millennia. Surely it's impossible to maintain the sexiness for that long. What was once the best place to post pictures of you and your friends on spring break has now become a janky version of Reddit, with less and less user created content.
So too is the possibility that people are less interested in social media as a whole. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have all seen their usage numbers decline over the last year. Snapchat, on the other hand, is sitting pretty.
Twitter has been hit especially hard, losing 2 million users in the last 3 months of 2015 and losing $2 billion since 2011. Back in 2014, one of the co-founders of Twitter stated, “the social media phase of the Internet ended.” Remember when everyone thought you needed a LinkedIn or you were considered an unhireable shmuck? Well, back in February of 2015 the site lost $10 billion in its estimated value in one day.
Social media provides an interconnectedness that straddles the very fine line between being a fun mobile hangout and being overly stressful. Facebook and Instagram are generally considered to cause more unhappiness and loneliness than all other sites on the Internet. Does this surprise anyone?
When looking at everyone's personal highlight reel on a day-to-day basis, your own life seems dull in comparison. This can make you an envious shlub and simultaneously make you less appreciative of what you actually have.
Sure, those pictures of Instagram models partying with DJs in Ibiza look awesome, but that's never going to be your life — just accept that now. Are you getting upset looking at what other people are doing with their lives? Then you probably should take a break from social media.
No one needs to see dozens of pictures of your super hip new pet hedgehog or glance over your poorly thought out opinion on Donald Trump’s border wall.
Generally speaking, life is probably pretty boring for most people and social media hasn't let us forget that.
People will argue there are social benefits to having a Facebook or Instagram. That may be true. Maybe you’ll get laid because you added that chick you met at a party. Or hell, you might get a job from hanging around on LinkedIn, the most pretentious of all social media sites.
As with anything, social media is best in moderation. You don’t have to take the ascetic approach to it that I have if you don’t want to. Everything balances out with time, and now it seems people are sharing less because they’ve realized they don’t need to post 15 times a day to feel good about themselves. Also, after being over-saturated with social media this-and-that for the past 10 years, people may be starting to realize they can have privacy and be social at the same time.
Use of Facebook or Twitter is not compulsory, and you'll get along just fine without using it. At the very least, you might realize the importance of privacy and how you've been missing out on it since you signed up for everything when you first took the plunge.