Maintaining privacy in the digital age can be a tricky thing with everyone having a camera phone on them, wanting to let friends know they're having a good time or share moments of joy but in order to maintain some semblance of a normal life, it can sometimes be beneficial for your own well-being if you quit social media altogether.
While most people will scoff at the idea, those who disconnect from social media have found themselves feeling much happier. And that shouldn't be surprising. In the words of Silicon Valley giant Jaron Lanier, social media companies have become ‘unethical, cruel, dangerous and inhumane’ so here are 10 reasons why you should delete your social media accounts and focus on enjoying the outside world instead of simply taking pictures of it.
1. You are giving your life to a powerful group of companies
Earlier this year, the Cambridge Analytica scandal saw Facebook's shares plummet, and for good reason. As you may or may not know, Mark Zuckerberg's company sold private data to arriviste data analysts who used our information for political and financial gain, which is beyond disturbing.
This kind of behavior modification continues to be a lucrative business for companies, and with billions of people now storing their information with a select group of companies, we are susceptible to being unconsciously brainwashed into reading certain articles and buying certain products we wouldn't otherwise have wanted had these companies not had our data.
2. Social media is a perfect illustration of modern-day technology gone bad
You only have to watch a riveting episode of Netflix's groundbreaking series Black Mirror to realize that technology has become increasingly toxic. The dystopian drama has hit a chord with viewers because it taps into our innate fears that our dependency on social media is a problem rather than a harmless addiction.
Not only are we allowing these powerful companies to store our information on mass numbers of ‘cloud’ computers, but we are also becoming pawns in the business minds of tech wizards who continue to profit off a model that incentivizes us to alter our behavior and give out all our information. Why else would Facebook care so much about the number of Buzzfeed quizzes we take? Or what shows and clothing brands we like?
Money, that's why!
3. Social media brings out the worst in us
Is there anything more narcissistic than Instagram? Probably not. Most only use the photo-sharing platform to impress others and claw back some much-needed self-worth after scrolling through countless profiles of beautiful and successful people.
Still, we buy into this false narrative and attempt to have our egos stroked everytime we capture that Insta-worthy holiday snap or light-perfect selfie that Cara Delevigne would be proud of. Of course, Instagram being shallow is nothing new. Before that, Facebook was the way to have our esteem boosted. Go further back, and there were MySpace and Bebo. Different platforms, but the concept was the same; the attain quasi-levels of fame and attention.
4. Social media is making us a generation of fakes
Social media has become a distortion of reality, so much so that pubs, restaurants, and bars have taken to designing their establishments in a more Insta-friendly way so young people will feel more inclined to visit. And the same goes for likes and followers. While you may think that the product you bought had stellar reviews, most of those reviews were probably purchased from a shady marketing company. The same goes with follower counts.
It's all a big lie, and in recent years, a proliferation of fake news accounts has also undermined traditional media sources. So log off and don't let yourself be gobbled up by social media's inherent insincerity.
5. Social media make us less aware of the outside world
Social media messes with our eyes. In many ways, we are incapable of experiencing a happy occasion without using our phone to capture the moment or tell everyone on Instagram about it. This is a great shame. Life isn't long. And to record all of it merely to prove to others you are having a good time is nothing short of mad. Sure, we all want to feel loved, but these trivial desires don't need to be attained through the approval of social media.
With a loving group of friends and family, you can still feel the rush of admiration without having to upload needless selfies.
6. Social media distracts you from actually making a difference
Okay, this isn't entirely true. Social media has been the force of change for some socio-political issues, including the Arab Spring, which was engineered mostly through secret Facebook groups. However, while the number of petitions we sign and articles we share is all well and good, there's no substitute for getting off your bum and doing something about the issues you feel strongly about.
After all, countless charities need volunteer workers so don't become another keyboard justice warrior. Do something about it!
7. Social media isn't making you happy
Social media is a rat race that sees us competing within our social circles for the accolade of looking better in photos or driving a nicer car. These are all shallow ways to celebrate life, yet consciously or unconsciously, we are valuing these things more than ever before.
But it's only human to wonder why your friend has 10,000 followers and you have 200. Or why your friend is visiting more places in the world than you are. Social media has long been terrible of this and can be responsible for much of the anxiety and depression young people feel.
8. Social media promotes a high school mentality
If social media were manifestations of people, they'd probably be comprised of the Regina Georges of this world. In other words, Instagram, Facebook, and its ilk promote a vacuous, high school mentality that stays with us well into adulthood as we are constantly trying to win approval from people we'd like to think care about us.
So break free from this metaphorical stranglehold and don't let the opinions of others influence how you see yourself!
9. Social media discourages freethought
As we have discussed in great detail, social media companies have no qualms about selling our data to all kinds of companies intent on exploiting our details and turning them into sizeable profits. You may even think you're well-informed and educated because you read an array of articles on your newsfeed, but many of these, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal proved, are phony news sites masquerading as credible news organizations.
While we are not saying you are gullible enough to believe everything you read, social media has been known to promote a variety of fake news websites, which is just another example of how online companies use our data for their own needs rather than ours.
10. Social media doesn't care about you
Social media companies are platforms that aim to collect millions- if not billions- of peoples' data and use it for their own gain. How else do you think they make their money?
This dangerous, unethical framework allows the likes of Google and Facebook to have unprecedented corporate and political powers the likes of which have never been seen before.
So next time your scrolling aimlessly through your Instagram feed of A-list models, trendy influencers and your friend's pretending to have fun in their Instagram stories, ask yourself if you want to live the next 10 years of your life doing the same thing every day? If that thought scares you, then you have your answer.