Are comments a cure to social media addiction?
When you talk about time spent on social media, a recurring subject is how that time we spent on it would be the result of an addiction. If you dig a bit, it would be an addiction to the notifications, the effect they have on us, the anticipation they provoke, and how we keep on returning to it at each notification because most of the time, the result of that anticipation falls short compared to our expectations. (see this article on The Independent)
I confess I am not a psychologist and I relay on articles such as the one mentioned above, and on people who know quite a bit more about it than me to study the subject. This article was just summarizing what I read numerous time, or heard from people like Simon Sinek, over the last years.
Although, more and more often I refrain from posting, commenting or even answering because I do not want to be bothered by these social media notifications. I’m still quite happy when I see positive reactions to some of my posts on my various channels (such as this one), or when I receive the notification of a text from someone close to my heart, but most of the notifications have become an unbearable noise to me.
I barely post anything on Twitter when I used to spend my life on it. I post far less often on Facebook, comment way less on friends posts and when I do I turn off notifications on the post (thank you Facebook for this awesome feature). Even on Instagram that remains my preferred social network, notifications are turned off and I only check from time to time to see if my last post received likes and or comments.
Have I reached a point where I have been so many time disappointed by the outcome of these notifications, that they don’t even trigger anymore the hope the next one will be better? I would have won over my addiction by overdose of unfulfilled expectations?
Has the social content become so poor? Or the comment quality become so unbearably low that it cured me from that addiction?
On the content part I guess this is still a matter of you decide to follow and what content they propose and I still find my good share of valuable and interesting content in my different feeds. I pay attention not to remain in my bubble and still have enough variety in my feed to be exposed to different opinions.
But the comments are a totally different story: you can find violent or harsh comments on pretty much every subject, anger everywhere, blatant racism and conspiracy theory on every single subject. Social media expression has become a zero filter zone, waving the banner of freedom of speech, people feel free to regurgitate to most nauseous theories and opinions.
I do understand why some news sites have disabled the comments on some article, and do not understand why some keep them on, with a special sarcastic thumbs-up to a certain Belgian press that turns them on and off depending on the subject but never off when it will generate racist comments.
This is probably what is curing me from my social media addiction the non-filtered hatred on the comments, the total lack of moderation on so many news web sites or Facebook page, because the clicks give media impression and media impression is money. And every time you will get the same excuse: “we respect the opinion of everyone”. Well I got news for you, what you have to respect is the right of anybody to have an opinion, not the opinion in itself. If an “opinion” is racism or hate, it should not be tolerated.
We have to be reminded that, no, we can’t say everything we like, just because we feel like it. In some countries, and most European countries, racism and call to hate are punishable by law, plain and simple. We have to reset some boundaries on the public space, we can’t accept it to be the norm, and it does begin by moderation by the news outlet, and yes by ourselves too on our own timelines.