I Hate Social Media

It makes me uncomfortable, and, to be frank, it pisses me off.

Now you might wonder why. Social media is such an integral part of my generation’s social life, after all, and essential to being successful in just about any creative or marketing-related field nowadays.

Fine. I accept that. But I don’t have to like it.

Here’s a simple list of ten things I hate about Social Media.

1. It’s highly addictive.

2. It is strongly linked to depression in teens.

3. It perpetuates ignorance, false information, and hysteria.

4. It decreases demand for and interest in traditional media forms.

5. Teens spend more time interacting with friends online than in person.

6. People curate and manufacture posts to create a false image of perfection.

7. It’s contributing to the degradation of language, professionalism, and politeness.

8. It’s changing business, destroying individual connections that breed loyalty and trust.

9. Lack of regulation and legislation render it a breeding ground for crime and harassment.

10. It functions on the fundamentally flawed premise that everyone else cares about your life.

I feel weird posting things on Facebook or Instagram.

Why would anyone care about what I do? It feels extraordinarily self-aggrandizing to assume that random acquaintances would want to hear about my day or see my vacation pictures. If you’re important to me, you’ll probably hear about it anyway. I also don’t like the idea of everyone I know having the option to see and judge what I’m putting up. Let’s be honest, social media is about judging others, comparing yourself to them, and receiving validation.

Learning to Live With It

Now, I’m starting to accept that there are some benefits to social media.

As a poor, isolated college student, I no longer receive The Washington Post daily to my home. This caused me to fall very behind on current events my freshman year. Realizing that various reputable news sources, interest groups, and well-informed individuals of my acquaintance are constantly posting noteworthy items on social media websites allowed me to tap back in to the pulse of world news. Mutual-interest groups — from Freethought to cat lovers to a chronic illness support group — have also improved my attitude towards social media. They remove much of the self-important feel of networking sites.

Business is Business

I don’t like to tell people my strengths, to advocate for myself, or to do things that risk rejection. Even in a traditional business model, these character traits would have made my career track a more difficult one. But as a loosely-defined creative type, these traits could be fatal. With interest and experience in photography, music, digital art and design, and who knows what else, I need a strong social media presence in order to be successful.

My best friend is a parkour athlete, and he’s not what anyone would call shy. He’s one of the most confident, self-possessed individuals I’ve ever known (and a bit of a show-off, too). With nearly 3,000 YouTube subscribers and over 43,000 hits on his most popular solo video (his ongoing collaboration with a filmmaker has reached over a million), he’s doing pretty well for himself. He’s always getting on my case about building a stronger media presence for myself as both a vocalist and photographer.

I have one unattractively-filmed YouTube video, and have just recently started (slowly) posting my enormous backlog of portfolio-worthy photographs to Instagram. Beyond my discomfort with the premise of social media, I also don’t like people that I know to be able to see what I’m up to professionally/creatively. It’s one thing to post anonymously and have strangers appreciate (or not) what you’re doing, but it’s embarrassing to have to see those people ever again. I have a barely-begun Behance page and a recently updated LinkedIn.

I’m working on bringing myself into the age of mass-media marketing. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, but it is necessary.

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