A Rant About Social Media

I think social media has become a literal addiction for me, in the sense that it’s actually hurting my well-being by wasting hours of my time and overloading me with information about things that don’t matter. I’ve installed a browser extension to limit my Facebook and Twitter time to 20 minutes a day, which is just enough time for me to make my blog posts and read the comments I get. It’s not stopping me from procrastinating overall, but I’m spending more time looking at games and animations on Newgrounds and 4chan, which I think is a much better use of my time than reading about petty outrage on Twitter. So it’s been a positive change so far.

I’m also trying to be more mindful about digital distractions in general. Before I compulsively open a new tab, or look at my phone, I ask myself: Do I really want to be checking what pointless notifications I got in the last 30 minutes? Or is literally anything else a better use of my time?
I’m not great at it yet, but I’m making some progress.

I used to love technology, but it feels like lately a lot of it has been engineered to be so psychologically exploitative that I just want to get away from it. All social media seems to encourage the most outrageous, low quality, click-baity posts in an effort to make you stay on the site longer.

On YouTube half of what I get recommended is shit like “10 reasons why Final Fantasy 7 is the worst one!”, and “7 times Richard Dawkins went beast mode on idiots!”. They figure out what I’m interested in, and then show me the lowest quality content possible. What an age we live in, eh…

Maybe I’m a bit naive and nostalgic here, but I used to feel that social networks were a useful tool that you were in control over. You followed people who’s posts you were interested in, you searched for content you liked, and you were notified of important things like replies to your comments.

Nowadays the social networks are in charge of what I see. They show me posts that are “liked” by people I follow, when no one ever asked for that feature. They don’t allow me to turn off many types of notifications that I don’t want to see. They disguise advertisements as regular posts. Posts and comments aren’t ordered chronologically anymore, but instead by some secret algorithm. Algorithms predict what news you want to see, instead of showing you news that’s actually important.

It’s all a big waste of time really, and I wonder if the net affect of social media is even a positive one at this point. It was nice being able to keep in touch with friends and find cool people, but I think more traditional messenger apps are better suited to that now, as they don’t come with all the extra distractions.

Oh, and I forgot to even mention the mobs of self-righteous bullies that thirst for public shamings on the internet. Apparently these days it’s acceptable and often lauded to ruin someones career and livelihood over a few distasteful Tweets, or some other petty nonsense. Try saving the outrage for actual criminals who deserve it, ya twats.

Anyway, I just wanted to rant a bit about this. Do you agree or disagree?

34 thoughts on “A Rant About Social Media

  1. Andy

    Totally agree. I’ve cut down on social media to spend more time on games, writing, and hanging with my friends. It’s amazing how everything is perfectly designed to suck you in and keep you there for hours on end. Such a shame that all these otherwise pleasant social media platforms became another way to make money.

    Reply
  2. Howell2010

    I definitely agree, though I’ve not found it to be as damaging to my welfare. Though I only use twitter and youtube, ignore most of what I see, and I basically never post or respond on anything. And as for youtube I only watch subscribed channels, people who I trust to not give me garbage that I don’t enjoy.

    But it is disgusting how social media has turned into this horrible control machine. Then again, when money and people get involved in anything, it turns into shit.

    Reply
    1. Matt Roszak Post author

      I’m pretty sure I wasted an hour a day on average being annoyed/angry about things that don’t matter. :/

      Reply
  3. Librocubic

    I agree. Social media is a place to get drowned in negativity and pointless crap. I feel like if people’d take a walk instead of using social media they’d see that there’s no raging tumblr people, self-righteous bullies, or breaking news about celebrities that really matters.

    Reply
    1. Matt Roszak Post author

      There’s so much negativity that it makes me feel like the whole world is quickly falling apart, while in reality it’s generally getting better by most metrics.

      Reply
  4. Joe

    “… it feels like lately a lot of it has been engineered to be so psychologically exploitative that I just want to get away from it. All social media seems to encourage the most outrageous, low quality, click-baity posts in an effort to make you stay on the site longer.”

    “… social networks were a useful tool that you were in control over …”

    “Nowadays the social networks are in charge of what I see.”

    Exactly correct. It’s been like this for well over 9 years now. Surprised it took you until now to come up for air and see it. Sadly, most people never will. Karl Marx declared “religion is the opiate of the masses.” The title was passed to television two generations ago. And now, people are too “engaged” to notice their opioid addiction to social networks.

    It’s one thing to be connected and engaged. it’s another thing to be an active participant in a hive mind. As you astutely point out, it’s about who is in control. This is the difference between leaders/producers and sheeple.

    [Me? I found nothing redeeming about social media - "opinions are like a##holes - everybody has one and they all think everyone else's stinks but their own." I'll stick with email, RSS and web surfing. My problem is finding better ways to cut through the chaff to get to the kernels faster. Time is your most important asset. Money can be gained and lost, but time, once lost, is gone forever. It is an irreplaceable asset, which makes it more valuable than money; as time can be used to make money, but no amount of money will get back time lost. Time is your most important asset. Guard it well, spend it wisely.]

    Reply
    1. Matt Roszak Post author

      Heh, I think it’s some of Twitter’s recent changes that pushed me over the edge. It used to be cleaner than Facebook, but they started adding in more clutter lately (like showing you what people have liked).

      Reply
      1. mayhem162

        And the scary part is the fact that its not an “internet battle” anymore ,social media affects the trends and very actions of the people in the hive mind favoring a company or group of people or destroying them, the big guys up at the corporations can can figuratively plant worms or viruses in the users at any time without the knowing of the recipient
        For example someone might browse by a click bait that says company B is evil and think ” whatever” but when he chooses between A and B he chooses A because he saw so many campaigns against them even though he did not click one
        It was in the back of his brain
        so he spreads the word that company A was OK
        the next person knows that company A cant fail so he chooses A. But in the meantime company B was better over all
        the event above is normal advertisement
        social media adds a middle man and improves the potency of the technique by convincing you that your friends agree :shades:

        Reply
  5. 456Link

    I completely agree with you, though I managed to keep away before getting sucked in. I made a facebook account, spent ten minutes on it, and never got on again because of how stupid and vapid everything on there was. it felt like it was draining my energy away from me, and again, I was on there for ten minutes. good on you for trying to break out of it.

    Reply
  6. weatherly23

    Agreed. Stuff like that is why the only social media I actually use are Youtube and Deviantart. With YT, for the most part I stick to my subs, and with DA I mostly stick to my notifications. Anything more and I’d get absolutely nothing done.

    Reply
  7. ChaosSorceror_Davidicus

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve always avoided…. everything. I’m usually the last on the hype-train for anything. And in terms of social media… well… I’ve had every opportunity, and only got one within the last six months strictly because of the Facebook Messenger’s ability to bypass my lack of phone capabilities (ie: calls, messages), if not for that feature, I’d still likely not have one. I don’t even have a twitter or whatever else. I don’t really go to image search sites like 9gag or Tumbler, I just wait for things to be shown to me, by friends knowing my tastes. I don’t really use the facebook outside the rare remark or comment on something (usually under duress when someone tells me “oh hey I sent you a thing on facebook, have you seen it yet?” Odds are no, random person. I have not seen that thing you know I don’t check.) [The irony is literally after just typing that last sentence, I get that exact question "have you seen the thing I sentcha". How's that for timing?]
    I don’t usually watch E3, because they have a tendency to pad and fluff everything about it, and I just wanna see what games are going to be coming out to see if there’s something I’m interested in. Pretty much the only thing I “keep tabs on” is this site (and its discord) because I like EBF and wanna know what to expect.
    If I’m not faffing about on youtube (purposefully ignoring all the “hey this is trending, what it because others are and we think you are a sheep”), watching videos that entertain me, I’m probably playing some sort of video game, or getting homework done.

    A tad boring of a life, but it keeps me busy and makes me laugh (which is better than the alternative). So yeah.

    Reply
  8. ShadowsSun

    I’ve found community forums (fora?) and discord servers to be a far better place to do actual socialisation than social media platforms. Funny how things work out.

    Reply
  9. Ace Quasar

    I agree with you on how social media is pretty pointless. Well i guess it’s a good thing I never got into social media :smirk: With the exception of Deviant Art I guess (which I never use anyway)

    Reply
  10. EnderChain513

    I originally started out late on everything not using any social media but many people told me to get it so I decide to try it out… that was a mistake. I start using social media at night and wasting my hours of sleep. So I was like nope imma return to video games, and just stop social media. I don’t do anything important anyway.

    Reply
  11. Florrie

    Is it even fair to call it social media anymore? The moment “likes” were introduced, actual communication between people seemed to diminish drastically..

    It’s beyond nonsense that Twitter sorts by ‘something that seems like the like count but isn’t actually that and COULD just be by date-time’. I can see the use case for it, but /usually/ I want to read posts by date. Reddit does it decently — they’ve got a sorted-by dropdown that lets you select the sorting method (new, old, most votes, etc). (Admittedly I think it defaults to most votes, but I guess that’s probably the most fitting default for the type of site it is, and there’s always an easy-to-use option to switch it to some other way.)

    You can turn off seeing someone else’s retweets, but I don’t think that has an effect on whether you see the things they’ve liked or not. (And wouldn’t I want to be able to control those separately anyways?) And I think it’s a bit of a silly default/forced option – do I /really want/ to see the things other people have liked? Does it take that much to /ask/ me, Twitter..?

    Reply
  12. Brian151

    I absolutely agree!

    Shit, I’ve had personal experiences with being degraded for what I’ve said, besides which those experiences pushed me SO far over the edge that I said even worse stuff. Initially, my points weren’t even INTENDED to be offensive or hurtful… I know all too many other examples where this has happened, including famous people… especially famous people. Kudos for you for calling them all twats! They deserve it! IDK how it became socially acceptable to harass whoever you feel like for one tiny thing, but my faith in humanity has dropped seeing how rampant it’s become.

    p.s.
    You might enjoy a video by… well… SMOSH
    It’s called “This video is offensive”

    Reply
  13. Max

    I agree with your rant, I don’t even use much social media ’cause where I live, a lot of people in my high school (mostly girls) talk about nothing but Snapchat and it basically almost replaced actual texting by sendin’ selfies with weird-ass filters that made them look more “prettier”. :sick: I guess some social media were cool at some point but now people just ruined it… :bleh:

    Reply
  14. Devin de Vries

    Even when I was younger, I decided not to use social media, mostly because I didn’t like the ‘need’ to keep up with everything. The reasons to stay away from it have been adding up ever since.

    I think the reason sites like YouTube keep throwing all this crap at us is one of the following:
    -On these sites, even clickbaity and bad videos still get lots of views and likes thanks to mostly young children. Let’s face it: they’re a huge part of the YouTube audience and might not be as sceptical as we are. So maybe YouTube thinks it’s giving us quality content that’s still relatively popular and specific to our tastes. While in practice a lot of the stuff isn’t even enjoyable for older audiences.
    -They have completely given up on the task of deciding ‘quality’ and instead focus exclusively on the subjects of our watched videos. Basically the algorithm will give us stuff that sounds interesting to us, regardless of quality, to make us believe there is a lot of content we’ll want to watch. This subject matching will make it seem like YouTube has a lot to offer. Which it does, but not always for the better.

    Maybe YouTube should start using more age related analytics or something like that. And a lot of bigger sites might already be tracking what webpages we visit, so might as well use that. One way or another they need to put more effort into age groups other than children.

    Granted, we have the option to dislike a recommended video or channel, but what if we could track these disliked sources or even better: do this ourselves. I’m thinking of a Steam discovery Queue interface here, with options like “Exclude these channels” or “Exclude these video subjects”. Perhaps when excluding subjects, you should have the option to not filter out videos with these subjects completely, but never recommend anything based on THOSE traits. How manageable this will be with the amount of data here, we’ll see. But I’m sure YouTube could iterate on this.

    Well that’s my little rant. Luckily, the only ‘social’ apps I use are Whatsapp and Discord, so can’t really complain about that.

    Reply
  15. tanny

    I think this is OK. Don’t ever care too much. I want some websites which provides true database like Google.

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    4chan :?: Interesting you browse it haha. I guess it kinda makes sense in one of your early games in newgrounds there is a /m/ tag somewhere . Which boards you visit, I guess /v/ ? Have you seen how much praise the EBF series get everytime there is a flash games thread up :stars: ?

    Reply
  17. Chessy

    This sort of manipulation is why I never really got too big on social media in the first place. Most of my social life was on the GitP forums, then Skype, and now Discord. It’s nice to enjoy meaningful interactions with one another without having to worry about what happens behind the scenes in a server somewhere, even if you’re just sharing this funny meme you saw somewhere else.

    Reply
  18. DIOBrando

    When i read “10 reasons why Final Fantasy 7 is the worst one!”
    I was about to fucking suicide because of whoever made that video is a fucking moron,
    when FF7 is the best one obviously.

    Reply
  19. Grumpy Lover

    How this post would sound on FB;
    “WHY I HATE SOCIAL NETWORKS AND HOW IT WILL END THE WORLD! SHARE IF YOU AGREE! ALSO SOMETHING, SOMETHING, UNRELATED POLITICAL AGENDA”

    And then just an orgy of emojis.

    Reply
  20. Zero

    Let’s look at this from another perspective. What use was/is social media?
    The word itself says it. Social and Media. So it can be interpreted as a medium to communicate with other persons. I never actually signed on twitter, nor snapchat, nor did I use a facebook account for the sake of socialising (really hate games needing a FB acc), so I will report user experiences on those applications.
    Question: Are we using it to socialize with other persons?
    Answer: In my opinion, this might still be the case, just the kind of socializing has changed. What before was a way to keep in touch with friends over a long distance has become an oppurtinity to meet friends real quick and in a shallow way. It is shallow, because the conversation turned from “Hey, how’s he doing?” into “What do I do to look good for other people.” Also the once private conversation turned into open show of favoritism. Do you like cute cats? Maybe yes, but you don’t necessarly want everyone in the world to know that. The word “social” has become blurry in its definition, it no longer is “to chat with friends” but “to chat with people.”
    Heck, even the word friend changed in its definition. There’s a video from VSauce on that, I think, where he indicated, that the term friend got less appreciation over time, and we had to use the word “best friends.”
    This is the reason why the above comments promote discord, because you choose with whom you want to talk with. There is no like buttom, there is no gaugy unperceiveable socioty watching and judging every of your movements. We seem to be conscious of socioty when we post stuff on Facebook and Co. What many fail to realize is that we actually make up socioty, that we also are a part of socioty, and along with modernisation and globalisation everywhere, the clashes within socioty itself and between different socioties (talking about nations foremost, but even that might change in the future to what you believe in).
    I think it’s just important to notice the change and act according to how you want, not what you think others want you to do. If you keep caving in to the socioty, which in itself is faulty, as humans are faulty, then there would have never been change, there would have never been revolution.
    This is also why I think history is an underestimated and undervalued subject as school.

    Uhm, I think I’m derailing into nowhere, so I’ll just say that if you want to “overcome” your procrastination, then you have to trick yourself. Make a list of what is important to you, and then reverse the numbers, keep telling yourself that the top numbers are the most important. That way you at least get number 4 and 5 done on your list, and at least can do something. If you don’t want to, fine, I personally tried this, and it’s going ok.

    Rooting for you for eternity

    Zero

    Reply

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