Why people are choosing to quit social media | BBC Ideas

Why people are choosing to quit social media | BBC Ideas


I’m not sure that other people
on the Tube would be happy, but I look at other people more. I like to observe, have a look at what someone’s
wearing, you know, imagine what sort
of person they would be. Just try and live
in the moment a bit more. That’s right. No Facebook, no
Twitter. No Instagram, no WhatsApp. What triggered it was a break up. I think when something
like that happens, you need to just let someone
die a social media death and just remove them from your life. And then I realised that actually they
weren’t that useful to me anyway. So I just went the whole hog and didn’t bother
using them ever again . The point about social media
is the addictiveness. Nobody really wants to spend
hours and hours every day updating their status and seeing
what other people think about them. Nobody consciously wants to do that, but those behaviours are themselves
addictive behaviours. Once you’re trapped in that loop
it’s very hard to break out. It’s not that we want to go back
to some idyllic past – an Eden before the machines existed. It’s that we need to take
control of these machines and use them for their proper ends. The bad thing is that
you think people’s lives are much more fun than your own life. When I’m the bus, I just see people
like zombies and I’m like, “Alright, it’s a sunny
day. There is something to see, not only your phone.” I like to be present when I share
something about myself with someone, so I can get their feedback
and either stop right there or tell them the story behind it,
or give context. Sometimes I might withhold a certain
opinion rather than being rapid fire, because maybe it requires
a bit of nuance. And maybe the best thing is not for
me to just shoot my mouth off online because some headline
made me angry. The thing is, the world is real,
whether we want to believe it or not, and it’s really important
for us to have a sense of where we are in that world. I don’t like to use the term social
media, at the end of the day, because it implies that it’s designed
to promote social behaviours when usually it’s designed to promote the amount of attention
that we’re giving it. In order to grab our attention –
because there’s so much competition – design has to appeal
to the lower parts of us, to the non-rational, automatic,
impulsive parts of us. And so this is why we
get things like clickbait, like sensationalism –
things that appeal to our outrage. And there’s a whole industry
of consultants, of psychologists who are helping designers really
punch the right buttons in our brains so that we do keep
coming back for more and we do stay hooked
on the products. At the end of the day,
they’re advertising systems, not really social platforms. Some of them take social media
breaks quite a lot anyway, so it’s not like I’m doing something
that’s particularly divergent, but they think it’s a good thing. I think they realise, we all realise,
that we look at memes too much, we use Instagram too much. It’s just whether we realise that
and do something about it. There are things that
give us instant pleasure and they’re like the more
gluttonous things like food and sex and stuff like that, and they give us
a really high spike of pleasure. But the things that are
the most worthwhile are the things that
you spend a lot of time on. So playing the piano
is not pleasant to begin with but you get a much more
steady wave of satisfaction. So it does matter, because the
pleasures that are sometimes the most time-consuming or
the ones that take the most work can be the ones that
are the most fulfilling. Those are the pleasures
that are self-actualizing, that help you realise a part
of yourself that you didn’t have. I’m on it probably every day,
just to be nosy. I’m sure I could live without it.
We did before, didn’t we?

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