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Negative Effects of Social Media


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Hi Guys

I noticed today how negative social media was to my productivity and happiness. I wasted almost 3 hours today being distracted and getting into discussions/arguments with people that accomplished NOTHING towards the goals I have for myself, and even took me away from them. I find myself autopiloting to reddit/facebook on my scheduled break times and it ends up just distracting me so much, even after I close the window how much it bothers me when somebody (inevitably) says something I don't agree with.

It reminds me of video game addiction to be honest - the whole doing things despite them making me miserable, and quitting them then going back to it over and over again. I'd like to quit them for good.

When I think about what I get out of facebook and reddit (connection with friends, access to recent news) vs the negatives (distraction, anxiety, annoyance) the bad far outweighs the good. Does anybody else feel something like this? 



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 I quit facebook almost three years ago, and I don't miss it at all. I still keep in touch with most of my friends through other platforms like whatsapp. I find facebook to be the evil incarnate. People share too much or just idealize their life deluding themselves into thinking they're happy. Not to mention facebook is polluted with those time and money consuming games which is bad if you're trying to quit gaming.

When it comes to reddit I'm mostly a lurker or an occasional poster. My advice would be to avoid those subreddits that trigger you. I also use Rescue Time to help me track time I spend on those irrelevant sites and sends me an alert if I'm procrastinating too long.


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I have to use some social media, mainly twitter, to network/advertise for my job. Even with that though, I really dislike it and use it for the minimum time possible, since it does have that similar feeling for me as well - just mindlessly waiting and checking back for that little 'reward' or distraction with someone liking or reblogging, or whatever while real life still goes on unattended. I still use Facebook but only for the messenger to stay in touch with close friends and family since I currently live pretty far from home. Reddit can be useful but it's so easy to slip into just clicking around on it or getting too into making posts just for upvotes or to get that false affirmation that can come with certain online interaction. I still use Reddit, but have a lot of subs filtered out and only subscribe to ones that are relevant to positive life change/interests/career. Cold Turkey is a nice app to use for monitoring yourself or even making it so you can't access those sites at certain times, it's helped in working out what healthy social networking looks like for me. 

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I tried doing the same, only subscribing to beneficial subreddits, but I subscribed to r/Frugal and yesterday there was an issue about health insurance increasing costs and came with the inevitable political debate and anxiety. Today I just spend most of the day not using it at all, and it was very productive, so I think I'll just try to stay away. I understand I just can't always run away from these things, but I also feel like Facebook and reddit kind of get one too wrapped up in yourself, like you're the only thing that matters and all of the views in the world conform to your idea. I agree with both what giblets and Manun said. 

I also think the upvote system and like system are both dopamine machines similar to gaming, like what Fern was talking about. 

I'm going to try to spend less time on social media, and it's been working pretty well, at least for today. Thanks for the advice and discussion guys :) Glad I'm not the only one.




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Facebook et al are where people go to make perennially happy constructions of themselves and where companies go to sell you more shit. Few are actually worth following and most are bloody carbon copies of each other.

They design websites specifically to suck you in for as long as possible with side effect of reducing your attention span for other things because they want you to think about going back on it, all of it is deliberate-it generates ad revenue and that is the price of freemium.

I recently downloaded cold turkey which has inadvertently closed off reddit; it is turning out to be a happy accident. I'll also download rescue time too, cheers for the tip @Manun. I only have whatsapp, youtube and gamequitters now. Youtube is at the moment my major time sink but I can't get rid of it because it is also such a good resource for other things.

If I want to make myself more miserable I maximise my screen time. 

Edit: I wonder if I can force lock my computer in the evenings as well.

Edited by -n.g-
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I have never been a frequent user of social media. I had facebook since I was 11, but haven't used it for over a year (or maybe two?) now. I didn't bother to try shut down my account or anything, I just stopped logging in and that was it. Considering "deleting" your facebook account actually just hides it so they can hold on to all your info and history indefinitely, I felt just leaving it and never looking back was the best option.

Using facebook never had any benefit to me. It was interesting in the beginning when people actually used to use it for it's purpose of sharing life activities and fun thoughts with each other but, at least on my feed, it all just devolved into dumb arguments and controversial manifestos being posted in the last couple years. It got really tiring and I felt I wouldn't be missing anything if I left it behind. My mood has definitely been better now than it was when I used facebook. Communication over facebook was rarely anything important or meaningful. There were always better ways, so that wasn't a problem.

Twitter kind of seems extremely politically charged and unfun at the moment so I'm staying away from that. Reddit also has been like that recently, so I reduced my visitation to that as well. When I do visit, it's to a short list of subs that aren't rolling around in the mud.

I don't have any regrets and I don't feel like I'm missing anything that would be beneficial to me in any way. Need to use the internet less anyway. People outside in the real world are a lot more positive and the world doesn't seem as shitty as these websites would make it seem.

I'm gonna wait until the storm blows over

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  • 2 weeks later...

I decided to tackle quitting games and social media (well mostly just facebook and reddit) at the same time. I just get way too pissed off by things on both and it's not worth it. Getting into arguments with family on facebook about politics just makes everyone look stupid. And for what?  

I still need it to manage my employer's page, so I won't be deleting it. But at home at least I've got it blocked at the browser level. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You have the extension on chrome: Facebook Feed Eradicator, or something. That block your feed, but allows you to chat with friends and in groups. That is a lifesaver for me, no more mindless scrolling, but able to stay up to date with some international friends.


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The omniversal longterm trick is to stop desiring to look hip, cool and smart. And to stop wanting to belong to a group which you don't fit in. Also: unfriend anyone that annoys the shit out of you, and don't justify yourself. Ever. When people ask "Why?" you can mayyyyybe think about justifying yourself, but usually it is best to ignore them. I hate being asked "Why?" - it is the worst!! I get rid of people that do that. It makes my simple brain hurt. I have been faring best by raising an eyebrow and staring with subtle anger. They often have something smart to say, whatever it is - it is usually best ignored at all costs! Don't listen.

If you know something: STFU. Never smartass or correct people unless they are about to hurt themselves physically. Don't meddle with their idiocy, don't teach them unless asked for.

Also think thrice about apologizing. There is an ancient chinese wisdom that says to "think three times before you say something". Well, that don't work for shit because we lack the mental capacity. Simply: think three times before apologizing. You will find many new friends this way.

Soon all your arguments will be solved in a WIN/WIN manner:

1) because you accept being an idiot (frees up some time and energy) – other people actually like idiots, because it makes them feel superior (emphasis on "feels", don't worry, you are still much better because you can kick their ass in the real world. Go train.)
2) because you never really give anyone the sign of self-doubting by starting to justify yourself – other people like that actually, because they will think you are "confident"
3) because you tend to delete people, that like to argue about useless shit, from your life – incites respect for you in other people, because it saves them time and effort
4) because you don't incite people to correct themselves by not being a smartass – other people appreciate that, and you can watch them suffer in idiocy (in Germany we call this "Schadenfreude", it is the only joy I have and the only form of revenge I practice - no joke)
5) because you never admit your own fault by apologizing unnecessarily – other people like that, because you stop whining

So to summarize: Make them feel superior while being confident, incite respect (or fear), don't be a smartass and stop whining.

Voila! C'est fucking magnifique, non?

Edited by destoroyah
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey I am reading this book Deep Work by Professor Cal Newport, and he talked about Facebook and Twitter. Quoting from the book: 


In 2013, author and digital media consultant Baratunde Thurston launched an experiment. He decided to disconnect from his online life for twenty-five days: no Facebook, no Twitter, no Foursquare (a service that awarded him "Mayor of the Year" in 2011), not even e-mail. He needed the break. Thurston, who is described by friends as "the most connected man in the world," had by his own count not participated in more than fifty-nine thousand Gmail conversations and posted fifteen hundred times on his Facebook wall in the year leading up to his experiment. "I was burnt out. Fried. Done," he explained. 

We know about Thurston's eperiement because he wrote about it in a cover article for Fast Company magazine, ironically titled #UnPlug.." As Thurston reveals in the article, it didn't take long to adjust to a disconnected life. "By the end of that first week, the quiet rhythm of my days seemed far less strange," he said. "I was less stressed about not knowing new things;  I felt that I still existed despite not having shared documentary evidence of said existence on the Internet." Thurston struck up conversations with strangers. He enjoyed food without Instagramming the experience. He bought a bike ("turns out it's easier to ride the thing when you're no trying to simultaneously check your Twitter"). "The end game too soon," Thurston  lamented. But he had start-ups to run and books to market, so after the twenty-five days passed, he reluctantly reactivated his online presence. 


Baratunde Thurston's experiement nearly summarizes two important points about our culture's current relationship with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and infotainment sites like Business Insider and Buzzfeet - two categories of online distraction that I will collectively call "network tools" in the pages ahead. The first point is that we increasingly recognize that these tools fragment our time and reduce our ability to concentrate. This reality no longer generates much debate; we all feel it. This is a real problem for many different people, but the problem is especially dire if you're attempting to improve your ability to work deeply. In the preceding rule, for example, I described several strategies to help you sharpen your focus. These efforts will become significantly more difficult if you simultaneously behave like a pre-experiement Baratunde Thurston, allowing your life outside such training to remain a distracted blur of apps and browser tabs. Willpower is limited, and therefore the more enticing tools you have pulling at your attention, the harder it'll be to maintain focus on something important. To master the art of deep work, therefore, you must take back control of your time and attention from the many diversions that attempt to steal them. 

Before we begin fighting back against these distractions, however, we must better understand the battlefield.  This brings me to the second important point summarized by Baratunde Thurston's story: the importance with which knowledge workers currently discuss this problem of network tools and attention. Overwhelmed by these tools' demands on his time, Thurston felt that his only option was to (temporarily) quite the Internet altogether. This idea that a drastic Internet sabbatical is the only alternative to the distraction generated by social media and infotainment has increasingly pervaded our cultural conversation. 

The problem with this binary response to this issue is that these two choices are much too crude to be useful. The notion that you would quit the internet is, of course, an an overstuffed straw man, infeasible for most (unless you're a journalist writing a piece about distraction). No one is meant to actually follow Baratunde Thurston's lead - and this reality provides justification for remaining with the only offered alternative: accepting our current distracted state as inevitable. For all the insight and clarity that Thurston gained during his Internet sabbatical, for example, it didn't take him long once the experiment ended to slide back into the fragmented state where he began. On the day when I first starting (sic?) writing this chapter, which fell only six months after Thurston's article originally appeared in Fast Company, the reformed connector had already sent a dozen Tweets in the few hours since he woke up. 

This rule attempts to break us out of this rut by proposing a third option: accepting that these tools are not inherently evil, and that some of them might be quite to your success and happiness, but at the same time also accepting that the threshold allowing a site regular access to your time and attention (not to mention personal data) should be much more stringent, and that most people should therefore be using many fewer such tools. I won't ask you, in other words, to quit the Internet altogether like Baratunde Thuston did for twenty-five days back in 2013. But I will ask you to reject the state of distracted hyper connectedneses that drove him to that drastic experiment in the first place. There is a middle ground, and if you're interested in developing a deep work habit, you must fight to get there. 

Will finish typing out the chapter in the future. 

Edited by Debius Broojs
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