My friends are always telling me about cool events on Facebook, their Instagram stories at the really fun and cool places they work non-profit, all of these cool groups. I feel super detached from even my best friends, and feel like I don't get a full friend experience. While our relationships are strong and have been for years, they're kinda dull because they use social media so much. They understand why I don't use it and don't give me a hard time (anymore), but always bother me to come back.
I've learned to be more proactive in maintaining relationships, but it often feels very one-sided since many other people are used to just getting passive status updates and feeling 'connected' to their friends.
They were worried about whether I was still alive, but the concept of calling to confirm was apparently foreign.
I kind of want to stop using social media, but I guess everyone will think I hate them or something.
Having text options lowers the perceived need for calling in person. Having Facebook lowers the need for in person contact, since people gets some crumbs of info about you off your Facebook feed. And so on.
What can one do, alone? Can you reverse a trend that's affecting all your friends and acquaintances? Not likely. Maybe just for a few close friends, but everyone else.. meh.
Also, if your friends are making an effort to keep in contact with you, why are you faulting them for choosing X medium instead of Y?
Why am I forced to have and check (daily, at least) IM?
This has long been decried by people like Cal Newport and others. Knowledge workers need their attention span intact, and yet all the modern tools make interruptions more likely.
I've been in a Messenger group of only 5 people, who were trying to synchronize going to the movies. My phone kept bleeping for 5 damn hours, until they figured what to do. Absolutely disgusting.
Ignoring the newsfeed can be enough if you're susceptible to comparison with others (which is one of the big reasons that social media is bad for people). There are browser extensions to hide it .
I use events, groups and the birthday reminder. Facebook definitely has a lot of features that are very useful e.g. I can see which events happen in my surroundings and which friends attend them. Without this, I wouldn't hear about these events (except when those friends explicitly invite their friends). Instead of denial, use technology to your advantage and minimize its bad effects on your mental health.
edit: I know that many people in tech despise social media and there are a ton of studies that show its negative effects. But OP talks about negative effects of not using social media. A moderate usage can be better for him/her than simply refusing to use it. Please explain your arguments instead of simply downvoting so I know the reasons behind the reactions.
I'm 37, left social media a few years back when my son was born - the thinking being that the time I spent on there would be better spent with him and my wife! I don't feel excluded by my friendship groups or like I'm missing out on anything.
Also, not actually having the time to see friends as much as I used to makes a big difference!
Dating is also near impossible because I don't want to use social media.
You'll run into other people who are keeping social media in its place. Something I've found this year, via a friend who works at the local community college.
I don't mean to sound prescriptive nor like I have "the answer". Just to comment, that circumstances brought me into the orbits of such people, a bit, and I'm enjoying it.
The interactions are much more satisfying and "complete", whether it's a standing friendship or just a chance conversation.
P.S. I have an LL Bean store in my area, and while I was in there buying some trousers, the friendly and helpful clerk told me that the store arranges outings. Itself, or in affiliation with a local group -- I'm not sure. Anyway, they said to check out the Bean website for their location, for details on what was coming up. IIRC.
So, community college, local retailer (I'm thinking also of a paddlesports business up in Madison, WI), non-profit groups. There may be more avenues to finding good groups and outings, than one would expect.
Just go as yourself and with no particular expectations, other than to learn and to participate/contribute in the group's having a good time.
And be prepared to listen. Most everyone has an interesting story, if you're paying attention.
P.P.S. And if you have a state or national park in the area, check their calendar. Or local public parks and organizations.
Social media to me is a site that is mostly not anonymous, and is connected to your real life identity where you are mostly sharing content about your personal life.
The problem with social media is you only see the interesting parts of people's lives, so you're forced into a loop of thinking your life is pointless and boring, while for the most part everyone's life is pretty boring aside from some brief moments
All of them in my mind are "All You Can Eat" info buffet tables.
This is just the current approach we have of dealing with a new world overloaded by info. It will change as we learn more and more about how it effects people.
In the real world nobody healthy visits an "All You Can Eat" buffet everyday. Same thing will eventually happen with information.
More than that, it's semi-anonymous, meaning it's not so much the relationship between people it's the relationship between content (or topics). This is a dramatic difference because it's harder to get into the loop of seeing other people happy.
Finally, there aren't push notifications for HN. I actually wrote a chrome extension to enable following discussions and push notifications.. I didn't really think it was appropriate to release because it would lead to more engagement, which is kind of a bad thing (e.g. lead to flame wars).
Anyway, they may not be "that different", except in a few key aspects.
Yet to be seen if sites can somehow employ mechanics to reduce comparative/judgemental thinking...but its something they all intentionally/unintentionally fuel currently imho.
The power of these small changes is disproportionately strong too. On HN, your username is very subtly rendered, and that possibly hella people focus on the content, rather than the individual who posted it.
On Reddit by contrast the username sticks out, can have flair added etc.
The result is imo more personality based repartee.
When you do new things in the real world, these become major events that anchor your memories and sense of time. You can probably vividly remember some vacations, concerts, your first kiss, and a thousand other novel life experiences very vividly. But while Reddit feels novel in the moment, in the rear view mirror it is just a featureless void of “Reddit was here”, with no strong memories left to justify the time spent.
I definitely think that HN has improved me as a software developer, if only to show me how much unknown stuff there is out there.
Reddit is a bit more questionable but I've definitely found useful things in some sub-reddits.
And sometimes all I want is something that will easily wile away a few minutes.
The answer is quite often “not very”.
First, I am far from being above using HN and Reddit, as evidenced by me typing this. So, this is not a “you should stop using X” rant, because I can’t stop using it either.
I think as a means of getting professional news, HN and Lobste.rs are basically unparalleled. These have been an unambiguous success for me
As a means for being informed in general it seems to work, but I’m dubious about the utility of being “informed” about things in which I have no stake or power to change things. Recent example is discussions about Swedish cashlessness. I don’t live in Sweden, nor will I travel there soon. So what utility does taking up some of my precious attention with this un-actionable information have? I genuinely don’t know, but I fear that the opportunity cost of such reading might be catching me in some subtle way.
As a means of entertainment, my original comment stands.
I guess it depends on what you are measuring them by. I'd argue they are quite different and did something similar to the previous commenter.
To me, FB and Instagram make you feel lonely because you see people you actually know interacting and doing things which may make you feel like you're being left out or have a worse life somehow.
With HN and Reddit, you get news or some form of entertainment but that's more similar to Netflix or YouTube than to FB for me personally. I don't mind being entertained; it doesn't make me lonely. In fact I actually go on YouTube or Netflix precisely when I want to be alone.
I disagree it’s “information”. The article is usually wrapped in opinion, and you’re in the opinion section now.
Maybe the appeal is that when the opinion is from some you know (a “friend”) you feel obligated to acknowledge it and on an anonymous forum you can more easily ignore it?
Reddit vs Facebook I think is just social media preference.
IDK... I’ve found myself skipping articles and jumping right to the opinion section in order to “save time”. Bad habit, but I just don’t have time to read everything.
lol thats a nice way of putting it. It's an interesting point about why we are all so attracted to opinion. It doesn't require much mental energy or something I suppose.
Plus in an info overloaded world where even the experts have doubts about a lot of things it allows us to butt into debates where we would never be allowed to enter in the real world.
Interestingly, implementing that had the effect of me now spending hardly any time on there at all. Funny how that works!
Mostly it's just very annoying when for some reason my phone doesn't manage to prioritise push messages which come from direct messages or SMS and so they somehow manage to get buried under a honking slew of social media detritus.
It is quite different getting an alert popup now. I should probably go back to disabling them.
It helped immensely.
My next step is to make a personal website with some contact details and a scraper script for the links in the HN top 30-40 that I can run as a cronjob.
While cutting social media is not a panacea, I have found a significant improvement in the amount of free time I have, and I don't compulsively think about what other people are doing.
It's a good exercise to assume that engagement in social media is work and multiply how many hours you've sunk into it by your usual hourly wage...
It's weird that this is a minority opinion (I happen to agree with you). Some 20 years ago we lacked the ability to consume even 10% of the news we are exposed to today if we just open Twitter, and democracy wasn't collapsing.
(some argue we are in a worse spot today, though I disagree - strife does not equal inequality)
The cable news cycle combined with social media with the majority of people thinking that their opinion is worth something has led to some interesting results. I expect the next generation of people in the United States to mostly get over this bug in the system via selective apathy.
But soooooo much political reporting nowadays is basically gossip columns. They talk a lot of inside baseball and completely neglect the "the thing happening is actually bad!" aspect. Instead of debating policy, people want to debate the optics of policies.
Cable news is awful about this, but I think newspapers are even worse with their opinion pages. People getting paid 6-digit salaries to just say what their opinion on a thing is! And of course with basically no fact checking. They're just bloggers!
Meanwhile the journalists twist themselves into knots to give the benefit of the doubt to the most cynical leaders we've had in decades. Unless one of them insults journalism, in which case it's a holy war. But if the discussion is just a policy position, there's no issue.
I realized that my running joke of the last 18 years: “I can’t vote, but at least I don’t have to do jury duty” is recklessly irresponsible and I will do the research and be an informed voter in every election for the rest of my life.
[edit: admittedly this was largely inspired by indisputable things that happened a little more than 2 years ago and the following aftermath, but my twitter feed was my window to them - I do not watch cable news]
But after you've reached that point, Twitter becomes the place where you read the same take 20 times over. Then you get the push notification from whatever news app you have installed on your phone.
There's a huge amount of diminishing returns to following journalists on Twitter if you're already convinced that stuff is important. But it sure helped to establish the feeling that everything is on fire (and.... kind of always have been but right now's not great)
What do you mean?
About a year ago I was 30 minutes into creating exactly such a script, and then I found https://hckrnews.com, which lists all the posts that reach the frontpage (or are top 10/20/50%).
I also don't read the news (who's the president? Kidding...), at least in the typical sense. My colleagues seemed to really be shocked when I told them that, but when I inquired why they could not give me a good reason. I only remember them saying to discuss current events. I figured if it's big enough deal and important enough I would hear about from other sources.
I read Ars Technica, Hacker News, and I am subscribed to a few Subreddits (Games, AnimeDubs, Vita, Nintendo, GameDev and related, but that's it). I have a multireddit for Programming, Startups, and Netflix/Amazon Prime movies/shows for when I need to put the computer down.
In the progress of growing up I kinda unlearned that. But know that I rediscovered it, I feel much better/balanced.
Other benefits are that I can concentrate and perform at my studies/work much better than before.
I don’t know if that helps anybody but I thought I’d share this experience.
Sorta pathetic to be posting this here but since every other comment is talking out eliminating social media use, maybe some comments on what to replace it with would be helpful.
My advice is to be bored. Get rid of all distractions (facebook, tv) and go to a quiet room or on a long walk. Be alone with your thoughts. Slowly forget about work and daily concerns. Where does your mind go when it has nothing else in the way?
Hopefully that gives you a clue where to look for hobbies you enjoy. But you also have to make the effort and try different things out. Start researching and go to events. Youre not gonna like all of it and thats ok. And its not always comfortable.
Definitely start up a conversation with the people you meet along the way. Friends are important. Theres more to it than i can fit in this post.
If that doesnt work, try thinking back to when you were a kid. What were you interested in before you put your life on hold for school and work?
I hope this helps yoi in some way. All i know is it worked for me. No reason to feel ashamed. Many people have this problem.
The goal is basically improve socialization skills (small talk), remove frictin to friendships (hygiene, fitness, fashion), and then put yourself in situations where you meet people (hobbies).
A local couchsuefing group can also be good, if you staet couchsurfing hosting.
Many places offer working holiay visas.
Friendship is created by repeated interaction. Anything that has you running into the same people repeatedly will typically create friendships.
Moderators decide only what posts are productive. A dozen or so a day result. No topic is too 'far out' or rarified. The posts themselves may also be heavily-favorited, but almost always are at least lightly-favorited by a few readers.
There is very rarely any criticism or argument. The are not nested, they only appear in time-order. This keeps directed replies (and extended snark-fests) to a minimum.
The resulting 'civilized adultness' of the site is fairly unique on the Internet. Oh, and there's a small fee to join.
The advantage of one, small, upfront payment is that it discourages sockpuppeting, and thus anonymous sniping. The only way to 'downvote' something is with another piece of text with a username on it ... a lot more revealing of motive than a reflexive button-click. Discouraging for sick puppies.
You know (or don't) ... like The Well was back in the day.
Yes, you can do this stuff elsewhere, manually keeping email and phone chains going, but FB does put all of this stuff in one place and makes it relatively easy to use.
That is not the problem with FB. The problem is all of the other junk they keep pushing, all the ads and games and gamification.
When I post here, I kinda have to indulge in a ton of self-censorship. Most of the time I end up not posting the comment I wrote because it feels like it won't be a worthwhile discussion. Or it'll be just another comment buried among a few hundred others; just noise, not discussion. It's not satisfying.
For fun, sometime write “I’m aware of the issues in speculative modeling, misleading headlines, and also I don’t feel like a tax solution is the correct response to global climate changes” and see what happens!
Edit: and even posting an example phrase - proves my point. Thanks for the downvotes!
There are other factors, for example downvoting because you disagree isn't seen as a valid reason for downvotes on Lobsters. In fact, when you downvote, you must specify a reason (there's a list of choices). Of course people can abuse the system, but I think it sort of encourages people to go down the right path.
The invite system probably helps keep worst of the worst out.
Tags help people ignore the topics they find frustrating.
Speaking of tags, all stories must be tagged and if you can't find an appropriate tag, the story most likely doesn't belong.
We've been trying to focus on purely technical content (and by that I mean really technical and not non-technical stories that are somehow related to technology) with some art, while avoiding politics, inactionable news, opinion pieces and the like. To be fair, as the community has grown larger, it seems like we've been slipping more and more from this ideal and opinion pieces about "practices" (that's a tag) and "culture" (yeah...) have gotten annoyingly common. We can still filter out those tags.
As for getting an account... I think there's something written about that on the site.
The first rule of the HN hivemind is that you don't mention it.
Reddit, however, is godawful.
False. In fact, it quashes discussion by two methods: hiding the comment such that it must be specifically expanded, or literally graying out the comment so that it's harder to see. I do not care about my karma, but I very much care when a couple of people downvote for ideological reasons and don't offer any explanation. If this site is supposed to engender the hacker spirit, did nobody think for a second that it is directly opposed to that spirit to just say "I disagree, so nyeh"? To attempt to knowingly hide comments because you just disagree with them, thereby encouraging ideological conformity? There is only a small group of sites I know of which does not play to this script, and that's the imageboards which lack downvoting features (at worst a thread stays in place using 'sage') and upvoting features take the form of writing your own comment. You are forced to provide input if you feel like you disagree.
“By policy” or not. It’s treated as a “make the bad man who said the mean things go away so he won’t fool or sway other people”. Just like Reddit.
You're not meeting resistance to reasonable opinions.
You're breaking out of your US filter bubble and discovering that the rest of the world thinks US gun ownership rights are fucking weird.
You can make an argument counter to someone else’s without mini-censorship, but that’s hard, you need knowledge and experience for that.
Whats easy is just to try and hide anyone else from seeing a counter argument at all.
==Please don't use Hacker News primarily for political or ideological battle. This destroys intellectual curiosity, so we ban accounts that do it.==
I cut off Reddit completely after a run-in with yet another subreddit wannabe dictator mod. It just wasn't worth the drama, not to mention the crappy usability of the site, especially on mobile.
For Facebook, I can't cut it off completely, it is unfortunately indispensable for arranging events and interacting with my group of friends/acquaintances. I mostly interact in a couple of concert/festival-related groups, and run one of them myself. That said, I have cut off all games and apps, and I mute all the stupid meme pages that people like to share from. New ones do pop up once in a while, and obviously those get muted too. The result is that my Facebook experience is 90% chatting with like-minded people about music. I use a Chromium plugin to delete all of posts and likes that are more than ~6 months old, because nobody should care about old FB posts.
I also keep my FB account for Messenger, as it has become the de facto standard instant messaging service here in Denmark.
For discussion on other subjects, I'm a long-time member of an old-school forum that charges $10 for an account. That seems to weed out most of the low-content trolls and idiots, and aside from a few deliberately stupid subforums, the discussions are relatively intelligent and entertaining.
Dear god why
Rather than getting slammed with a wall of text, the recipient of my audio message can listen to it as they're driving, cooking or eating breakfast. Human voice is expressive and the audio message conveys nuance that gets lost texting. Finally, all text messages are being monitored in some fashion but I do believe audio recordings are still relatively safe and private.
It helps to have an interest that other people can join you in. You could start a tech group, a language group, a movie group. Find a place to have a discussion, a small conference, or give a presentation.
The fact is, social media isn't going to satisfy your craving with feeling connected. The digital world isn't a substitute for face-to-face conversation, so it's sad to see people resort to text-messaging the person in front of them. However, you CAN look for events for where to connect to people. That said, Meetup.com is a huge blessing.
So I unfollowed every one of my friends on Facebook and keep a pristine blank news feed. If I want to know what someone's up to, I message them or visit their profile. It makes social media usage a lot more deliberate.
On the social sharing front, I only use Snapchat to share what I am up to some close friends. Limited FB, Instagram to once a week casual check-in and never been happier.
If you were browsing wikipedia I’d understand. But your in the comment section talking to me, believe it or not, a real person.
Sure I can trawl through your post history to try to better understand through what lens you see the world, but I don't have the time to do that for every single comment that I read on HN/Reddit.
I think the best thing a parent can do for their children now is limit exposure to these sites, and emphasize real-life engagement.
In context, he was apparently getting at something closer to: Hell is the inevitability of seeing yourself through the eyes of others, as an object rather than a subject.