For the past year and a half, I’ve disconnected myself from all my social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Those platforms still presumably store my data (e.g. posts, images, chat logs) but I no longer log into the system, neither consuming or contributing any content. This disconnect was motivated by several reasons.
First, I had originally cut myself off from social media because I found myself mindless scrolling through the posts, spending an hour here, an hour there. This would happen multiple times throughout the day; anytime I needed to occupy myself with something. I felt as if I losing what I consider the most valuable currency: time.
The second reason is privacy. It’s not that I’m looking to retreat into a hole, never to be seen, hiding from the government. If that was the case, I wouldn’t be posting on my blog. But I do struggle with the idea that these organizations (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) mine my data, applying algorithms and selling my behavior to other organizations, other organizations that then, in turn, shove unsolicited advertisements down my throat. But I’m not surprised: these organizations are in the business of selling information. You and I are not the customer; we’re the product.
But, despite my long absence from social media, I’m reconsidering using these platforms. Because during lunch this past weekend, my sister’s 11 year old step daughter shared a different perspective, a glimpse of the value of social media.
Since she lives in southern California, only able to visit my wife (who she absolutely adores) and I about once every few months, she stated that with social media she was able to “stay connected … the only way [she] could see what’s going on in [our] lives.”
Unless I’m blogging, unless I’m sending them direct e-mails, nobody has a damn clue what’s going on in my life. So, she’s got a point.
Unfortunately, I tend to forget that other people (i.e. close friends and family) might be interested in what’s going on in my life, just as interested as I am in theirs.