When I was chatting to my 19-year old sister a few days ago she told me some things that made me laugh. Apparently, when she was 10 years old she started a Facebook account, which was hacked when she was 11 and the access to which she lost along with the associated email address. She suspects her two friends from primary school of this crime but seeing that they never admitted it, she was helpless.
Now, she’s being hunted by the old online profile with her name on it as it includes “ugly pictures of her as a child” and “some emo content”. She claims that “it’s ruining her life” and that “she definitely has to do something about it before she becomes any kind of a public person”. As amusing a dramatic rant of a teenage girl may sound, the fun part of the story finishes here.
She’s been reporting the issue to Facebook for years and the company doesn’t see the profile as a violation of its terms. At least, the hackers didn’t add any additional content. But what if they did? And what if the account included more than just “emo content”? What if it was an account of an adult and the hackers continued to impersonate them? Hacking isn’t uncommon and I think anyone would agree that it’s important to monitor what’s posted online with our name on it.
There are many more considerations with social media: like the fact that you can say something without putting much thought into it and be shamed online just like the some of the people whose stories have been described in “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed“. In other words, you never know what may ruin your chances when you decide to run for the president!
Another consideration is the waste of your precious lifetime spent scrolling through your feed on Instagram and Facebook looking at pictures of people you don’t care much about (because let’s be honest, you know what’s up with people who are actually your friends). Let’s also not forget the FOMO you can get when you see you haven’t been invited somewhere, while without smiley pics on FB you would never know that you were socially excluded.
Last but not least, social media add a problematic spin on dating. First of all, you need to consider the question whether you should invite someone you’ve seen for a date or two on social media. If they’ve invited you, you need to decide whether accept the invitation or not. It all can be awkward, because let’s be honest, you’re unlikely to become “friends” if you don’t end up dating so not accepting them is sending a certain message.
Once you’re actually dating and friends on Facebook, you have to decide whether you’d like to become Facebook official. All these problems could not be a thing, if you could simply say “I’m not on Facebook”.
Is it even possible, however, to survive these days without being on social media? According to a computer scientist, Dr. Cal Newport you can and he tells you why it’s a good idea in his TED talk “Why You Should Quit Social Media“. I may not agree with all his arguments but I see some merit in what he says.
In fact, I deleted my Facebook account last year because I was just wasting too much time on it. I kept my Instagram but it’s related to my passion project as it’s linked to my new blog magdacpt.com.
Am I surviving? Yes. Many people have pointed out to me that I may be missing out on some events because people can’t find me on Facebook. I’ll tell you a secret, though. People who actually want me there have my number or will find a way of contacting me just like a guy who wants to see you will find a way to ask you out and not just be all talk, no action 😉
I really struggled to minimise my screen time and now I have much more time so it works for me. If you don’t have this problem and you’re not up for deleting your social media profiles than remember to treat them like your frenemies. As long as you know that they’re not really your friends but you can see some benefits of hanging out with them, keep doing it cautiously.
Do you use or abuse social media? Do they add value to your life? Do any of the considerations I’ve mentioned matter to you? Let’s chat!