17 Jun My Possible Exit From Social Media—And The Reason For it
First things first, I’m not sure if I will exit social media, or when I will, but it is definitely on my list, and has been on my mind of late, and there are some pressing reasons for it. This post is about that.
Some time ago, I wrote about how social media became suffocating in a decade. Even then, I did not fully expand on or grasp the extent of it. It was a map of the journey of social media in the last decade.
Only now could I piece it all together. Social media is driven by one and one thing alone, aujourd’hui: attention need. It is nothing more than a deep seated, unconscious hunger for attention. Nothing else.
Yes, we humans delude ourselves that we are there to “make a difference,” to “raise awareness,” to make “our voices heard” and so on and so forth. Maybe you are doing that. Maybe you are not. But I am not talking about what you are doing. I am talking about what is the thing driving you forward. And that “thing” is attention need.
I scanned the whole space: left wing, right wing, no wing. There are people with a clear agenda, no doubts there. Political mouthpieces, corrupt personas. They are the ones who feed on your attention need. And there are people there who just like to watch what everyone else is doing and saying—the silent bystanders. But the big chunk, big bulk is there for attention need. Everyone wants to be noticed, to be heard, to be addressed, to get credit, to get “fans,” to get popular, to get a bigger public image, to be celebrated. blah blah blah.
The majority in any sphere decides what the environment will be like, and what it will push you towards. If a big percentage of people in a certain place, space or sphere are driven by some pattern, feeling, incompletion, then that platform becomes a system for injecting the same pattern, incompletion, feeling in everyone who uses it. In the case of social media, it is attention need. A counter example is Hindu temples, which are designed to put you in an enlightenment space. The collective consciousness matters. There will definitely be times when you will not be in your most “aware” frame of mind, and those same foggy ideas of attention need will get replicated inside you, without your realizing it. This can’t entirely be checked by not being “active” on social media alone. Even if you are not actively using it, it is actively using you if it is still on your mind.
This is what I discovered from contemplating on why I am sick of social media, why it makes me sick, why brief hiatuses from social media don’t seem to solve the problem, and why I envy people who are just not on social media. They seem to have better, more peaceful, quieter lives. Maybe less happening lives. Probably less disruptive too. I have had trouble finishing my book—a gripping book—for the last 2 months, and this is absolutely scandalous for me. I am a voracious reader who can read a book in 2-3 days, if I really love it. It has been really agonizing for me that I am not able to finish it. And while social media doesn’t take the entire blame for it, it does take a good part of it, because it seems to feature in every problem I currently have in life.
The reason why it is so difficult to take an exit from social media is because it is also a marketing machine. In fact, Facebook sees to it that if you want to do anything measurable on Facebook, you are either consumed by the virus of attention need permeating it, or you pump money into it to make your pages get traction (if you use Facebook only as your page, not your profile, to cut down on the distractions). You will be caught in either of the two webs. And if you are someone on your own, an entrepreneur of some sort, it is tough to stay out of both.
I don’t have a solution. I don’t know what is the exact solution. But I do think I have been able to identify the serious issue with social media, atleast for my own self. The obvious solution, ofcourse, is to take an exit. But, as said before, if only it were that simple.