There’s a lot of buzz recently about the negative impact of social media. I met Chamath Palihapitiya many years ago when he was in charge of growth at Facebook. It’s interesting that he’s become a detractor now. It was embarrassing to tell him back then that I didn’t know about FB.
I joined soon after and was hooked…and then left just a few years ago. I went from “liker” and “birthday wisher” to active content creator and random news curator. Ultimately, I ended up as a passive consumer. I couldn’t keep up and didn’t understand how to use it. Then I turned it off. Maybe I should have read this before pulling the plug.
Facebook works for most folks and it makes the world a smaller place. It unleashes human curiosity like no other platform. It offers an instant dopamine-high and connects people and cultures that otherwise would have never crossed paths. Facebook certainly expanded my network. But, I didn’t get rich like Chamath 😂.
After de-activating Facebook, I decided to blog about my journey because I felt my life wasn’t worth skimming over. Just like the old Sammy Hagar song “I can’t drive 55”, I realized that I couldn’t stick to a speed limit. In fact, I preferred the slow lane more than the Autobahn. Facebook was an Autobahn where authenticity gets drowned out by top-speed gibberish. I’m in the driver’s seat now. Leaving FB was worth it.
I prefer immersion and a deeper connection to my surroundings. As a frequent traveler, I care more about getting to know the people and the places I get to see — much more than broadcasting my exploits. I agree with Pico Iyer on his perspective here.
The bottom line is that I don’t need to provide my data to Facebook or broadcast to an audience which I hardly know (especially when your network exceeds 500 or 1000 “friends”). I’m doing just fine without Facebook, Instagram and Twitter since I have nothing to sell in those channels. There are fewer distractions in the real world.
I certainly hope more people detox like me and become better versions of themselves offline. Facebook usage has changed how we live. Should this technology be regulated more closely? You bet. Social media has wired the world in unhealthy ways.