For the past few years, ever since I registered for a Facebook and Twitter account, I’d always go on to those two websites and scrolled through the feed. But recently, I decided to cut myself off from them. I’ve been absent from Facebook and Twitter for about a month now. Here are the two reasons why:
1. I’m too critical and analytical of other people’s statements.
Whenever I scroll through people’s posts, whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter, most of the time I will get agitated by their posts. The kind of posts that I’m talking about here are posts that are opinions about an issue with an aim to persuade. I get agitated because I thought that they could come up with a better argument. I don’t mind if his/her opinion offers an open discussion but most of the time, most people don’t have that aim in mind. Besides, it’s not a forum. So, why would they?
I’m currently training myself for critical thinking skills. So I apply this skill when I read posts on Facebook or Twitter. Whenever I see a post that seemed fallacious (usually they commit ‘appeal to emotion’ fallacy and are rarely objective), I get annoyed. I realize that this is a mistake on my part. I may sound condescending but I do realize that my arguments can also be fallacious sometimes. Therefore, to prevent myself from being overly critical and overanalyzing and thinking that I myself could come up a better argument than they can, I’m refraining myself from reading those post and better focus on improving my own arguments instead.
Besides, as I’ve mentioned before, Facebook isn’t a forum. Most people post their opinions on there to get ‘likes’ and approval. As for Twitter, the ‘Retweet’ button is another ego-boosting agent. They can tweet whatever opinions that they like for the sake of Retweets but will be confrontational and toxic once there are others that go against their opinion. Again, most of them lack the intention to learn or protecting themselves from being ignorant. All they want to protect is their fragile go. Therefore, before I succumb to any if it, I’m refraining myself from going on both social media websites.
2. I don’t need the unneccesary information.
Some people share things that others don’t need to know or have no interest in knowing. We could be talking about our personal life, promoting a business, or sharing a gossip column. We have every right to do so, sure, but we have to remind ourselves that those are the kind of information that some people have no intention of burying our noses into and that includes myself. I don’t want to contaminate my mind with information that don’t serve or benefit me in any way.
Those are the main reasons why I quit Facebook and Twitter. However, it would be a lie if I say that I didn’t gain anything from my past years of actively scrolling and interacting on Facebook and Twitter. A few of the things that I have gained were like-minded online friends and knowing about the latest news. However, the two reasons that I mentioned above seemed to overshadow the two things that I have gained.
Now, I practice my critical and analytical skills on a more suitable medium or platform. I use this skill when I read books, journal articles, or newspaper articles. On my mobile phone homescreen, what used to be the home for my Facebook and Twitter app icon is now the home to ‘Google News’, ‘The Guardian’, and ‘ThoughtCo’. Those are the apps that have the neccesary information that I would like my mind to be occupied with. Google News keeps me updated with the latest news from different local and international news website. Those news website may or may not be platforms of political propaganda but at least I can train myself to objectively consider which ones are and which ones are not. Other than that, ‘The Guardian’ is a UK based news website. I go on there because I find that they have interesting articles about books, education, and culture. I go on there mostly for that. Lastly, for me, ‘ThoughtCo’ is an informative website for those who are curious learners of philosophy, literature and science. It’s a great source for learning. I find myself mostly indulging in articles about philosophy and literature.
How about Instagram? Well, lately I rarely go on there to scroll through the feed and I only go on there to upload my latest reads (or any other pictures that I would like to be kept archived online). I also don’t have the Instagram app icon on my mobile phone homescreen anymore. However, the reason why I don’t frequently scroll through Instagram anymore isn’t the same as the reason that I have for Facebook and Twitter. The reason is because where I work, the internet speed here is slow. It would be a pain just to wait for a picture to load. Other than that, I don’t want to spend more time scrolling when I can spend more time reading and focusing on work. However, I do alocate myself the time to scroll through my Instagram feed only once a week. Besides, I love looking at pictures. Provided that I follow the right people of course. (You know what, I wonder what if Instagram doesn’t have that ‘like’ feature on every picture. Would people still go on there and post stuff? It seems that social media app creators really know how to take advantage of the human’s tendency for social approval and narcissism.)
I will still be on Facebook and Twitter but I won’t be on there as frequently as I used to anymore. I find that my current way of spending time on the internet is more beneficial than before. So far, ever since I quit Facebook and Twitter as well as having the lesser urge to scroll through my Instagram feed updates all the time, I was able to complete reading 7 books within a month than the previous 3 – 4 average number of books per month.
I’m in the process of decluttering my mind and I like where it is heading and how it makes me feel.