A Life Wasted

So I’ve decided to take a bit of a complete social media break. I’ve already had my Facebook account deactivated a while, and through December I’d been taking time away from Twitter. For January, I decided to add Instagram into the mix. I knew this was going to be a tough last step, as, being a a photographer, Instagram is the one I enjoy using the most (even despite my various gripes with the platform that I’ve blogged about recently). Essentially off social media entirely now (at least the platforms that dominated my time), I’ve come to some conclusions already in just the first handful of days…

  1. I wasted more time than I thought on social media! It’s amazing how many times I’ll pick up my phone/tablet, or login to my PC, etc., only to then discover I don’t know what I really want to do, why I got online in the first place. If it’s later in the day, especially, I’ve already gone through all my news sites, so there’s not much I have to catch up on there. That’s when I’d realize that most of the time in the past, I’d get online and just start checking Instagam, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

  2. We use our phones mostly for social media. The smartphone is truly a wonderful tool, and allows us to do a lot. What I’ve been finding, though, is that - related to #1 above - oft times we pull those things out of our pocket to just mindlessly scroll through social media whenever we’re bored. Now that I’m not using those apps all the time, once I’ve caught up on news, there’s not often a lot of use for it. As such, my battery life has skyrocketed, as I don’t have apps open, draining the battery, all the time anymore.

  3. These social media platforms truly are addicting. It’s amazing how often I have that impulse to open one of those apps/sites to start browsing, post a picture or my opinion about some nonsense, etc. It’s like a crack addict reaching for that pipe, but it’s no longer there….

Will I stay off all social media long term? I don’t know yet. Probably not. However, I definitely plan on curtailing my use and how I use it. I’m not sure what my path forward with Twitter is… I got back on for a couple days as December closed out, and I was taken aback at how negative the environment is there. It was nothing different than it’s always been, but having been away from it for a month, I really noticed it now. I promptly got back off, as I just didn’t find it enjoyable now. Maybe I’m done with it; I don’t know. Either that, or perhaps I just need to change whom I follow to craft a more positive, uplifting experience there. Being that it’s really just a time waster, though, I’m not sure if it’s really worth that effort.

I recently got back on Facebook just briefly for the sole purpose of deleting all my past content on there. The reasons for that are beyond the scope of this post, but just let me tell you, it was a real eye opener, seeing how much crap I’ve posted on there over the years. The first year or two weren’t bad, and the last couple years weren’t too bad, as I deactivated for long periods during them, but those middle years…. Thousands upon thousands of status updates, comments, likes, etc. - it was insane! I had an automated script plugin doing a lot of the deletions for me, just leaving me to do manual clean-up on what it couldn’t catch, and it still took me about NINE days to delete it all! Just think about all that time I must have been wasting on it over the years! I think I’m pretty much done for good on that platform now. The only reason I deactivate instead of doing a full delete is so that I can keep my FB Messenger contacts, as that’s my only (or at last most convenient) contact point for some people.



If you click on the image above, you’ll be taken to an article by The Guardian, entitled “How Instagram hides behind Facebook – and rakes in billions”. I encourage you to go read it. Instagram has been given a free pass for a long time, credited as being so different from its parent company, Facebook. However, since FB has been taking a more active role in the management, the changes to the app have been very noticeable. For one, and perhaps the most annoying, is how FB applied its feed algorithms to the Instagram timeline, so now, like on Facebook, you don’t see posts in your feed in simple reverse chronological order, but instead based on what FB think you should see, what they deem to be most popular and right for you. I have IG friends that I used to see posts from and interact with often now just completely absent from my feed; I have to go specifically visit their page to see their most recent content. To borrow a phrase from the Brits, that’s complete bollocks!

And then there’s this little gem:

”Few people, however, realize that 20% of the content they consume on Instagram (or Facebook, for that matter) is sponsored. “

Umm, I noticed! Good god, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t notice - it literally is 20% of the content now. It’s not just the feed anymore, either, but also every 4th or 5th post in the Stories timeline. It’s pretty sickening.

It might seem like I’m suddenly coming down hard on Instagram with these last couple of posts, but that’s only because I always found it to actually be a great application and community, and ever since Facebook took it over and started getting their claws into it, they’re turning it into the same annoying monster that Facebook itself is. It’s really a shame to be losing that viable alternative.



So I stumbled upon this article on The Guardian’s website this evening, published a few weeks ago, and it really illustrates what a cancer social media has become, how phony it’s making people. You see pics like this on Instagram and other social media sites all the time: that truly inspirational photo of the account holder standing/sitting all alone on some majestic peak or outcropping like this, the kind that makes you think, “Wow, they’re so lucky! That looks so beautiful! And such magical solitude! I wish my life were like that!” Look at the Twitter pics linked in that article, though - behind that solitary facade is a line of dozens of people waiting to snap their own version of the lie. Click through to the actual post over on Twitter, and you’ll see many similar situations in other locations shared in the commments. It’s really quite sad.

And it appears all this Instagram fakery isn’t exactly helping its users’ happiness…. So why do we do it?


Social Media: Deliberate Dishonesty

Brief thought for today....  Recently I read a post about people deliberately falsely tagging their posts on Instagram as having been taken in Singapore, apparently because doing so increased exposure and gains followers.  I guess if the name of the game is nothing more than more eyes and more followers, it makes sense to engage in the process, but doesn't that seem inherently dishonest?  "Yeah, I really took this photo in my living room in Des Moines, but you might not have seen it if I had said that, so I'm telling you it's in Singapore!" Beyond dishonest, doesn't it just seem pathetic?  As I read more and more about these sly practices, it makes me wonder: is anything honest on social media anymore?  Does quality of content offered matter anymore, or just posting at the right time of day, geotagged in the right location, tagging the right other accounts, etc.?  I'm beginning to think that being a successful social media maven takes exactly the opposite qualities of what it takes to be a successful artist, writer, thinker, etc.  Thoughts?

I love Instagram, and will continue to post there, but will not engage in these cagey tactics myself.  I'll put my art out there and let my work speak for itself.  People like it or they don't; I'll gain followers or I won't.  I won't lie to force either one, though.