Thursday, December 13, 2018

Boycotting Social Media is Dangerous; here's why!

Boycotting social media is dangerous

“You have to boycott social media to have a better life.”  
“Social media is turning you into an addict.”  
“Social media platforms are stealing your personal information.”  
“Social media is hurting your privacy and putting your life at risk.” 
“Social media is playing with world politics.”

You, probably, have heard or read one of the above statements, recently. Almost every blogger, writer, and researcher I follow are advocating against the so-called “damaging effects” of social media on our mental health and on the well-being of our human communities. Even, some point at certain social media platforms (e.g. Facebook) for being responsible for political corruption or manipulating elections. For me, those claims represent insanity in its purist form!

Over the past five months, I have gone through several of the “social media detox” experiments suggested all over the internet. They promise you mental freedom and more precious time to be added to your already-shortened life.  It took me five months of following the “boycott social media” trend to discover that those campaigns are nothing but disturbing SCAM. To save you the five months I wasted on the experiment, I ask you to take a nice step back and look again into the intentions behind such campaigns. Well! They are simply trying to up their viewers meter to be more popular on social media. What?! Yes, that is the bitter truth. 

Ironically, most of the bloggers, YouTubers, writers, and researchers advocating boycotting social media platforms are social media rats. They spend hours on social media every day. They have active applications for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram installed on their computers, iPads, and mobile phones. They are connected online for their entire waking hours. Their audience and followers knew about them through social media. In fact, if it was not for their intensive, and sometimes intrusive, presence on social media, no one would have noticed they ever existed. Yet, the most shocking truth: they are using the social media platforms to convince you to boycott the social media platforms! Isn’t it too crazy to bite?! 

Speaking from experience, I believe that using social media is necessary and that boycotting social media is dangerous. In today's world, social media platforms are the primary source of news and the easiest form of communication. If you decide to avoid using social media to acquire news and communicate with other human beings, you are no different from a man who decides to travel across borders riding a camel rather than taking a plane. You are not doing yourself or your community any good by refusing to adapt to the new tools of mass media and communications. 

In addition, by cutting social media out of your life, you are missing on the great opportunity of being the creator of your own news. On social media, there are no editors who would select for the news creator what to produce and for the news consumer what to devour. You have the absolute power over every piece of information that you choose to give to the world or select to absorb from others. This, eventually, gives you absolute power over your psyche that has always been penetrated by traditional media and political leaders, who control what you are allowed to see as a citizen. It, also, gives you a firm control over your own time. You choose when and what to watch or read whenever you desire, not according to the TV network schedule.   

Then, what is the problem? Why many people have a love/hate relationship with social media? I think that is because social media showed them their ugly face. If someone is already wasting his time on small talks and trivia on social media, then, most probably, they are not any different in real life. In other words, if someone is already a loser in real life, with no purpose, goal, or work to do; they will be as much as a loser on social media, too. They may, even, use social media to create the illusion that they are doing something valuable. But, in fact, they are simply trying to make use of their already wasted time. On the other hand, if you are a successful person with a clear goal in life and a solid schedule for your time, when you get on social media you will use it only to serve your goals and make you more successful. You are making the best use at that particular moment of your already valuable time. 

Nevertheless, the proper use of social media platforms can literally provide the freedom and the power that we all seek. I have seen women in very conservative communities being socially empowered and getting over their oppressive patriarchal societies by starting small businesses on Facebook. Personally, I was one of many young human rights activists, who brought down dictators during the Arab Spring, by knowing how to use this amazing swift communication tool in mobilizing supporters.   

The bottom line is: the problem is not in social media platforms, no matter how attractive or addictive they are designed to be. The problem is in our behavior on social media. If you have a friend who spends his whole day hanging out at shopping malls and coffee-shops, then you would suggest that there is something wrong with his behavior not with the beautiful design or addictive coffee brewing at this particular coffee shops. That is exactly the case with social media platforms. 

You do not need to boycott social media to be happy or free. On the contrary, you need to immerse yourself in the unique and revolutionary experience of communicating through a virtual platform. To be happy and free, you need to change your perception about how much you value your time and manage your life. Ironically, social media can help you make this change!