Media and social media — Robin Wils's website

Last modified: Mon, Aug 29, 2022

Table of Contents

Know the difference

I see social media as the full package which includes media and other distractions. Social networking is often included in this package. The element in which people chat with others is what I mean when I use the term “social networking”. Social networking applications are things like IRC, email, videocalls and chatting.

Social media disadvantages

Addiction

Certain research papers or your own experience has likely shown you that social media is not healthy and addicting. Here is a video of the founding president of Facebook who claims that they make it addicting and that they always knew this.

Sean Parker - The secret behind Facebook

Sean Parker - The secret behind Facebook


" It’s a social-validation feedback loop… exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. "

" The inventors, creators – it’s me, it’s Mark, it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people – understood this, consciously. And we did it anyway. "

– Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook

Fake news

Social media is usually filled with fake news and useless spam. It has good articles too, which are harder to find. Many people read a headline and assume it is true. The majority of articles do not have sources. People promote things on social media. It is a marketing tool. The media has that same fake news and useless spam problem.

Privacy problems

Many people including kids, probably don’t read the extreme policies which you accept by making a social media account.

Some policies of the popular Facebook network allow them to:

That aren’t all their rules. The “Terms of Service; Didn’t Read” add-on can present you the Terms of Service of websites in a more readable format.

Terms of Service; Didn’t Read

This extension informs about your rights online by showing an unintrusive icon in the toolbar. You can click on this icon to get summaries from the Terms of Service; Didn’t Read initiative.

License: AGPLv3

It costs you time

People often don’t realize how much time social media really takes. This form of escapism usually doesn’t provide you which much value. Thus, it can be a good idea to avoid certain parts of social media.

Reasons to use social media

Staying in contact with others

Extreme obsessions with privacy can make you out of touch with the world. If you are on Facebook consider using Messenger and not Facebook. You can try to avoid the social media part of social media platforms. Leaving a social media platform can make you lose connections. Some of your connections might try to keep in touch, but you are the exception if you leave a big social media platform.

Social media is not going away soon. It is important to know your limit if you decide to use it. Try to spend a few weeks without social media, to find out how it feels. I feel better in general when I stop using social media for a while. Do what feels right in the long run and play with the options.

To influence people

Social media is useful when you try to sell a product or an idea. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to market something. There are other ways to get your content on social media. You can add share links. It is likely not as efficient as having an account, but can somewhat work.

Yelling about how some platform is bad on a smaller platform won’t convince many people to move to another platform. You have to be realistic. It is likely better to get an account on a big platform with users which aren’t convinced yet. Many privacy minded people don’t seem to understand this.

Social networking

Email

The current most used social networking platform is probably email. Email has a lot of problems, but most people still use it. It is just easy to use. Some of its problems are spam. It is easy to fake an email address. Email is not encrypted by default. No encryption means that anyone who uses a packet analyzer on your network can see and read the contents of your emails.

Many sites require email to validate your account. Disposable email services exist if you don’t want to share your email with a website, but having an email account is convenient.

Email alternatives?

Good alternatives exist, but the communities are often a bit small. This makes it harder to find people to have conversations with. Especially if you want to reach people with different mindsets.

You can use alternatives which fix many of the problems which email has. Discord seems like a good option at the moment. An open source alternative is Matrix.org, but it doesn’t have as many users.

What about video platforms?

I suggest that you keep those and that you try to find ways to get rid of the addictive recommendation systems. It prevents watching content which you weren’t actually interested in.

You can install unhook.app on your browser for YouTube. Clear most channels which are only about forgetful entertainment. Focus on learning material instead. Entertainment can be fine, but what is the point if it is forgettable?

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