Social media was once a great way to interact with friends, stay up to date with current trends, be entertained, and just generally pass the time. However, over time, it has become an extremely toxic place for me. In addition, it was becoming a serious problem in my life. As part of the spiritual transformation I undertook at the beginning of this year, I decided that I needed to give up all of my idols and vices – social media was one of them.
I deleted my Instagram back in February, I never had a Twitter, and after a long debate with myself about its usefulness, I finally deleted my Facebook. Social media had become such a destructive influence in my life, that it was better to just stay away. Now, I do my best to avoid it at all costs. So here are the top ten reasons why I deleted all of my social media accounts:
10. I don’t need to know what’s on your mind 24/7
Unless I ask you, which I can do off of social media. I mean, seriously, nobody cares what you think. I don’t even believe that the human brain was built to handle the amount and speed of information transmitted on social media. The amount of “thoughts” that you’re exposed to is overwhelming and will drive you insane.
9. Privacy concerns
If you’ve been following the news, then you’d know that this is a big one for many people, but especially for me. It’s one thing for your personal data to be sold to political organizations and corporations looking to advertise and proselytize to you, but it’s another thing when you have to be conscious of what you post because someone can use the information you post on social media to find out where you work, live, etc. and affect your offline life. Someone can find out where you work, show your employer the things you post on social media, and get you fired from your job. It’s a pretty scary place to be.
8. Racism, identity politics, and hate speech
There’s a vicious trend of identity politics and racism on social media. It’s like everyone has collectively lost their minds. There’s a lot of nasty tribalism. Instead of coming together to make the world, our communities, our families, and even ourselves better, everyone just wants to blame all of their problems on other groups of people. I once followed this line of thought, but over time I just got tired of hating people. I want to love people.
7. The outrage economy, theatrics, and virtue signaling
There’s a saying in American culture: “sex sells”. With the rise of social media, it seems as if nowadays outrage sells. The more “viral” you are, the more inflammatory you are, the more you are capable of shocking and offending: the more you can sell whatever it is you’re trying to promote. A perfect example of this was the whole Kanye West slavery fiasco. When he made the comments he made about slavery, everybody seemingly “canceled” him. Yet, these same people who canceled him bought every single project he put out during that time period. These same people who canceled him shared clips of his rant on TMZ all over social media because they were so pissed off about it, thus inadvertently promoting him and not canceling him. It was one of the things that illustrated to me, how shallow and fake it all is.
Another thing is the virtue signaling. Everybody is an upright model citizen who feels justified in judging others and wanting to uphold justice, but when you examine these people further, they are coming from a place of pure self-righteousness and ego-boosting. There was an incident a few months ago, where an elderly lady was brutally beaten by a man on a train. I saw a bunch of “YouTubers” and “influencers” making videos about how all of the people on this train were terrible people and should be ashamed of themselves for not helping this old lady. How, if they were there, they would have done x, y, and z. Yea, whatever. We don’t believe you. 9 times out of 10, you probably would have sat there and minded your business like everyone else would have done. Nobody knows if that man had a weapon, or was on a dissociative drug like PCP or bath salts that would have made it dangerous for anyone to physically stop him. It’s impossible to know what any of us would have done because none of us were there. The pretentious virtue signaling and moral grandstanding that seems to plague social media is so irritating to me because ignores any sort of nuance.
Social media is also very theatrical. It seems like all of the “influencers” and major players on social media are all acting so that they can maintain their “followers.” Everyone involved in this world has a gimmick that they’re trying to sell to you so that they can manipulate you for their own personal gain. I compare it to professional wrestling: you have a bunch of wrestlers trying to “get over” with the internet audience. Getting over in the professional wrestling world means when a wrestler’s character establishes a connection with the fans, whether a positive one as a good guy, or a negative one as a bad guy. Not establishing a connection at all is a bad thing in the pro wrestling industry, and if you can’t get over, sooner or later you’ll find yourself without a job. That’s what everyone who is an influencer is trying to do: get over. Whether they truly believe in the ideas they’re professing is unknown to anyone but them and God. Even the “regular people” are trying to get over and draw people in. They only post certain aspects of their lives, so that everyone can see how happy they are, but deep down they are hollow and miserable. It promotes a fake, shallow, consumerist mentality.
6. Everything becomes a political debate
You could be watching a funny video about cats and — I 100% guarantee you — that somebody in the comments will say something about Donald Trump, AOC, Black Lives Matter, the Republicans, Democrats, etc. People can’t even have fun and take a break from all of that stuff anymore. Here, you have a completely innocent video about cats, and someone has to come in and make it about politics.
This goes back to what I said in point #7. People are so caught up in these online gimmicks that they have that they don’t know how to be anything else. They don’t know how to be their actual selves and just enjoy the video they’re watching.
5. It’s a manipulation tool
Look at the terminology they use: “follower.” The word “follower” implies that one is a part of a cult or a religion. The moment you sign up on a social media platform, you become a follower. You are the mark, and there is a war between celebrities, corporations, politicians, and journalists for your attention. They’re trying to get you to buy whatever it is that they’re selling. I’ve seen some very evil and malicious people on social media. It’s a great tool for sexual predators, scam artists, narcissists, political extremists, and other malcontents who in a normal setting would not have any type of platform. However, social media — due to the very nature of its business model — has given these people a platform. Most people are very susceptible to this manipulation, as you can probably tell when you observe the current state of political/cultural discourse.
4. None of it is real
Do you really know your “friends” and your followers? Are these people actually real? I mean, think about it. Do you really know any of these people? This is something that I realized the longer I stayed on social media. Most of the people I was friends with were people that I haven’t physically seen in years, and/or don’t talk to on a regular basis. When I would post something and get a like, it was often from people I barely knew. So it really makes you wonder: If you don’t know any of these people, then what’s the point?
3. “Stan” culture
The celebrity/politician/influencer worship. Everybody knows about those annoying, obsessive fans who would literally do anything for the targets of their obsession. They live vicariously through celebrities, somehow not recognizing that these people are human just like they are. They troll, harass, and doxx anyone who dares say anything bad about their “fave.”
2. It’s bad for my spirit
The more I talked to people on social media, the more I engaged in it at all, the more I found myself compromising who I now am. I found myself participating in base, worldly conversations that did not help me to improve spiritually, emotionally, or in any real way. Everyone in that world is out for your attention, to get you outraged, or aroused in some other sort of way. After a while, I really had to sit back and ask myself if I really needed this medium. As a Christian, the Bible says that if any part of your body causes you to sin, you should cut it off. Social media is one of those things that I have to distance myself from in order to stay sane and spiritually grounded.
1. It’s depressing
It’s just flat out depressing. According to a study, social media is actually linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other negative mind states. When you take all of the previous points and combine them, this is just how it makes me, and, I suspect, most people feel. Social media, if anything, is a mirror. You get to see some of the ugliest parts of human nature. It’s painful to watch. At this point, I just try to stay away from that world, the lifestyle, and the mentality that it promotes. Especially since I am trying to evolve from it.
If you have your uses for social media, that’s fine. However, I hope you consider some of the points made on this list. If you find that these things apply to you, then it might be a good idea to disconnect. We have become so controlled by social media, that we are convinced that we need it.
It just isn’t good to be constantly exposed to all of these things. Social media’s entire business model thrives on negativity, drama, and attention-whoring. The only sensible thing for anyone who feels this way to do is to log off and not look back.