So let’s talk about Social Media. Before we begin, in case you’re wondering, I recently start using AI to generate article’s cover. I use text-prompt-to-image tool called Stable Diffusion since previous post about productivity. I’m not good with design, also it’s not the major part of this website either where it’s mostly about sharing idea through writing, so I’m good with it and it’s fun though :)
As someone born in the 90’s, I was basically grew up as part of first generation Social Media user, at the dawn of Web 2.0. Social Media was all about text and image back then. Our computing machine, not to mention mobile phone, was not powerful enough to process video smoothly and the 2G or 3G bandwidth isn’t good enough.
Speaking about algorithm, it wasn’t all that complicated compared to what we have today. We got the feeds top down simple with most recent updates from our friends being the first we saw when we visit the platform. It felt so natural at that time since the main reason we visit Social Media was to know what’s going on in our circle. There was no ads, sponsored content, spam, clickbait, etc. Life was very simple.
Then you know what we have now, not just images, but also videos, and even LIVE videos. The media which users consume is so rich in terms of content and form. Now we knows, people are becoming more interested in video content rather than image and text, they are even more so into short videos. People demand quick access to information in fastest way possible in shortest duration.
But we’re not gonna talk about its societal impact here, instead we’re more interested in ourself, how it is impacting us!
First, let’s blame the algorithm. Several major social media platforms now (you know the names) have very very sophisticated algorithm that makes them sooo addicting to us as longer and longer we use them. No wonder we can spend minutes or even hours using it by doing doom scrolling without we realizing it. That’s because they know too much about us, our behaviours, our interests, etc. It’s not exaggerating anymore when people say that social media knows about us more than we do. There are too many things going on under the hood if we want to deep dive into it, but obviously this is not the place, maybe I’ll cover it in another article, just maybe. So, what are the possible solutions?
We know that time is so precious, it’s what our life is made of. We want to spend every single bit of our time conciously, with purpose. For me, there are several things that can be done to minimize negative impacts of social media:
1. Reduce its number (by deleting it if possible)
It has been almost a year since I deleted my Facebook account. For me, facebook was becoming more into ads machine than a social media. We know that it doesn’t use simple recent post top-down style anymore where we get newest posts at the top so it’s easy to us staying up to date with what our friends are doing. Instead, what I had were some random sponsored contents that were irrelevant (even though mostly interesting, that’s what its algorithm purpose anyway) to my life. Not to mention the Cambridge Analytica scandal, even though the later didn’t directly affect me as third world country user.
2. Mindful scrolling
It does happen to me especially on youtube platform. On youtube, I generally seek for knowledge rather than entertainment. Entertainment is what Instagram provides to me, when I need it. In Youtube, I try to limit to 1-2 videos about the topic that I interested only, especially long 30mins+ videos. When there are more interesting videos from suggestion list (again, their sharp algorithm) I’ll put it in my watchlist and decided to watch it later when I get another chance. Youtube is sooo addicting to me at the moment, and It’s full of knowledge, I love it.
3. Don’t go to social media when you’re bored, use it to contact people as it’s originally made for
I know it’s hard, social media provide entertainment in addictive ways, things we need most when we’re bored. But the problem is, again, time passed by very easily without us noticing it when we do doom scrolling on social media because we are bored in the first place. Just be mindful and don’t hesitate to stop, do other things that are more useful. Social media make it sooo easy for us to stay in touch with people we care about, so use it for what it’s good at.