Saturday, July 1, 2017

Plugging In

I've learned to treat social media and maybe the internet in general like plugging into the Matrix. 

It's intriguing, a lot of things are possible, but ultimately most of it isn't real. And it's occasionally harmful or dangerous. This is especially true for the social media stuff.

I deleted my Facebook accounts. I know everyone always asks how will you keep in touch with people without it. First, ask if you need to be in touch with everyone. Seeing as how it was revealed by a study that only a handful (like not more than all the fingers on your hand) of your friends on social media are actually people who care about you, why the heck would you want to touch base with all the people who don't? 

Secondly, Facebook is sort of like a performance. My closest friends aren't going to keep in touch with me via status updates. Those are just things people say, often vaguely, from a type of digital podium. You need real interaction (I don't always mean face to face since that isn't possible at great distances) and things like long messages back and forth and letters and texting and phone calls can't be replaced with status updates. 

So, I guess it does take more effort, but it's probably the effort we need to be putting into our friendships anyway. 

Some benefits I've already noticed are added time. I didn't realize how much of my every day was getting eaten doing posts or scrolling. I don't have that to waste. I'm not sure anyone actually does, but I don't. 

Also, have you kept track of the amount of WEIRDLY specific ads you've been seeing? Write it down. It's too many. We don't think about the effect of that stuff, but it's one of the reasons I don't miss cable, either. Advertising is designed to alter how you view yourself and your world, which isn't a malevolent thing in and of itself, but taking too much of it in or engaging in it without being aware really sucks. And some of it is really depressing for me (Oh, great, you sell beautiful newborn hats? That must be awesome for women without terminal illnesses who get to have as many children as they want. Oh, hey, mountain bikes! That sure does look like fun for people who can breathe really, really well!...@#%$*). Just no thanks. 

And speaking of advertising...

Ever been to a party and end up seated next to one of those people who can not stop talking about how great they are? What if you went to a party where almost everyone was doing that, all the time. 

You'd probably leave early and never speak to the person who invited you again. 

Facebook is that. People walk around showing you the best parts of their lives and even the bad parts get good editing treatment. Psychologically, taking that in has shown to be kind of poisonous. It's one of the key reasons people are happier without social media. 

That's not to say all of it is bad. 

It's useful. It's "get stuff done" useful. 

But, like the Matrix, you need to remember what is real. And don't hang out here too long.


*I'd tell you this is my last philosophical Matrix comparison post, but that's probably a lie...* 

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