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Why social media wastes your time

Yes, if you’re reading this article it’s probably because you’ve come across a social network or social media. Chances are you don’t know me, or you’ve come through a search engine or this article appeared on one of your social networks by chance.

Today we live in the world of copying and pasting. We all have a way of seeing the world and we adapt that way of seeing the world to our tastes. If you like some kind of music, that’s the one you listen to. If you like cats you will see videos of cats. Your social networks are a mirror of you, and you will try to get what you value in life on your networks.

Social media that entangies you

There is a wide range of social networks. Facebook  allows you to publicly or privately write notes that include links, photos, videos, etc. Instead  Twitter has  a limit of 280 characters and provides more flexibility to set up detailed user pages.

Increasingly, social media platforms are becoming tools for professional development, and informal online connections can help publicize, search, and fill jobs. The most prominent is LinkedIn,a site designed specifically for professional relationships, which includes networking and advertising career opportunities. Academia.edu  and  ResearchGate  target specific audiences, as they aim to foster academic and research interactions by building contact networks and facilitating communication between users.

Create and subsequently see compulsively if someone read your creation

We usually check our social networks several times a day. Most of us have multiple social networks and are continually watching them, whether at work, at home, on a break, etc… We want to be connected and know what happens to our friends, in the world, that news is current, etc.

It is very common for us to create a written text that we find interesting to share and then we are all day checking if someone has commented or clicked likes or the visualizations of it. This process we automated, just as a few years ago you smoked one cigarette after another, now we have changed the cigarette to open the mobile and see what happens hundreds of times a day.

Being up to date, every day, about what you have around you

A few years ago you met a person and then you saw them 1-2 times a year, when it matched that you went to their village or vice versa. Today we know practically what someone else does who is often not even a friend in real life. This is a huge waste of time because you’re seeing what people do that years ago barely related to her.

Now you just have to log into Facebook and if someone else has posted something they’ve done, you see it and sometimes interact. Before if your friend Pepe had gone on a hiking trail, that information never came to you. Nowadays if your friend Pepe is going to do a hiking trail and share a photo, you see that photo, you know what he has done, you know where it is, and on many days you leave him a comment or you like him. The whole process of seeing, observing, writing, pressing, etc., consumes your time that you used before for other tasks, probably just as unproductive.

Besides, you need to know what’s going on around you. And that around before was what happened in your village or in a nearby town. However, now that around us has expanded it and expanded it to the entire planet earth. We get word that there’s a squirrel that got lost on a New Zealand highway or that a cat showed up at a roundabout on an industrial estate and you worry. Deep down, today’s world is an inexhaustible source of concerns that weren’t before because they didn’t come to you.

Your digital self is very interesting on social media or so you think

One derivative of using social media is that you’re showing the world, everyone, somethingabout you that you’ve  carefully chosen. If for example you share a photo of a paradise beach you are likely to receive likes or congratulations from thousands of people, who you do not know. However, if you upload a photo of a landfill you will receive very few or virtually none interactions.

Somehow we’ve censored what can make other people think we’re bored. We deliberately choose what we know works. When pizza was created, the creators knew what was going to work. Years later one afternoon someone came up with the idea of adding pineapple, and some enlightened one thought it might turn out. No, it didn’t work out, did it?

The cinema, which we’ve been watching all our lives, has prepared us for this. A film shows in 90-120 minutes what happens in the lives of its protagonists. But the part that serves to tell a story. A person’s day-to-day life 90% of the time is monotonous and repetitive and doesn’t interest in showing it in a movie. The film director chooses precisely that 10% interesting and shows it on screen. Similarly, when you share a photo on a social network you are showing that 10% interesting of your life, leaving the rest hidden from the world.

In a superhero movie they show us the fights, the shots, explosions, etc., oversaturate our senses, but they will never show us the 8 hours they sleep every day, what delicious food they have eaten, or the times they go to the bathroom, unless there are hidden some bad guys who start shooting at them. A few years ago Andy Warhol made a film showing a colleague of his sleeping, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_(1964_film). Has any of you ever uploaded a photo of him or her sleeping to a social network? Therefore, parts of our lives that are not interesting are omitted.

All we have is time

A few years ago I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. It was a very successful decision because I was finishing a master’s degree and wanted to focus on it. Later as I had a list of songs on Spotify and the account was linked to Facebook I reactivated it. Today I keep using it but I have all notifications disabled and it connected me maximum once a day.

It’s often very common for social media to somehow live up to its name and create networks to catch you. In my case it was the Spotify account. Somehow they try to make your digital self form multiple connections and make them solid connections. It’s like the ramifications of our neurons. You have a memory that brings you together to something and that you like to revive it. The more ramifications you have of that memory, the more likely you are to keep that in mind.

We only have time. It’s not a good idea to waste it. A few years ago we didn’t have so many distractions at our fingertips. Yesterday  you got up, turned on the computer and did things that didn’t require much effort. Today you get up in the morning, you see the weather app, you see twitter, you see Facebook, you watch the news, you see the trends, you watch videos on Youtube, you watch streamers on Twitch and so on all day.

All a millennial needs is to go viral

A lot of times you write something and all of a sudden it goes viral. Cheerful, you watch as on your phone you get notifications non-stop. Two things happen: your ego rises to stratospheric levels and the mobile battery runs out in a few hours. Sometimes I bother to know the timeline of a viral tweet. Many times I am saddened that the person who wrote that tweet has copied it from someone else. And the worst part is that it makes no relation to the original author.

Always, always, quote the author. He’s the one who had the idea, your only idea was to share it. They pass through authors when they are nothing more than spokespersons aloud from a message they did not create. It doesn’t get into my head to use something without quoting where it comes from. Maybe it’s because of my scientific training. Everyone has to have the recognition they deserve.

Millennials tend to have a tendency to virality. It may be because they are of a generation in which they were never deprived of anything. Their parents consented to everything. Therefore, since everyone has had the same whims, they need to reaffirm themselves and say to the world “eh, that I am here”. They need you to pay attention to them. Her parents lent it to her when she was little. There is no greater “attention span” that thousands of strangers like or retwote or share something you’ve done.

In a way, we all have that way of looking at the world of millennials even if we’re not by chronology. Maybe it’s because we all have the same weapons: being on a social network, having a cell phone, etc.. From the comfort of the year in which we live we do what others do.

How to unsubscribe on social media

If you intend to unsubscribe from any of the social networks, I share with you links on how to do so:

Since we’re going to reach a new year, one of your resolutions might be to put these networks aside. Now is the time, if you don’t, you probably won’t have time to do what’s really important at some point in your near future.

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