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Why I Don't Use Social Media

Last updated: 2024-04-22

According to studies, in 2004 an average attention span on a screen was two and half minutes. It has been steadily getting worse and now it's around 45 seconds. I find that worrying. Social media does not exactly help. Instagram, Tiktok and others are pushing more and more short videos and other throwaway content. That's because people are willing to watch. Views translate to money for the social media companies. People are doom-scrolling from a short video to another, watching ten videos of different topics in less than ten minutes. It's a waste of time and what's even worse, it not good for you.

Although, I'm worried of our future generations and what social media will do to them, there are other reasons why I don't want to use social media. The biggest reason is that there's hardly anything interesting. Let alone useful. Think about it—if you make a blog post of someone's daily Facebook feed nobody would leave a comment or otherwise engage with the post. It would not hold any value.

Social networks are not popular because of they provide useful information for us. They are popular because of most people want others to like them. It motivates them to comment and like other people's content because if they do that there's a change others will reciprocate. It's a social contract.

Social networks are privacy-invading advertisement platforms. They try to sell you even more stuff you don't need. Algorithms optimize content for you based on your behavior on the platform, creating a bubble for each individual. Living in a bubble makes you buy more stuff, as you think you actually need it to achieve something. This is especially true for hobbies, whether it's outdoors, cycling, or gardening—social media is full of content creators simply promoting new products for the niche they represent. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find a genuine review of a product.

I could go on and on about the reasons why I don't want to use social media. There are truckloads of privacy-related issues. Companies behind social media platforms have too much control over what you see and what you don't see—censorship, pushing agendas, opinions, and whatnot.

Richard Stallman has compiled a comprehensive list of reasons why not to use Facebook. It applies for other platforms too.

It's not all bad

However, there are times when social media can be and is useful for an individual. Services like X and other microblogging platforms are good for spreading information rapidly. Back in the day, IRC was known for that too.

Perhaps one just enjoys sharing photography on Instagram. There's nothing inherently bad in that. People should do what they enjoy. The problem arises from how social media companies use your data.

Social media is very effective for promoting your own products, but how long it will hold any value as it's becoming an another channel for selling products? How long users are willing to browse advertisements all day long? What we need is a platform which is entirely non-commercial; a platform which is made by users for users where promoting products is not allowed.

Discuss on Hacker News.

Copyright © Niko Rosvall