As a millennial, I fall into many of the stereotypes. For instance, I’m good with technology, I like things to be fast and convenient, and I’m heavily involved in social media. Actually, I don’t spend that much time on social media anymore, and that’s kind of what I want to talk about today.
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Of all the social media platforms, the two I still maintain are Snapchat and Twitter. Beyond that, I spend most of my internet life on GitHub and my own website.
Of course, life hadn’t always been this simple for me. I used to maintain several social media profiles including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. In the following sections, I’ll talk a little bit about why I finally decided to delete most of my social media accounts.
After I graduated from college in 2016, Facebook stopped bringing me any sort of joy. Instead, it became a instrument of my discontent as I watched everyone else live their best lives while I was stuck working a job I hated.
Unfortunately, I fell for the Sunk Cost Fallacy as I couldn’t will myself to give up years of social media addiction. Instead, I chose to temporarily disable my Facebook account only to reactivate it every so often to check back in on family, friends, and the briefest of acquaintances.
Over time, I found Facebook was becoming more polarized and divisive. Close friends and family were suddenly engaged in heated ideological debates which revealed the most horrific of beliefs. Many of whom openly celebrated racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia—with God as their witness.
When they weren’t debating immigration, these same people shared hateful 4Chan-style memes to discredit various minorities (read: snowflakes). Just off the top of my head, I can think of several people who shared a particular meme that tried to draw a parallel between EpiPens and NARCAN. Apparently, drug addicts deserve to die.
In the end, I lost a lot of respect for the people that I loved, so I decided to distance myself from them. One of the best ways to do that was to remove the platform that had been causing me so much pain. That’s why I no longer have Facebook.
As for Instagram, my gripes are largely similar. Of course, the platform is much different. All anyone does is post pictures of themselves repeatedly to chase some sort of feeling of acceptance. For every selfie that goes unliked, there’s a dozen more waiting to be unleashed.
To be honest, I found myself in that rut as well. Some days I’d try to attract people to my website only to get two likes from close friends. Obviously, my attempts to get any sort of support from local friends and family were a bust. Apparently, people prefer thirst traps and food pics over actual content, but I digress.
In rare cases, I’d attract the wrong kind of attention; the kind that strains relationships. For instance, I wrote about how my wife and I had a tough vacation around our wedding party last June, and I decided to share that article on Instagram. For whatever reason, that article drew up quite a bit of controversy with some of the townies. Imagine my surprise when I found out people were finally reading my work.
To make matters worse, one of those townies figured it would be appropriate to hide behind a pseudonym while attacking me through my own comments section. This event prompted me to convert The Renegade Coder to a membership site. Those that are childish enough to make a fake name just to attack me over the internet can at least cut me a check first.
While Instagram and Facebook are out of my life, I still plan to continue using other platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. That said, no platform is safe. If I feel any of them stop adding value to my life, I will not hesitate to remove them from my life. With all that said, let’s take a look at a few of the platforms I currently use and what it would take to get rid of them.
Right now, Twitter is my most used form of social media. Honestly, the platform has brought quite a bit of value to my life. Without it, I may never have found dev.to which has provided my open-source projects with an endless supply of excited developers.
In addition, I also use Twitter as my primary source for world news. Any time something happens in the world, the Twitter community is the first to make the story go viral. From there, I’m able to see a wide variety of opinions and takes on the subject, so I never get caught up in an echo chamber.
Finally, I just like to keep up with things I care about: tech, hockey, pop punk, etc. Instead of reading a racist meme from an uncle or checking out a plate of food from a townie, I can focus on filling my feed with interesting content. That’s why I keep Twitter.
All of that said, the Twitter community is insanely toxic. From fights about Tom Wilson to conspiracy theories around Sandy Hook, just about anything can be debated on Twitter. As a result, it’s very easy to grow frustrated on the platform when even simple discussions can turn divisive. Naturally, I try to keep my toxicity levels to a minimum.
By no means is Twitter an amazing platform, but it’s certainly my favorite.
At this point, I have to lump everything else into a single category because they’re all on the chopping block. Beyond Twitter, I haven’t really found any platforms that are even halfway decent. Yet, I still find myself maintaining Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
When it comes to Pinterest, the platform is only good for spamming articles. And to be honest, I haven’t been very successful. Unfortunately, Pinterest’s design makes it hard to pull the plug. Every time I come back, I get nostalgic before realizing the platform’s lack of utility. Perhaps by this time next year, I’ll have finally given up on it.
As for Snapchat, I don’t really don’t know why I hold onto it. Of the handful of people I chat with, most of them don’t even send pictures. We just use the chat feature which is worse than almost every other chat app in existence. That said, it doesn’t bring me displeasure having it, so I suppose I’ve never thought to get rid of it.
Finally, there’s LinkedIn which I should have gotten rid of a long time ago. There’s just something about a platform that brings together a bunch of corporate shmucks and shills that makes me want to destroy the internet. Every time I get on that platform, I see somebody sharing a motivational quote about leadership only to be followed up by a rant about millennials.
To make matters worse, some of my own peers actively leverage LinkedIn for marketing or networking purposes, and it just makes me want to throw up. In fact, I’ve considered writing a full blown rant on the platform on multiple occasions before realizing that I really only wanted to rant about a particular individual. I just can’t fathom why any “professional” would get on a platform just to write negative comments below every engineering video (#subtweet).
Awhile back, I wrote an article called the Social Media Cleanse, and I think this is part 2 of that endeavor. That said, I don’t think I’m done yet. There are at least 3 more platforms I could drop, and I probably will given enough time. For now, let’s say goodbye to Facebook and Instagram.
The ACT/SAT discourse is back, and I found a pretty cool article debunking many of the common arguments for them.
The Sample Programs repository is in its fourth Hacktoberfest. Are you interested in making a contribution?