Tuesday, 6 March 2018

| minimalism | digital | facebook |

Mark, mark, mark.... you want 2018 to be Facbeook's big redemption.

But I'm sure I wasn't alone in quietly fist pumping when I read that this social media giant was starting to trip up. He had a kid, has more money than he knows what to do with and is suddenly on a path of 'restoration for society'.

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More and more, 'studies' (I'm not sure if these are reputable sources mind) show us that social media is bad for our health and in just minutes can turn a person into a lonely, sad and judgmental individual - [please remember this is paraphrasing].

It corodes our sense of self and in actual fact devalues the social connections it supposedly facilitates. A social network that isn't social? worthless. pointless. A legacy?! Not even slightly.

Okay so here lies the problem.

Using Facebook makes us unhappy. The interactions just aren't real, we aren't getting anything back other than a slow descent into depression and it's not really serving a purpose.

Facebook wants us to use Facebook more. I hope I'm not bursting any bubbles by revealing that Facebook's income comes from advertising, which relies on us to keep looking at the adverts, and to do so we need to be online.

Facebook doesn't really care to provide that which would make us happy. this ties into the above point, Facebook has to show us content which satisfies its business partners. So if our newsfeed was just about friends and family then where would they make their money?!

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Facebook wants to encourage your addiction, not cure it. Facebook doesn't want you outside making friends. Facebook wants to help it's advertisers (and will keep you in a state of distress to make you more susceptible to them). Facebook wants to keep you craving more of these senseless interactions (likes, comments, 'reactions') to ensure you keep loading the app.

It's predatory. It's abuse.

It works on the short term, but once the victim wakes up to it the damage is done and there isn't a lot that can heal the mistrust.

The scepticism around the platform seems to be driving a lot of users away, with their behaviour changing and their passivity to content more and more stringent. It's interesting to watch.

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Another problem that we haven't all quite come to terms with - user vs user. This is true across all social media and I genuinely think our brains aren't hardwired for this kind of stimulation and exposure. It's so artificial.

Our inability to avoid social comparisons is what creates an uncomfortable level of competitiveness and judgement towards individuals who are supposedly friends. Because we can project a version of ourselves online, and rather than get to know a real person - it is this online persona which becomes us and is the only one our friends and family relate to. This creates a huge level of performativity and a feeling of unease as we are never able to truly be ourselves.

The human mind is simply not built to cope with the immense pressure of being able to compare ourselves endlessly with anyone and everyone in the world. Instead of forming genuine relationships, we burn out our empathy, kindness and creativity in seeking validation so everything is just a hollow interaction of button clicking and viewing.

There was a lot more I wanted to say on this topic but I'm on really strong painkillers so this will have to do for now.