On Instagram, you're competing with others on who has the happiest life.
On LinkedIn, you're competing with others on who has the steepest career trajectory.
Even on Twitter, perhaps more acutely in certain jobs or industries, it seems like you're competing with other in gaining professional influence.
It creates a lot of anxiety that stems from a feeling like you're constantly on the verge of falling behind others.
Plenty of scholars/thinkers/philosophers have said something to the effect of focusing on just being a better version of you. Social media enables the exact opposite i.e. forcing you to constantly evaluate how you compare to others.
To start, I have an iOS rule that prevents more than 7 minutes of each social media app per day. I pretty much only use Facebook. After the timer is up that’s it for the day.
I honestly enjoy seeing picture of my friends, their kids, their vacations, and the fun things they are doing. I don’t have FOMO and I’m not depressed seeing people doing something more fun than I am in that exact moment. In some cases I’m inspired to go somewhere or do something because I know my family or I would enjoy it. I rarely post myself, even if I’m doing something FOMO worthy (okay, maybe sometimes). I’ll share some photos from big occasions like birthdays or weddings since I think other people may want to see them, especially if they are in the photos.
I generally use social media when I’m waiting for a train, sitting in a doctors office, or going to the bathroom. I never itch for it during the day and rarely find myself reaching for the app robotically. One thing that’s definitely help to curb constant dopamine hits and addiction is disabling all social media notifications. I’m never pushed content, I only pull it. Actually, I’ve disabled almost every single notification on my phone with the exception of imessage, slack, citizen, and photos. My phone never buzzes from email, social media, or anything else that I find distracting.
One thing I’ve always wanted to do but never do is clean up my Facebook friend list so it’s only the people I care about. For what it’s worth Facebook seems to do a decent job of filtering it. But one day I’ll do it right.
I think people who blame their life problems on social media have deeper underlying issues. Mark Zuckerberg didn't invent envy in 2004.
I think the same happens with social media. There are people who are more prone to addiction than others. People close to me have claimed to have felt much better after deleting/deactivating their social media accounts.
Personally it's been more than 10 years without Facebook, and I never had an Instagram, so there's not much I can say about the topic from my own experience.
I don't know if it's true that many more people prescribed opioids become addicted than not, and spreading such information harms people who do need them.
The thing is I feel like maybe you get more out of those 15 minutes than me, or others who feel like it's too much time. Those telling people not to use social media are probably the ones that don't have good experiences with social media. To each their own, I suppose. It's important to remember different people are going to have different experiences and that is going to paint your feelings about it. As much as it seems that social media does have a general negative impact on people, I'm sure there are people for who it is fine. Should we chastise everyone to stop? Probably not, just let others know it could be affecting them and how to stop, etc.
It reminds me of people who get anxious on marijuana and then always go anti-drug on other people because they think "this stuff is terrible, no one should do this" yet for a lot of other people they had great experiences, and so the reverse is true "this stuff is great, everyone should try this". They're sort of both wrong there.
Either way personally, I don't get much out of social media and so I don't use it. If you feel like you're getting something out of it worth those few days a year spent on it, go for it, although just be mindful that it's something that feels good, but might not actually be good itself.
That's not necessarily a bad thing though is it? I speak to my parents on the phone 1-2x per week for ~30 minutes at a time. That's 1-2 days a year just on the phone.
Essentially I have two options if I feel a bit envious:
1) Feel envy and get depressed because I start thinking I have a worse life.
2) Share in their joy - send a like, write a positive comment or sometimes just do nothing except focus on being excited for them . By sharing in their joy, I get to experience a bit of their happiness for myself. If I write them a comment, even if it's just 'Congrats!', then there's a chance I might even make them a little happier too - which in itself makes me happier.
This did not come naturally to me at first. I've worked on cultivating this attitude for many years. It's one of the best investments I've ever made in myself.
Just checked and I spent 7 minutes on it on Sunday, nothing since, and the most I've used it in a day in the last three weeks is 5 minutes, at least on my phone.
Similar for Twitter but with a peak at 40 minutes a couple weeks ago (how?!). And Reddit I probably use about twice as much, which is still not bad, I don't think. Is it "social media", really?
That's really all I've got, if we're excluding group chats. Those, I use probably an unhealthy amount.
I routinely bounce back and forth between Reddit & CNN to get updates.
It's designed from the ground up to be addicting and attention getting -- envy is just one of the buttons they press to trip that addiction.
I (edit: think I) should because it seems like a good way to stay updated.
For some reason Facebook never clicked with me.
I waste some time on the rest of the Internet though.
I'm glad you enjoy the experience and are able to control it, but isn't it telling that you have to put a timer on it to prevent it from being a negative experience? It's like a drug you have to heavily regulate so you don't OD.
For me, the timer is just there to remind me X minutes have passed. Losing track of time while doing something, anything feels natural to me. It happens in real life when I stumble upon a friend on the street and we start chatting and it happens in social media when I scroll too much.
If I'm reading something and my time is up, I just extend that and able to close the app afterward.
But when you open the app at minute 8, there's a prominent "Ignore Limit" button right there. Are you relying on mere self control? Or do you have some way to actually prevent app usage?
Much as we hate them, this is one way that detailed timesheets help. The very fact that you're writing down what you were doing for each half-hour or whatever is enough to keep you focused because even if there are no further repercussions, you really don't want to write "hacker news 3.5 hours".
Speaking of which... closes tab
The limit was a choice I made up front to be a reminder not to waste too much time and to stop and do something else. But honestly, I try not to put too much thought into it. If I’m really enjoying what I’m doing in that moment I’ll give myself an extension for a few minutes. But it’s rare I do that more than once.
I don’t think about it as an addiction that I’m trying to break or a habit I’m trying to avoid. I’ve made the conscious that social media is something I enjoy but don’t want to spend too much time on. So I put an arbitrary limit that reminds me to stop and do something else. My general mindset about most things is that doing it to excess isn’t good. Is wasting your day on social media that much worse than binging Netflix all day? Sure, if social media is causing anxiety, depression, or [enter any other issue here] then it’s something that should be managed. But if you are using it responsibly, not in excess, and are healthy about it, it seems fine to use from time to time with it without arbitrary limits.
Any reasonable definition of social media would include any site whose main content is user-contributed, and allows users to comment and vote on content and comments. For example: reddit, youtube, imgur, .....HN.
You may be consuming a lot more social media than you thought.
This is what made the biggest difference for me. Last year, I deleted both my Facebook and Instagram accounts for about 4 months. I found that I didn't miss my Facebook at all. My Instagram had been a decent way of staying in touch with a group of friends and family. I ended up creating an Instagram account again, but now that I was starting from scratch again, I was pretty mindful of who I followed. At this point I have about 40 people I follow, all of whom are people I know quite well and aren't particularly prolific posters. This is in comparison to the 200 or so I had amassed through college and beyond. I find that I don't even use Instagram for an average of 5 minutes per day, as thats about as long as it takes to actually see everything new since the day before.
Its much more of a tool for informally keeping up with a handful of people I wouldn't otherwise than the time-sucking, attention-hijacking bloat of weak and non-existent relationships that it had become. And it basically makes other social media like Facebook and Twitter unnecessary.
Deleting all social media is great, but for many people, it may be just as effective to simply do a Marie Kondo-esque purge of the social media junk you've accumulated over time.
On Linkedin I just keep my profile and ocassionaly get inquires. My last few jobs were all result of someone reaching me on the Linkedin.
On Facebook I just filter out anyone who posts stuff what I deem not interesting.
And Twitter… I just do not get it. Looks like continuous noise.
I did this. Now I don't follow anyone. This was not done consicously it just happened. Turns out, most stuff on FB is stupid nonsense. I just have weird ads and FB auto notifications like celebrate your 2 years of knowing this person whom you just unfollowed.
Don't get me wrong, I understand you, I too don't feel the competition when using them, I disabled almost every single notification (I constantly keep my phone on DND), but I aknwoledge that they are bad for a number of reasons, among the others:
- they put the "normality" bar too high
- they are too fast to follow
- they promote content consumption over slow ingestion
- they promote throw away content over curated lists of what we like
- they promote the "sugar rush" of immediate reward over rational, slow and often tiring discussions
- they tend to cause depression
- finally, they favour dividing, inflammatory content because their metric is engagement
If you admit you're force-limiting yourself from using them, you know they are problematic per se.
I used to smoke cigarettes when I was waiting for the bus or the train or someone late.
Now I don't anymore.
I don't smoke during the day, I don't smoke home, I don't make cigarette breaks, I never hitch for them during the day, but I smoke when I'm out with my girlfriend doing aperitivo, because we're both social smokers.
I'm limiting myself, it wasn't even hard, I don't have to use an app to not smoke, but cigarettes are bad anyway, zero is the right amount of them.
The same goes for social networks: you can resist them, you can be a responsible user, you can force yourself to not fall into their dark patterns (or you're naturally good at avoiding time) but zero is the right amount of time to spend on them.
We must understand that until social networks will be private held and under little or no control from public institutions, they can't be considered good.
They are to be considered as adversaries of our wellness at the best, if not enemies or even villains.
Take for example IKEA, their shops are beautiful but I don't think it's good to go there, from time to time, maybe with your kids, just to see what's new.
I think it's good to go if you __have to go__ and really need something.
Recently I was indefinitely suspended from Twitter.
The reason is laughable, I had a "fight" with a well known Italian far right supporter, but I forgot they have a network of very active trolls, I made a mistake, I felt into a trap and they signaled me en mass and deleted all their messages and now I'm out.
What's so funny about it?
Firs of all I was using Twitter mainly to keep in touch with the updates of the programming communities I follow, mainly Elixir/Erlang.
Secondly, I never felt better! I'm out from the daily background noise of complaints and after just a couple of weeks their networks have been finally identified and Facebook/Instagram banned them all (https://www.thelocal.it/20190910/facebook-shuts-down-italian...).
On the bright side, when Dorsey released to interviews saying that "you don't simply ban nazis from your platform because it's hard to identify them" Twitter’s share price fell as much as 4 percent.
You might think this is all avoidable, but if I follow a programmer who's also an activist (doesn't matter which part they support) I'm almost certainly forced to see the content they post/like/share.
So to defend myself I must take action, actions that after a while become a job, it is tiring, it forces you to make decisions that you usually don't have to take when dealing with people in person or on different communication platforms, HN as well, even though it's not my favourite, the interaction is certainly better than on any social media out there.
For the past ~2 years I've only been looking at HN through this link. This limits the amount of listings I can see, while at the same time ensuring "higher quality" dopamine rushes. It's worked out for me quite well with giving me what I want to see, while wasting less time sifting through uninteresting stuff. Pretty much like reddit's top vs. hot functionality, just changing my defaults.
You could also subscribe to HN on feed reader with such limitations, https://edavis.github.io/hnrss/ and http://hnapp.com/ are two that I have used in the past. e.g. https://hnrss.org/newest?comments=100 and http://hnapp.com/rss?q=comments%3E100 creates a feed limited by number of comments.
In the end I decided RSS wasn't ideal way to follow HN though, and for quite some time I have been using https://hckrnews.com/ almost exclusively to skim through top 10 posts for each day. Or top 20 or top 50%, if you have more free time. Plus I like the table layout, with comments/points in their respective columns.
I think HN is more of a news aggregator with comments than social media platform. But it has the same problem as anything compared with “crack” and that’s a quick information fix.
I like a lot of the stuff on here too but I often book mark things and don’t necessarily go back to it. Some things yes but mostly no.
I don't read anything on Medium. I brush it off as marketing bs. Github pages though I do read. I read documentations of software frameworks on HN that I find intersting. Sometimes source code too (if I can understand it).
>I like a lot of the stuff on here too but I often book mark things and don’t necessarily go back to it. Some things yes but mostly no.
I use Firefox for this, but their bookmarking system is awful.
In the off chance that commentors say it's good enough to read, I skim it, and very rarely, I will read it in depth.
I recently started bookmarking things and reading them in full later, but honestly what gives me the biggest kick are the comments. I also really dig the ask and show sections.
It also has no notion of relationships between users.
And there is "but there are people WRONG on the internet!" effect, which means demonstrating domain knowledge and winning arguments drive their interest -- something that seems strikingly more common with knowledge workers (e.g. lawyers, programmers, professors), than, say, construction workers. People wanna feel smart, esp. in their areas of proficiency and dominance.
I'm sure someone will post the relevant XKCD any minute now...
Social media is simply white-washing shit experiences and pretending they are gold. Life is not always positive, otherwise you are fooling yourself.
I am not cynical. I am just a realist. We need to drop this total farce of a behavior and stop conning each other if we hope to rise above it.
Life is hard. Social media pretends like life is not hard, mind-fucking everyone. Social media is garbage.
-- George Bernard Shaw
I agree with your broad premise about social media frequently being a poor representation of day to day life. The it's all shit part probably implies you're at least somewhat cynical. It's clearly not all shit, plenty of it certainly is. People frequently live different quality of lives vs their peers in fact; some people live amazing lives, some people live horrible lives. In a developed country, by far the largest distribution is likely to be a mixture of good and blah, with some occasional amazing and some bad thrown in.
> We need to drop this total farce of a behavior and stop conning each other if we hope to rise above it.
That behavior has always existed, it will always exist, so long as humanity does. Nothing can change it short of altering humanity through technology (and then we're something else), forced evolution (which we have begun, first pitch of the first inning; but it will probably take hundreds of years before we very substantially alter what we are; and we may make these things even worse, sharper). It's hard wired signaling and competition built into human nature, all the way down to the most fundamental aspects of what we are, including the pursuit of reproduction. Social media is nothing more than an aggressive, in your face, projected expression of it. It's the expression of many of the driving forces of human nature, amped up: sex, lust, attraction, status, materialism, greed, competition, envy, jealousy, pride, fear, validation, anger, inspiration, with some awww kittens & puppies thrown in. And that's also why people are drawn to it so intensely, it's a drug rush.
You missed an important checkmark on realism: 'we' can't rise above these things, humanity is these things. That's the actual reality. And it isn't going away, people will be complaining about all of this stuff in exactly the same way 20 or 30 years from now, except this will all seem tame compared to what will occur in the future: it will get worse yet.
The reason this is relevant is because the dates for these things start in the mid 1800s. Vin Mariani was made in the 1860s, Coca-Cola was inspired by Vin Mariani and came a decade or two later. Suffice to say the coke craze spread pretty quickly. And it's not like this was coke-lite or anything like that. It was genuine cocaine, same as we have today. And you had similar mental and physical consequences atop raging addiction.
It wouldn't be banned until 1914 and even that was due more to racism than concern for its effects. The New York Times ran a story in 1914 decrying "negro cocaine fiends"  which is what finally started the push to it getting banned. The only reason it took so long is because people were addicted and tried to ignore or set aside the negative consequences of it all, or even deny they existed. And that was pretty easy to do - Edison and Grant don't exactly rank near the top of your list of famous druggies. Nonetheless, the consequences were real and widespread.
The point here is that if you go back to the times before 1914, it'd be easy to imagine a future full of an ever larger chunk of the population degenerating under the influence of an ever increasing number of cocaine driven products. And in fact it would have seemed odd to predict anything else. Because when you're predicting the future you never predict 90 degree turns, because they sound absurd. Yet it's paradoxical because one of the few things you can guarantee about the future is that there will be countless more of these 90 degree turns.
[1 raw text] - http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/Negro_cocaine_fi...
[1 New York Times paywalled version] - https://www.nytimes.com/1914/02/08/archives/negro-cocaine-fi...
What absurd and ridiculous claims. Go speak to someone who has receieved life-saving healthcare in the developing world because of social media. Talk to someone who found their spouse through social media. Talk to someone who left their home country to travel across the world for a better life and only in the last 5 years have they been able to easily reconnect with their loved ones back home.
What an utterly, comically backwards take on the matter. It simply takes 5 seconds of not assuming you are the center of the universe to realize that that social media has provided value to the world.
Social Media is responsible for the massive viral spread of people believing in conspiracy theories, antivaxxers, flat-earthers, anti climate-changers, etc. so social media is responsible (indirectly) for people dying due to not being vaccinated.
Social Media is responsible for the escalation in political rhetoric and the gradual ratcheting of tensions in America and the development of the "alt right" and also indirectly responsible for the increase in mass shootings in America due to the propaganda and "fake news" spread on Facebook and Twitter.
Or cars? Modern computing, yes the one you're criticizing technology on right now, exists in large part because of IBM, who quite literally brought cutting-edge technology to mass genocide during the Holocaust.
But social media is the villain here? What an absurd take.
Surely propaganda existed long before Social Media.
Sounds like an unfair situation to me: the one with the most likes on Facebook gets the best healthcare?
> Talk to someone who left their home country to travel across the world for a better life and only in the last 5 years have they been able to easily reconnect with their loved ones back home.
As in: just look at their holiday pictures but never really talk?
There's one of a million case studies.
And there are hundreds of case studies like the one I linked to, and sure, it was "possible" in the days of internet forums the same way it was "possible" to send text messages in 1995.
Just the other day I read an article that being open about your issues is the new hotness on social media. I would even say it's the other way around now. People fake problems in order to get followers.
No, I'm laughing at memes and seeing pictures of friends that I can't be with.
> On LinkedIn, you're competing with others on who has the steepest career trajectory.
No, I'm keeping in touch with colleagues and advertising my skills.
If you're using those services as you describe, you should stop now.
For example extreme political and religious opinions. I've seen long term real life friendships broken because someone said something extreme about Brexit on facebook. I have a very religious friend who berates me constantly on facebook for being an ex-Catholic, she tells me I need to save myself etc - but she would never say that to me in real life.
Social media is so good at making people say stupid things.
On Instagram, I rarely if ever look at other people's stories or posts other than a few close friends whose happiness can make me feel happy. But I do post my own and receive psychological validation when other people react positively to them.
LinkedIn isn't even a social media for me. It's a place to dump facts about my career. I don't read the feed.
My Facebook feed is just various memes trying to be funny. I look at them and laugh occasionally.
There's just no competition aspect for me on social media.
If you have 52 friends on Facebook, and each of them takes a vacation for one week out of the year, then every week you see someone broadcasting how they're having a more awesome time than you.
That doesn't mean they're doing any better than you. You just don't see the 52 reactions for the one week that you've got the vacation 'advantage' over them. You only notice the comparison when you're on the worse side of it.
Blind seems more like 4chan parading around as linkedin, and I haven't found much substance there at all. It seems like a bunch of recent college grads trying to one up each other even while being anonymous. Just a lot of thinly veiled humblebrags pretending to be questions like "I got an offer for $350k at google, but I like my current position making $320k at Apple. Should I take it?", along with extremely simple questions that would be better answered by google like "what does company xyz do?". I've only poked around for about an hour, so if anyone has suggestions for a better experience I'm all ears. My initial exposure did not leave a good taste in my mouth.
It seems like it’s more that social media has made the playing field 10^9 instead of 10^3.
Back in the day, you might have felt those social pressures, but only in limited settings and ultimately you could control the situation by removing yourself from anxiety invoking situations. There was ample room for getting a mental break from these situations.
But social media completely destroys any respite anyone could possibly have. They exploit the FOMO feeling as best they can to essentially guilt their users to constantly "engage" on their platform, which leaves the end user pretty helpless in being able to seek respite from these negative social pressures. I'm only 35 and I haven't used social media in any meaningful way for 5+ years and it has been the best decision ever. I don't really miss out on much and I definitely am much happier than when I had to wade through all the crap people post on social media just to keep up appearances in the social media rat race.
A strange side effect is that the digital world also amplifies the outliers and makes the others in the large group of people seem non existent, leaving you to feel like you are majorly behind, when the reality is you are likely closer than most.
Bill Maher had a good "New Rule" on this very phenomenon a few weeks ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGp-omDD3V0
I was thinking more "10 to 20". I suppose from person to person and at different stages of life the filter of who is appropriate for your playing field might change. . but even 10^2 seems high. I can barely name 20 critically important people in my life let alone those which are on my playing field. I have managed this, a bit unconsciously. Generally when my field is managed in line with my conscious values I'd only regard a person who I know and respect professionally. Further filtering on whether I actually feel like I personally (not just professionally) know the person.
curious what a different playing field mechanism might be described as
The monkeysphere is "how many people you can comprehend as people with their own full lives", and is on the order of 150-300.
"Critically important" in your life is a far higher bar, so 10 to 20 makes sense.
"Playing field" is a far lower bar where only the relevant metric matters, which widens the range to a far larger number of people.
Before Instagram, you could be a loser but not feel it because the winners weren’t always in your face. Even the most mundane post of avocado toast in a hipster coffee shop sends the message “I’m having fun and you’re not.”
Not it's in your face 24/7.
On the other hand, I do see people who are otherwise very closed using it to express themselves and grow. It’s easy to say “yes, but at what cost? That’s not ‘growth’ to me” but who am I to judge?
Some people smoke or drink to deal with their anxiety. Some people binge TV shows to avoid their problems and worries. There’s a lot of poison to be had in our world. There’s a lot of holier-than-thou attitudes about what vices are “ok”. It’s a lot of shallow moralizing in the end, IMO.
Interestingly, as someone who uses Twitter for a purely anonymous psychological outlet, I do not feel this at all. Instead, I find it a place of earnest concern and solidarity—when not plagued by trolls.
I've quit Facebook and I can only confirm: nothing magical happens. At least I feel a bit better and feel less social pressure to accord to certain standards/do certain things.
For a long time I thought LinkedIn is super essential and it would be complete non-sense to quit it. But I'm barely in contact with people I connected with there. Especially I rarely connect with recruiters because this would just be too much noise - of course I write them though. But now I start wondering, there are dedicated career websites and it's anyhow much better to apply for jobs one actually likes - instead of just saying yes or no to what recruiters think is the best idea.
I think we can all agree, that happy people of Instagram are very very sad. Else they will be busy being happy not hunting likes.
>Even on Twitter, perhaps more acutely in certain jobs or industries, it seems like you're competing with other in gaining professional influence.
Unless its some useful info like a new research paper or some official announcement, I would reject everything on Twitter as some ill-thought opinion.
> It creates a lot of anxiety that stems from a feeling like you're constantly on the verge of falling behind others.
Try teamblind. Worst of the worst. On a serious note, a bit of competition is not really a bad thing. So you can simply choose how anxious to feel about it.
Has it been the case that so many ~innovations things become quickly a problem, that you need another thing to use it safely, and when you happen to stop well, you don't miss it.
Did you just say you like seeing pictures of other people's babies ?
The most problematic thing imho is that all of these online "competitions" are relatively easily hackable.
You cannot compare the scale at which real life interactions work to that of social media interactions.
“Rule your mind or it will rule you.”
Doesn't that start with schooling very early in life though. What does that specifically do with social media. Maybe schools are different in America.
Thing is I'm just not a very competitive person, or a very social one. I have a small clique of quite close friendships and a larger pool of people I know and like but relate to in a pretty casual manner. Maybe my lack of competitive instinct is inherent, or maybe it has to do with having been 'extremely online' for ~30 years and just not caring as much. I'm far more preoccupied with understanding the dynamics of social media interactions than I with exploiting them (in conventional ways).
tl;dr I think people relate to social media in quite different ways depending on personality type.