Delete Social Media
I thought I would use a more primitive form of communication to describe my departure from social media. I am not a significant consumer of social media, but I did have a social media presence. Recently however I have become concerned about how much my social media presence is affecting me, and how social media is affecting people around me. I have decided to take some pro-action that is more consistent with what I believe about social media and my personal values. I think this is especially important for people with some measurable influence, like those with blogs, those who have a marketable expertise, those with advanced degrees, those who do public speaking, or those who work in healthcare.
Let’s start with a pros and cons list of social media in my life so I can make a reasonable case that I have thought this through and am not being overly impulsive or biased.
Social media connects me to people I know but don’t see every day. When I see something they posted, I think about them. This could lead to more positive social interaction.
Social media can help me meet more people.
Social media entertains me. People post interesting things there.
Social media can inform me. People post news items as well as opinion items. Social media can be a good source of information.
Social media is ostensibly free, easy, and prolific. I am effortlessly connected to friends that might have been hard or impossible to reach even 20 years ago.
Social media gives me options to develop and grow my business.
Social media can improve my professional knowledge and relevance.
Social media is hard to use safely. Effective use means extensive and continual research on privacy issues and “settings.”
There is mounting evidence that social media is psychologically harmful.
Social media is largely sedentary and passive. I sit and scan, sit and scan.
Social media takes up a very large amount of my free time. I have so many other things I want to do.
Social media companies are misusing my data. These are for-profit companies trying to make money. I have probably given them permission to misuse my data by agreeing to User Agreements I don’t understand or feel I don’t have time to read, but sign anyway.
The information on social media is heavily biased. This is not just because companies make it thus, but I tend to gravitate toward sources that share my values and have similar opinions. It’s called Confirmatory Bias.
Social media was created and is maintained primarily as a vehicle for advertising products to the user.
Social media is likely a zero-sum game. As much good as it does, it does harm. My life is not better or worse overall because of it, social media has simply added efficiencies while creating new problems.
Social media’s most harmful effects are against the people (children) it is my job to protect. In this case, social media is my adversary since these companies are not aligned with me in keeping children safe.
The vast majority of information on social media is flippant and banal.
The above list weighs heavily in the direction of elimination, as much as possible, of social media from my life. It also suggests I must do what I can to not only stop using social media, but force businesses to delete the information they have been gathering about me. In layman’s terms, I am not going to deactivate my account, I must delete my account.
I am no stranger to telling people to do things they do not want to do. So, when I tell people to delete their social media accounts, which I have been doing, they are likely going to generate questions, complaints and criticisms. Here are the top four criticisms I am anticipating.
Social media has done much good for society.
Don’t focus on social media-focus on the companies that are misusing our information. Social media isn’t bad; it’s the companies.
Likewise, it’s a user problem. Don’t focus on social media-focus on educating people how to properly use social media.
Social media is everywhere and in everything. How will we proceed without it?
These are real concerns and should be addressed in this process. I have considered all of them and I think they all have some merit. I will address my responses to these concerns in future essays.