Is it time to take a social media fast? Social media runs everything these days. It can be helpful (but you can use local sites to find lost pets and post jobs). Other than that, is social media really of much help? Let’s find out. And if you decide to keep it, then learn how to use it discerningly. And get back your life – and your freedom!
You don’t need social media. You existed, before it did. People used to get angry about social media, now it’s more just boredom. How many selfies can people take? How many Youtube videos say ‘Welcome to my channel?’ It’s boring. The main reason to get off social media is because it’s boring!
Say No to Social Media is for anyone who is falling prey to the mindless scroll or is familiar with FOMO (fear of missing out). Is the pressure of likes, follows and notifications getting you down? Although social media is a big part of modern life, using it can often leave us feeling drained, unfocused and unhappy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this book, you have all you need to get back in the driving seat. With 100 practical tips to help you switch off, you’ll find it easy to take the first steps, towards a happier online life.
You may think you’re in control, but Facebook is tracking you every step of the way, so they can find out what you like, and try to sell more of it to you. Ethica has a good post on deleting Facebook and tracking.
Facebook is pretty scary on privacy grounds, you are tracked doing most anything. Someone is always watching you here to see what can be sold to you. And there are all kinds of horror stories ((suicides, murders, stalkers, hate speech) which nobody seems to have the powers to stop.
You may know Sacha Cohen Baron as his comedy alter-ego Ali G. He became known in the US when he tried to dupe the (then Apprentice host Donald Trump) into investing in his ‘ice-cream gloves that let you eat ice-cream, without your hands going sticky’. Donald did indeed smell a rat, and declined.
In real life, Sacha is a Jewish Cambridge history scholar, who gave this talk on the dangers of Facebook. He says taking ads from anyone in the name of ‘free speech’ means it would have taken money from Hitler for ‘the final solution’, if the price had been right.
- Pinterest. This is more a visual search engine than social media, but can waste thousands of hours for people comparing their imperfect lives to others. Some say it’s good for business, but recent changes (to encourage more ads – how they make money) means unless you spend huge amounts of time here, it’s not worth it.
- Twitter was founded by two friends. A good idea in theory to tweet 140 words of importance from journalists and campaigners, now the platform is more about selfies, bullying, nastiness and gossip. And people telling you what they had for lunch. You can’t sign up without your phone number (they said numbers were safe, then accidentally sold them to ad companies).
- LinkedIn is pretty boring, a good reason for leaving. This is like those ‘networking lunches’, wheere it’s who (not what) you know. Follow your own path, don’t sell your soul to get followers. Just pick up the phone and network that way.
- Instagram is used to share pictures. It’s now been hijacked by ‘influencers’ who take endless selfies, assuming people don’t have things better to do, than look at them. It’s owned by Facebook, a good reason for leaving.
Alternatives to Conventional Social Media
If you can’t go through life without social media, how about meeting people in person? Or use a telephone (landline is good, just sit on the sofa and chat to a friend). You could start a little blog and communicate that way. If you want concrete alternatives, there are a few to choose from:
- Mighty Networks is a social network to create an ad-free Passion Economy, bringing together millions of likeminded people to connect (free basic version). One sign-up is eco-magazine Pebble that jumped ship from Facebook and Instagram to launch Ripples platform for people and businesses to connect on sustainability issues.
- Next Door is free to set up, just set a local boundary for your area, and people can join or not. You can list lost pets, when there’s a party, ask people not to let off fireworks, post jobs and volunteer opportunities, tell people of a lovely view or anything you like.
- Vero is like Facebook, but without the ads. Named after the Italian word for truth, this is on subscription so pays for itself, with no need for ads to track you or sell you stuff. It has no no algorithms so doesn’t ‘read you’ and no data-mining (you control who sees what).
- MeWe is a social network built on trust. It has no ads, no spyware and your private life is not for sale. You own content and control interactions and design your level of privacy. The company does not share or sell info, and there is no targeting or newsfeed manipulations.