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.