Get off social media for 2018

At the Spectator Coffee House

I hardly ever use Facebook because I’ve never in my entire time using it closed the browser feeling happier than when I opened it. Instagram I don’t do either but I can see that looking at lots of people more beautiful and happier than you will make anyone miserable. What vanity is to Instagram, sanctimony is to Twitter, the competition to be purer-than-thou and to gain status in the moral community the most tiresome aspect of the site; it turns comedians into bad preachers and writers into lazy partisans. This sense of moral superiority is also what drives so many high-status people with blue ticks to be so unpleasant and bad mannered on the site, which I think mars it almost as much as the extremist untermenschen.

There’s an interesting theory that social media is to bad ideas what the first cities were to diseases, and that they are having the same radical effect. Civilisation allowed both memes and genes to spread much more rapidly, but the effects could be devastating at times. Similarly social media allows hysteria and catchy, simplistic themes to spread like plague through a medieval city.

Another comparison might be with a product associated with the first civilisations – alcohol. Social media is enjoyable for most, harmful to a minority and devastating to a smaller group, especially those with anxiety or other mental health problems.

Read it all there


Comments so far

  1. Not that I want to defend “Facebook” itself as a company or the ads it pushes in some ways, but it is only a platform you sit on after all. Then it is up to you who are your “friends”.
    I only have friends as people I actually know.
    Then comes how they use it, which could be as enjoyable as a pub conversation with a mate, or as annoying as the friend who bangs on about nothing.

    Yes I have the aunt who continually shares stuff like “share this if you hate cancer” etc,
    and the even more annoying tag of “Let’s see who does share it and I’ll be watching”.
    Of course these are not her words, but likely the words of a 12 year-old who wants their stuff shared widely. But she’s 66 and may not realise, so I just ignore it.

    Other than that it can be fun with others, together with some more serious conversations.
    It is what you make it I suppose.

What do you think?