Staying Sane on Social Media

This is sort-of a followup to Social Media is Doomed. If we take as given that social media is in the phase where its push-based notification system is creaking under the weight of its large userbase and stressing users as a result, if one does not simply abandon all social media, how is one to deal with this and stay sane?

I am not at present giving a definitive answer for two reasons:

  1. I do not have sufficient time
  2. I’m not completely sure yet

But I would like to sketch out some techniques I’ve found to work. They’re not rules, just heuristics.

Be Very Picky about Who you Follow

This is probably the most important thing. If people post too many things which would require you to come to terms with them in order to get along, don’t follow them. On social media where being friends and seeing updates are not the same thing, then by all means be friends with anyone you know but be careful to turn off status updates (or whatever the push notifications are called) as soon as you can tell that they’re not thinking of their status updates as public. It’s way better than losing friends.

Turn Off Phone Notifications

Everyone’s social media app loves to buzz you every time you have the slightest interaction with anyone, since they desperately want your eyes looking at the advertisements they show you. Just turn off the notifications for everything but direct messages and check on occasion. The number of times anything bad will happen because you didn’t catch somebody’s status update in a timely manner can be counted on no hands, for most people.

Don’t Use the Default Interface

The default interface of most social media is designed with one goal in mind: to get you to watch as much advertising as the social media company can manipulate you into watching. There are probably some exceptions, but however it is that the social media company makes money off of you, that’s what they want to trick you into doing, as often as they can. And they may not even realize that they’re training you through stress reactions and pavlovian training to do what they want; they probably only measure their success at making money, not what effect these things have on you. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether they mean well. You can do just as much damage by not realizing how to measure how much damage you’re doing. Protect yourself from everyone, not merely intentional villains. Most every social media platform has some alternative way of interacting with it that doesn’t get nearly as much attention. Tweetdeck for Twitter is the obvious example, but there are others. Maybe read Facebook via email that automatically goes into a folder. Whatever the platform offers that isn’t the standard, use that if at all possible.

One thought on “Staying Sane on Social Media

  1. Pingback: Another Perspective on Facebook as Social Poison – Chris Lansdown

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