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Social Media

Apparently there have been a lot of posts on social media about people leaving social media1. For the last two years I have effectively been off social media. I did so quietly without any posting about it at the time but I do want to record my thoughts on why I stopped using it.

I used to be quite active on social media and it consumed a large part of my time.

I was on Facebook when you had to have an email address from one of the selected universities (at that time the only universities in Scotland that were recognised were Edinburgh and St Andrews). I remember the news feed getting introduced (and many people hating it).

Over the years I became less and less of a fan of Facebook. The things I didn't like generally came down to a lack of control. Several times they changed the privacy settings and as a result things I thought were liked down got opened up so others could see them when I thought that they could not. It was nothing particularly important, but was irritating and reduced my level of trust in the platform.

I also didn't like that I couldn't choose what I saw in my feed. It would randomly show what it thought I would want. I particularly found it confusing when it showed me items out of chronological order.

As a result I used it less and less until the point where I noticed that I only logged on once I had received a notification that someone had interacted with me and I felt I needed to respond. Then there was some campaign that I saw on twitter asking people to disable their facebook accounts for a day (I can't remember what the protest was about). The campaign got me to think about it and I decided to disable my facebook account, only on a more permanent basis.

I believe my account is still disabled.

I continued to use twitter and spending far too much time on the platform. I used it mostly to listen to what others were saying but I found that I was spending a significant amount of my spare time just trying to keep up.

Then twitter started to irritate me.

In an attempt to replicate the facebook feed, twitter started hiding the tweets that it thought I would not be interested in and only showing the top ones 'while you were away'. The problem is that I would only get half of the conversation and without the earlier less popular tweets, the later ones didn't make much sense.

After getting particularly annoyed one night with it, I just signed out and never bothered to sign back in. That was nearly two years ago now and it was probably one of my better decisions in the last few years. I have regained much of my spare time and have found myself to be calmer in my day to day life. I doubt I would have learnt another language or written many of these posts if I was still trying to keep up with the feed.

I do occasionally miss out on some events or news but on the whole, I think it is better to be slightly more removed from the firehose that is social media.

  1. I am basing this on the number of articles in newspapers/medium about them
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