A few weeks ago, I deleted my social media accounts.* With the exception of Twitter (which I liked because of the articles people would share) I’d already stopped using Facebook and Instagram in January. Not that I even used Facebook much before that. I figured, I wasn’t using them anyway, so why not delete them altogether?
That isn’t completely true, however. 😛 That’s the easy answer I give people. The truth is, I got caught up in the Bea-Gerald-Julia love triangle. It emphasised to me how I no longer wanted to be part of the social media ecosystem which can become so toxic.
I wasn’t even updated about any of their lives before this. I thought Gerald was still with Kim which was apparently so nine years ago. I also thought Julia was still a preteen. But that didn’t stop me. I’m ashamed to admit I spent more than a few of hours reading gossip websites and tweets.
I think the fact that it all happened online fascinated me. The entire thing, at least in my view, blew up based on a precariously constructed framework of speculations cobbled together from bits and pieces of social media activity.
Photos that appeared innocent at face value were suddenly given new meaning by another post appearing at the same time. No names mentioned, but it was clear that shade was thrown. I don’t even know why I read all those articles talking about which celebrities were on whose side based on photos they liked or social media accounts they commented on.
Each and every little thing anyone posted was dissected. There was no way anybody could win – every single comment was taken negatively by someone out there. Even other celebrities posting about unrelated things had their posts misinterpreted by people thinking they were talking about that. And there were all these Twitter threads of random people giving unsolicited life advice or pouring their hearts out why Julia or Gerald was wrong. Why did these people care so much to spend time writing these things?! And why did I just waste hours reading all of it?!
That’s when I deleted my accounts.
Thing is, I’d already noticed bits and pieces of those behaviours around me, although not to that extreme level. And back when I was using social media, I have to admit I did a little of it myself. Things like looking up people’s online activity and assuming meanings about things where none probably existed. Obviously, genuinely passive-aggressive posts did exist and it was always juicy coming across them (cue “I wonder who it’s for! I wonder what she’s talking about!”) but at the end of the day none of those things really concerned me.
We’d also recently watched the following shows highlighting some of the negatives of social media:
- The Cleaners, about workers who clean up social media
- The Great Hack, about Cambridge Analytica
- FYRE: The greatest party that never happened, about the social media-hyped festival that never was
So that’s me. Or rather, not me.
* Technically, I only deactivated Facebook so I could continue using Facebook Messenger.