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On Quitting

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As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve finally started leaving social media. While I hadn’t used Facebook in years, I still had a lingering account. So last week, I finally deleted it (it will actually take 30 days for Facebook to delete my content).

I’ve also curbed my Instagram usage to no more than 5 minutes per day, skipping it most days now. Why? Because it’s also owned by Facebook and every time I go on the app, they collect more data on me, refine their algorithms based on my usage, and make money off the ads I see. I have been torn on deleting my account as it’s a way to share my art, but when I really think about it, not many people see it on there anyways. There were ways to promote art before Instagram, so time to go back to old methods once I have a body of work I want to share.

The reality is, Facebook as a company is terrible. We all know this, but the convenience of Facebook and Instagram keeps us coming back. It’s cognitive dissonance in it’s purest form.

“How will we keep in touch with friends?” “How will we share what’s happening in our lives?” The bigger question to me is: How often do we just have a window to a relationship that now exists almost solely on our screens?

Facebook claims that its platform allows us to keep in touch with our friends—but in what way, exactly? In the long run, relationships between individuals are often reduced to a superficial form of contact, like seeing public photos or statuses appear in a non-personal way, lacking the intimacy of authentic connections.

These ghostlike relationships could be described as “extimate friendships” (by contrast to “intimate”). Are they really worth it?” – Louis-Olivier Brassard

In a time where we’ve been more isolated than ever, I’ve felt the effects of how vapid these platforms are more than ever. The doom-scrolling. The kvetching about usually mundane things. The lack of creativity among my usually creative friends. So much isn’t working, so why not break the cycle at the one point we know does some of the worst damage to our society?

Some may laugh that this is some sort of “I’m leaving social media” announcement, but it’s bigger than that. It’s about holding companies accountable. The “Stop Hate for Profit” boycott of ads on Facebook was heralded by users as a critical step in defunding the company, completely oblivious to the fact that advertisers spend money with them because of us, the users. If we want to stop companies like Facebook, we have to stop using them. So here’s my one step in stopping the hate.