A few weeks ago I took Instagram off my phone. The number of ads playing had become unbearable to the point where it wasn’t worth keeping around. I still check out the website because I can use an adblocker but I feel that there’s no reason to use the mobile application. But at this stage the only two remaining social network applications I have retained on my phone are Snapchat and Twitter. And I never use Snapchat anymore. But what happened? Why am I going through social media withdrawal?
Ages ago I recall a phenomena in Japan with regards to their social network, Mixi, where people eventually became burnt out. I don’t remember the exact terminology they used but I’ve always seen Japan as a trend setter, if not a premonition of what’s to come in the rest of the 1st world.
A while back, I had eliminated Facebook from my phone completely. Part of that started once Facebook decided to force people to use their Messenger application, which to me was a version of spyware in how it would access your phone’s contacts, etc. The other part of my decision was when they decided that autoplaying videos would be a thing. Having zero control over ads and content to me was the last straw so I zapped that fucker into the moon.
For a while I had stopped using LinkedIn. I still connect with people on LinkedIn from time-to-time, but I refuse to update my resume and anything else. The reason for that is that I often would receive annoying messages from recruiters. The worst was having my office get called asking for me because the recruiter saw my current position.
Then you had various failed social networks such as the previously mentioned Mixi, Friendster, Myspace, hi5, Plaxo, orkut, Google+, etc. Some caught on for a brief time but sputtered and failed or pivoted into some other unusable disaster due to the owners being unable to navigate the Facebook dominated landscape.
You could say that dating sites are a huge part of social networking as well. Look at how Tinder utilizes (steals) your information from Facebook and how you embarrassingly may reconnect with others seeking people that are your direct friends.
But that’s pretty much why I think this whole social network craze is fading. It’s been abused to the point where people are tired of bullshit. I think when it initially came out, the basic premise was fantastic: connect with old friends that were behind paywalls (such as classmates.com) and provide a digital online, one stop, open addressbook. Really simple but great idea.
Naturally, such a concept isn’t sustainable due to the cost of supporting such a service. So in order to keep cost at a free level, these companies were forced to use some form of advertisement model. A lot of these companies would sell your email to other advertisers (ever notice why your inbox spam goes up after joining one of these?), for which the average user unknowingly agrees to during the infamous “User Agreement” portion of the registration. But then you have companies like a Facebook who can target people with the sheer amount of data that they have collected on you through their tracking pixels that exist on almost every website out there.
As a site’s cost like Facebook increases dramatically with the amount of data it collects from a user, more intrusive means of shoving advertisements down your throat make their way into the market. As a passive user, once again just like the days of TV, you have zero choice to control what you view. All that matters is how much an advertiser needs to spend in order to jam their ugly autoplaying advertisement down your tonsils.
So if you want to get away from this spying and product engendering of yourself, you have to disengage from these networks (i.e. uninstall and logout as well as nuking your browser and history clean off this earth).
But even if these social networks managed to make advertising less painful and intrusive, they’ve done quite a bit of damage from other aspects. I lost a lot of friends on social networks just because I didn’t want to deal with some of them. I hated reading about their petty interests, complaints and whatnot. It made me realize how distant I had grown from them to the point where they really weren’t my friends anymore.
Also, the number of irrelevant posts that spawn like an infinite case of dysentery force me to hide/delete everything from my wall or perma-block users. People talk about fake news but it’s more like annoying news and people! Some people or outlets just won’t shut the fuck up.
Then you just get re-posts of garbage from retweets or likes. None of it is original nor good content. It’s more like regurgitated poop being transferred from what anus to another. Most of the so-called content is nonsense with some shmuck’s opinions on how things should be done in this world with tons of blind favorites due to the fact that their worth in one of these social networks’ universes exceeds those that have smaller follower counts.
What’s sad is that the few good things that social networking had spawned end up being buried beneath the moronic masses. Things like identifying truly interesting and pertinent news or creating jobs. All this has been perverted into the opposite of what could have been a beautiful and noteworthy revolution.
In the end, social networking has become the sin of vanity. It’s like that techcrunch article which talks about asking oneself what their company’s sin is in relation to talking to a venture capitalist for money. Social networking is all about ego and about how the weak of mind end up becoming propped up or following others without question.
For someone like myself, I just pull the plug. Don’t really need it. The luster is long gone and any usefulness has been wasted.