"You know what else is exhausting? Pretending to care about people you don’t give a shit about. Maybe you’re just a better person than I am and you genuinely and deeply care about everyone you are ‘friends’ with on Facebook. I didn’t. "
Social media is a bit like the news but on the opposite side of the spectrum. "Yes, yes, I get it. The world is ending." I care but I don't care to where I need to have it shoved in my face where I'm going to do things to make the world even worse. (What good is a world that survives if it is full of anxiety?)
I'm not reading the general news generally anymore when I can and maybe I'll transfer that to social media soon. (Today was a bad day - a peer of mine who is younger than me just bought a place in SF; I'm struggling to make it in a 400sqft in-law unit) I notice I feel better and it's not like anything I missed is of real substantial importance to my daily life. It's just filler. I know my core political philosophy - so it's not like it'll affect my voting decision much. Reminds me of the article someone posted in response to the 8 year old dying. Something about ignoring the bullshit in life because you don't have time for it. You don't have time for bullshit and most of social media and the news is full of bullshit. I think it could be really great but most of the time... it's just bullshit. Here it is - life is short: http://www.paulgraham.com/vb.html
I also wouldn't discount the number of people who might be house poor: banks will give you loans for far more than a financially savvy person would suggest taking (e.g, only borrow up to 2/3rd's of the maximum amount a bank will give), to keep flexibility in your budget.
To tie this to social media: what we see isn't reality. You're "competing" with their curated self versus your own. You may see the purchases, but certainly not the debt coming with it. The people with the best-looking lives on social media probably don't have the healthiest of finances, unless you're following truly wealthy people.
The means they were able to do it through were likely rich family (no one here of course will say their family is rich) and high paying job ($300k+/yr). Both of which I am not in (for my position in my region). I'm at a startup. Watching my peers, who are not in companies like mine, just skyrocket in wealth is rather discouraging. It's even more harsh because it's usually a couple who are sky rocketing and I'm just sitting here with a SO who will never make anything substantial. Love them to bits but the lack of financial contribution is practically suicide here.
I know everything isn't perfect. It's curated. But the point is that often their highs are way higher than mine. I already know their lows are nothing like mine because I know a lot of the people well enough to know that much.
Side note about home buying: a lot of statistics online about homes being bought for x and what kind and where and all that. But there's very little information on who is buying and what they're doing with the home!
I only recently discovered that all the homes being bought under $1m in the Bay area aren't being owner inhabited. They're all being converted into rentals and as investment property. It explains why East Palo Alto hasn't gentrified.
I also paid <$1500 a month for rent in SF for many years by living in converted rooms or having room-mates to keep costs low (relative to market rates). Many of my peers were paying >$2.5k-$3k to have their own spot. I was keeping expenses low and aggressively investing the difference in companies whose trajectories were all but inevitable in my opinion (+ some broad market index funds which have also done extremely well).
The weird thing about money is that once you get the flywheel turning (not easy), it compounds like magic given that you've made some good decisions.
My intent here isn't to boast. I figured you might appreciate a specific example of circumstances leading to building a modest level of wealth as a 20-something software engineer.
Involved was a lot of hard work, luck, timing, right place (SF), right company, good decisions, help from others, sacrifice, obsession, and a bunch of other things but I'll spare you the boring details. You could boil it _all_ down to luck if you'd like - but that's a bit too cynical for my tastes.
My story isn't far different from you. It just lacks the happier parts. Just want to show how similar we are and how much those happier parts matter. Which some could perceive as luck. I attended a "top college" (by program at least). I worked through college on top of having a full ride (government). After college, I slept on an air mattress to save $$$ (don't do it) and then a 25 year old one because I got it for free. I chose the cheapest possible everything forever. Drove my $4000 car into the ground until it was crashed into. Never paid more than $50 for a piece of furniture. I spent maybe $100/month on food. I lived very cheaply for 8+ years with minor splurges on things. (I still live in a 400sqft in-law unit that used to be a workshop ffs - I definitely don't live lavishly) But - in the end, I can't save enough because my income isn't high enough. I gave up on penny pinching because I realized it was futile for this area. No one is buying the <=$1m homes that I could afford with years of penny pinching and saving and then living in them. (It's all investment property) Therefore, the neighborhoods never gentrify and are crap. My SO says even if I buy one - she won't move into it because we'll get stabbed, robbed, or, worse, have to live there without it gentrifying. So, homes that are actually gentrifying or nice are closer to $1.5m+. Therefore - I'd have to save about $700k+ in order to be able to qualify for the mortgage (decade+ of penny pinching saving then). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that's a terrible move financially. (Putting basically all of your money into a house - not a very diversified portfolio...)
But ya know what - I see my peers who are living lavishly (buying brand new Porsches - living in luxury 2-bedroom apartments by themselves - buying all the new things - going on ski trips and whatever vacations)... It doesn't affect them. They're still buying the damn house! It's cause they're at $400-500-600k+ and not the <$200k I'm making.
Gotta join FAANG or some startup that's about to go public. The income disparity is just massive.
I don't see what is the problem here. That you'll buy a house a couple years later than some of your peers? That's life. Some people have cancer at two - not THAT's shitty. Waiting a couple years more to buy a house is just hilariously insignificant in comparison to anything serious.
My point is more that - I will never be able to buy a house.
I've been questioning whether I should even buy my options when I quit. I really have no faith in my current company.
JOMO saved my mental health when I realized I'd never be invited to every get-together. You learn who really cares about your once you dip out of the world's easiest connectivity network... when people actually have to put in just a bit more effort to get a hold of you.
Group SMS never gets old and I don't feel like big-brother is always watching, when in reality, they very well could be but it feels far less invasive.
Removing these (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) were nothing and easy for me. I just logged out and never bothered to log in. I haven't bothered with these in years.
Now, not visiting places like Reddit, maybe Hacker News, and consider removing other similar like internet communities for a year as well was a lot harder and still is at times. So, I have delegated to limit myself for now and not make an account. At least I try.
I found myself having trouble of finding something to read while I eat dinner every night, so I try to only limit myself to reading and browsing Reddit while I eat dinner each night for example.
However, my Hacker News addiction continues.
This, along with the general hiding of points, reduces the amount of comparison to others that occurs on HN. That's different from conventional social media. There's still some comparison ("People on here know so much!"), but the impersonal aspect makes it reasonable to just shrug off.
Edit: Now that I think about it, HN is the only social media that I don't find it delivers enough value compared to my time spent on it (it does deliver value - it's just that it's a big time sink). I'm pretty happy with the time/value ratio of Facebook and (more recently) Twitter. It's probably because the ability to carefully curate what you see on FB and Twitter.
this also is mirrors the lack of discussion and engagement often associated with social media.
I had my phone die years back on my way to a social event after a combination of a facebook app bug that sapped battery and leaving my charger in other vehicle. I was so aggravated with the app that I deleted it. Never installed it again. Think this was 2016/17? After a few weeks I also deleted my instagram. Then again, I wasn't into the social media thing so I only had those two accounts and didn't post much. Never had or saw a need for twitter or whatsapp. Deleted instagram and facebook account was slimmed down to just a few pictures and I keep in touch with some family through it. I maybe visit facebook via web once or twice a month.
We've painted ourselves into a social anxiety corner as we removed the actual social aspect and replaced it with a poorly designed html implementation. You want to be social and have friends? Then call and hang out with people without feeling the need to post about it or sit in front of someone scrolling and endless sea of nothing.
I'm less anxious and stressed out, and generally less annoyed at people around me. My initial reason for avoiding FB was because I was tired of being bombarded by rageful posts about politics and social justice issues (regardless of whether or not I agreed with those posts) day in and day out.
On occasion, after asking a friend a specific question about their life, they're surprised I don't know the answer already because they'd posted about it on FB. I then have to explain that I haven't checked FB (aside from events) in a year. No one has even come close to complaining about having to tell me something separately; people generally enjoy talking about themselves, especially when prompted, so that shouldn't be a surprise.
I still take a similar quantity of photos, even though I don't post them anywhere anymore. I do share photos taken during a group activity/trip/outing, but privately, through Google Photos, and only to the people who were there.
When I flip through Instagram, I'm definitely less engaged than I used to be. I don't really comment anymore unless I have something substantive to say/ask, and I usually don't bother to "like" anything.
I have several healthy in-person friend groups, and some remote ones. I hear about what's going on with my friends in person, or via smaller group chats or one-on-one texting. I certainly don't see all the other things my random FB "friends" (at ~1100, of course the majority of them are acquaintances at most) are posting about their lives, but I find I don't really miss it. While it might be a novelty to see what some random old high school or college classmate is doing day-to-day, I'd much rather turn that limited energy and brain space toward my closer friends.
Regarding news, I get a daily politics newsletter in my email inbox, so I can restrict that to a small chunk of time and only pursue things further if I want to. For other types of news, I have to seek it out specifically, which works well for me.
> I don’t see myself ever going back to social media. I don’t see the point of it, and after leaving for a while, and getting a good outside look, it seems like an abusive relationship – millions of workers generating data for tech-giants to crunch through and make money off of.
And I visit my facebook account weekly, via desktop browser, only to see what's up with my friends hanging up there.
I very seldom do likes, as I know that my likes could show up in my friends' feeds. There are NO notifications from social network or media on my phone. I call it "information hygiene".
And yes, like others mentioned, I've got A LOT of spare time for books, hobbies, movies etc.
Besides being a software engineer I have a custom motorcycle shop. We use Instagram/Facebook and also my personal account gets more updates since I have the shop. If I wouldn't have a business that uses these platforms as lead generation I wouldn't' be using them either.
Between these two Instagram sucks. People just scroll through it and don't interact that much. Mostly other Instagram channels re-use motorcycle builds from the actual builders without attributing. They are more popular as it's easy to follow them as they post builds daily and people need their fix.
Our facebook is growing fast and interactions grow on it too. As platform its a bit better and people coming to our shop most of the times know us from facebook.
Software engineer AND owner of a custom motorcycle shop? Now THAT is a cool set of livelihoods!! As far as jobs go, you are my new hero!
Do I feel like I missed anything about the people I care about? Yeah I kind of do, but mostly it's FOMO from seeing all my friends continue to do backpacking trips while I'm working in southern Ontario, so that's circumstantial. But on the whole? I couldn't care less. I had to turn off the localhost rule to sell some stuff on Marketplace, and I browsed my news feed for the first time in over a year, and it was a nightmare hellscape of stuff I just couldn't care less about. Better off with the filter.
That's quite a realization. I think it's true for a lot of people though and it's part of why people experience the best times of their life through a 6" display.
In the US my experience is that tail end millenials and gen Z are gravitating to group chats too. Pretty much just millenials and older and the subset of those with no international friends are the people stuck on the public oversharing train. And some women that could pass in a forever 21 catalogue.
In fact, I've been working on this idea for a while now and just launched on HN a few hours ago! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20933272. It's definitely a response to current trends of people leaving social media due to negative effects on social and mental health. I saw this happening to my friend groups first hand and knew something had to change.
So maybe I disagree with this a bit, but then we all have different motivations.
If you have to send mail or message to people you want to interact with, it's more personal and works better.
I know this is anecdotal, but HN is the cause of a lot more of the bad things from social media in my life than Facebook is. Because I only use Facebook to organise events, meaning I log on two or three times a month. On the flip side I’ve just wasted five minutes of my life replying to you. I mean no offence by that, but there is fair chance we won’t even talk here because you may not see my reply (and I might not see yours if you do), and we’ll certainly never speak to each other again.
I think this blog-entry is insightful and well written, but are we going to remember it in two hours, or is it just another “baby picture” on the HN news feed?
16 year old me is so disappointed in 45 year old me.
Having time to stop, think and/or have a conversation with another human being is a magical experience nowadays.
The emotional vitriol inspired by social media is completely unfounded. You can make it whatever experience you want; people just like to complain.
This article should be titled, "I don't know how to use social media so I gave up on it."
The rest of us use Facebook or Messenger to organize events because there's a lot of us and it's the most convenient mechanism for organizing group activities. If people choose to opt out, it's up to the organizer whether they want to go through the additional mental effort of communicating everything to the Luddites through whatever special communication method they require.
Mostly, we just require the Luddites to find out about events and updates themselves. (Usually they find out by overhearing the rest of us talking about upcoming stuff as its being planned.)
The end result is usually that the Luddites get themselves back on to Facebook after 6 months of missing out on shenanigans.
I might miss an awkward BBQ with an old friend I never see but I'll be doing something else worthwhile, often with someone I have a more meaningful relationship with. And all the big events in life like weddings, funerals and major milestone birthday's are handled by personal invitations anyway.
I don’t really care to passively consume what my friends are doing, or broadcast to them what I’m doing; I want to interact with them.
Thus could be a millennial issue though - the next generation seems to use Snapchat and iMessage for much more direct interaction.
I mean what you focus on is what has power. Social media doesn't deserve the power or respect that academia has, nor will it ever.Enforce social media to be purely academic and I might feel differently.
The reason probably is so that people connect more and see more stuff from other people, and stay active on the network.
partialrecall: Of course it's motivated by profit.
Since then I've made friends with people that I know, but no one beyond that. So I don't fall into the trap that a lot of other people seem to fall into (including the author).
That said, I think social media is something all of us can use a lot less of.
most people I have witnessed start to use very poor arguments of why they want to stay on social networks ... very similar to people with "un-noticed" alcohol problem.
But yes, nothing magical happend without it. Just maybe realization how stupid it is.
This is me and cable TV.
I'm curious what arguments you've heard that you think are stupid.
I like having a way to contact old class-mates, etc. I've moved a lot and feel very sentimental about a lot of old friends. On the other hand, there are other people I'd just as soon never hear from again. I'm torn on this. But it doesn't require me being active on social media anyway - just maintaining the friends list and occasionally messaging people.
I like it as a convenient way to share photos with people who give a crap - siblings like to see their nieces & nephews growing up, and my wife uses ChatBooks heavily. And I get a lot of positive feedback on my humorous posts - which I continue to do for my own ego and because I know other people get value from it.
But beyond that I find Facebook just makes me angry, and I rarely scan my feed and have unfollowed a lot of people who just post crap. I'm curious to hear other reasons I should use it less :)
Wouldn't that qualify as something magical happening?
This about sums up my experience in deleting Facebook. It seemed like a shallow form of communication at the time, now as an outsider it feels even more so. I do feel less stressed and emotionally burdened by constantly being exposed to everyone else though.
This is a good question, and imo an underrated answer is to use them for digital journaling. I use an app called Journey which lets you make entries and attach photos to them, and this justifies taking photos to sort of help spur memories of fun events and such.
Haven’t looked back and I’d like to think I’ve spent that time doing something better.
In reality I probably just filled that time with Netflix...
Edit: it seems like that was a typo in the article if he says he was off for a whole year. Pretty big typo, though.
I have like 1, or 2.
In my job, I'm required every day to consume a lot of information from many different platforms.
It turned me into Content Junkey
And that was just in the first few paragraphs.
But, can't be a Luddite. It's here to stay, like smoking, and I tolerate it as such.
But thanks for posting this so I didn't feel obligated to.
This is the same for you aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews
You’ll keep in touch with the ones you actually care about and vice versa