Social media platforms suck. They're one of the worst additions to everyday life that has been universally adopted that I can think of in my lifetime. Other than a handful of utilities such as facilitating event organisation or instant messaging which could easily become dedicated services, these platforms cause much more harm than good on average.
One of the worst parts about social media is that it has become the social standard to have and heavily utilise it. Since permanently deleting my accounts over a year ago, I find it challenging sometimes to do basic things like RSVP to an event, contact someone consistently (since they only check their Facebook Messenger) or sign up for a new service that only provides login and registration via Facebook and/or other social providers. People get confused when you tell them you don't have a Facebook or Instagram account and seem to get genuinely concerned about your mental health and the safety of the people you share a house with when you tell them you don't plan on having one any time soon. I once deleted a friend of a friend during a routine tidy-up (I kept my connections extremely limited to coworkers and family) because I didn't really know them (they originally connected with me and I was being polite at the time) and their reaction was straight up abuse, going as far as to question whether I was "all there" for deleting them for "no reason". That interaction was definitely eye-opening for me at least.
Here's a few other high level reasons I have such a problem with social media:
- Heavy usage dilutes your own personality, opinions and perspective significantly. I see this a lot. It's very easy to pick your side of an argument based on the side that is more popular rather than the one you actually believe in, since you can earn some quick thumbs up on your witty comment and move on with minimal conflict or anxiety about potentially being wrong. When you do this often, you're adjusting your perspective so much that you end up in a position where you don't even really know where you stand on issues or what your own true opinion is. You also build a pattern of default taking the side with the larger pool of people behind it, which often is probably just a snowball effect from the first 3 people that were part of that discussion rather than an indication that the larger side is actually right.
- People can say what they want without fear of retribution, any context or even any actual knowledge about the subject at all. Parenting groups in particular are something I've been a third party to where I've seen this a lot. Large parts of the content is other parents (or are they, really?) leaving borderline abusive feedback on legitimate questions from completely new parents trying to make their way through the first extremely challenging and scary months of how to keep a tiny human from suffocating in their sleep, freezing or overheating to death, starving to death, crawling down the stairs and breaking their neck, choking on toys, hanging themselves with curtain strings, sticking their fingers in electrical sockets and so on. If you want to know if a particular type of swing is a good choice for your newborn, you best be ready to hear about how my nephew DIED in one of those swings last year and to only buy the most expensive brand possible otherwise you're a monster and should face prison time, through to how you're a total fucking imbecile for paying for a swing at all and should simply scan Facebook Marketplace for a free one and just use some tea tree oil and a shotgun to blast the mould and shit stains out.
- It's literally an aggregate of everyone's best moments. It makes your life seem dull and empty by comparison no matter how well off or fortunate you are. It's very easy to feel like you're not going on enough holidays, not buying nice enough cars or not paying a mortgage on a large enough house. Your wife isn't attractive enough and your kids aren't smart or athletic enough. Your 4 burner out the back should actually be a 6 burner and your rump steaks from Coles in the fridge that you were planning to throw on your shitty inferior 4 burner later should get thrown out and replaced with premium grade organic gluten-free grass-fed eye-fillet direct from the farm. The beers you bought are nowhere near as good as these amazing IPAs from the local craft brewery that is 75km away from your non-trendy semi-rural town. Your life is never going to be as good as your feed makes it seem like it should be and although I'm sure people understand this, at least at the onset of using social media, reality escapes them slowly as their usage increases, becomes more consistent and spans years and decades.
- It's easy to get addicted and hard to step away from once you are. Nothing irritates me more than someone unlocking their phone mid-conversation because someone commented on one of their posts and then instantly going into social media autopilot. I've actually had situations where I've been having a meal with someone and they disappear into the mental ether for 5-10 minutes without realising because they were hooked into their phone by a simple comment on something they had posted earlier that day.
- It makes people terrible communicators. Conversations are sequences of a couple of words or a sentence or two max. People have unlimited time to come back to a thread and continue once they have picked the perfect iteration of what they wanted to say in response to the last thing. Everything is highly curated and far from what the first thing they might have said in a real conversation would have been. People slowly lose the ability to respond in real-world conversations in a way that doesn't imply they suffer from some kind of mental disability.
- It's used to manipulate, misinform and redirect attention of people at scale. Basically like religion. It's easy to get large amounts of the population to see something in a certain light or invest energy into activities or topics they wouldn't normally care about, since what people in the social media world care about is whatever everyone else cares about. Once you get the snowball rolling you can literally make people follow whatever trend you want.
- It's just a waste of time. Who fucking cares about what someone you went to school with over a decade ago is cooking for dinner tonight or that they recently bought a yacht. Why are you watching random people you've never met walk their dog and buy garbage from Kmart? How does knowing every disgusting detail about the people who overshare positively affect your life? Why are you investing hours and hours each day scrolling through completely uninformative useless drivel about people you'll probably never interact with either again or ever at all? Doing literally almost anything else is a better use of your time. I don't even see how it provides entertainment value (e.g. like a pointless but amusing YouTube video would at least do) since for the most part it's just invoking the point above where you end up feeling like your life sucks because your ex-friend from high-school got engaged while you're still throwing your poorly maintained body at Tinder on a weekly rotation.
I can go on but you get the idea. Social media is trash and you should stop using it. It doesn't make your life meaningfully better in any way. It has many negative traits that can cause serious problems within yourself and between yourself and the people around you. If you need to fill a space waiting for the train or while you wait for someone to go to the bathroom, play fucking Candy Crush or read a blog post about one of your hobbies (e.g. for me it might be a post about music theory or weight training). Like I said - literally anything else.