Social media is not the problem. Your curation is.
Social media has become the adversary we love to hate over the past few years. Ever since the debacle in the 2016 US elections, it’s become the regular object of attacks by every writer, journalist, media personality – usually expressing their public disdain for it… on social media. Documentaries like “The Social Dilemma” and dozens of less popular ones are probably some of the most discussed topics lately… on social media. Doom and gloom over the brainwashing, influencing, manipulations, sinister motives have become the accepted truths. And I think it’s all bullshit.
But… Let me explain.
First of all – social media giants are not nearly as good at targeting us with ads as they are portrayed to be. One can even speculate that they themselves want to be portrayed as these super-efficient, mind-controlling geniuses, to attract further advertising money. If you disagree with me, please let me know how many ads that you’ve seen today can you recall? How many did you click on? How many advertised items did you purchase? You see, not as efficient as they’d like us to believe.
Another favourite point of blame for social media has been the quality of the content. Too much politics, arguing, trolling, offensive language, tensions, low-quality posts, repetitiveness, fakes, fakes, fakes… True. Opening Facebook is almost a sure way to raise your blood pressure after partaking in a dozen arguments over politics, vaccines, masks, and just basic things – like round or flat earth. Twitter’s nickname is “toxic cesspool”. Your Instagram feed is flooded with fake influencers, with fake looks, doing fake things, in fake surroundings. And all of that is your own fault! No, seriously – it’s your fault. Who decides what you see in your social feed? Who picks who you will follow? Who decides who you respond to? You? Oh, well… whose fault is it then?
Social media curation
The problem with social media is our own curation. We enjoy watching train wrecks, we can’t take our eyes away from a car accident, we laugh at other people’s mistakes. We like arguing with people, proving our point, winning the fight. We intentionally engage with accounts, people, pages that make our blood boil, just so we can feel superior to them in every aspect. It doesn’t have to be that way.
There are millions of Facebook pages and billions of accounts. There are over a billion Instagram accounts. There are hundreds of millions of Twitter accounts. Among them, there are thousands that are not political. Thousands that are not argumentative. Not aggressive or trolling. There are many that we may disagree with but are still capable of expressing their views in a reasonable and respectful manner. Topics that attract meaningful discussion, instead of the dick-measuring contests that we are used to seeing all the time. Even more – there are thousands of Facebook accounts that talk about philosophy, music, books, movies, business ideas. Thousands of Instagram accounts that showcase beautiful art and high-quality photographers from all over the world. Twitter accounts that are inspirational, motivating, informative. It’s up to you who you are going to follow. It’s up to you how you’ll engage with others. It’s definitely up to you what you will post on your own feed.
Not only you can choose who you follow, what you see, what you post, and who you engage with, but you can also choose who can follow you, who will see your content, and who will engage with you. It’s in your hands. Facebook gives you the ability to pick and choose very narrowly (so does Instagram to an extent). If you don’t want negativity – don’t choose it. If someone you didn’t suspect turns out to be a troll and irritates you – ban them, it will bring you inexplicable joy, believe me.
Not about social media at all
This is not a social media phenomenon at all. The same issue exists in every aspect of our lives. We all have that colleague at work that we constantly disagree with, yet, we continue to communicate with them, trying to prove ourselves right and them wrong. Why not talk to that other colleague with whom you have great conversations and mutual respect? Why do we tolerate extended family members who are on the complete opposite political spectrum and annoy the fuck out of us every time? Stop inviting them over. Your time is too valuable to be spent on people you don’t like, engaged in conversations that drain you emotionally. Why do you still hang out with that childhood friend that you have had nothing in common with for over 20 years? Every hour you spend with them is an hour you are not spending with someone new that may be a far better match for you. Why do we spend years in relationships that don’t work, just because we’ve invested so much in them already? Isn’t it better to cut the cord and be free to pursue new relationships that are more fulfilling?
You see… the problem is not the world around us. The problem is our curation of it. We accept our reality as something given and unalterable. Friends are there because they are friends and they are there. Not because we like them, choose them, crave time with them. Partners are there because it is what it is, instead of being what it should be. Work is shit, but Friday is just around the corner and this is a long weekend, so yay. We let life happen to us, instead of choosing what it will be and where it will lead us. We are so afraid of changes, that we prefer the unfunctional, unhappy, unfulfilling status quo, to the risk of the unknown. We take what we are given, we don’t spend time curating our life experience, we often don’t even realize that we can curate it.
Social media is no different. Take the reigns today. Curate your social media. Choose what you feed your mind with. Maybe it will lead you to a better curation of your life as well.