I refuse to feed the social media beast. I choose to stop posting and scrolling.
I choose to rebel.
Social media could have been a force for good — connecting people across the world, building communities and creating movements.
In a world so tech connected, we’re more fragmented than ever before. We’ve seen the rise of bullying, nationalism, election meddling, fake presidents and the loss of our personal liberty.
We dived into the world of social media — totally unprepared. We lost our way and became addicted. Our platform developers, with their ever growing social media empires, became smarter and more strategic. Securing our attention became their business. Our data became the commodity.
We trade our privacy for the allure of a global soapbox. Oversharing our activities with a picture, a check in or a like. We expose almost every aspect of our lives — where we go, what we do, who we’re with and what we eat.
Our personal data is no longer personal.
It wasn’t about bringing us together, it was about building profiles, selling information and taking advantage of our blind trust.
These platform founders are driving billion dollar global businesses designed for profit not people. If we don’t fight it, it will get worse. These businesses now face many ethical questions regarding privacy protection issues and security breaches.
The irony of social media is that government security agencies would deploy enormous resources to build dossiers on individuals with the information we so readily share with the world. The FBI and KGB must be having a field day. The Orwellian state we feared, we have now willingly and collectively created. This is 1984 on steroids.
In the process of over-sharing and consuming, we also got addicted. Looking for our next ‘like’ — a hit of dopamine to keep us posting and keep us coming back to platforms designed to harness addiction. The result? We’ve become disconnected in a hyper connected world. We’ve seen the rise of bullying and gutless trolls freely spewing their vitriol. We stopped reading anything that took longer than a few minutes to scroll. Our attention span reduced to the length of a meme. In a high tech smart world, we’re becoming pretty dumb.
I’m done. I’m going to utilise my time better and protect my privacy and that’s why I’m embarking on this experiment.
It’s goodbye Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, Pinterest and Ello. There’s more to follow. I’m desperately seeking freedom and liberty. I’m seeking deeper and more meaningful connections and conversations.
I choose to be a creator not a consumer. I choose to focus on taking and sharing beautiful photos and writing thought provoking pieces rather than be sucked into an abyss of posts and fake news. I want to know what’s real and what’s not.
Whilst I will miss being instantly connected to my friends and family around the globe, I’m embarking on this journey for the greater good. I know somehow we’ll still find a way to connect. There’s always old school email. Encrypted of course.
I encourage you to consider doing the same or changing the way you play the game. Use tech responsibly. Don’t be the friend who sits on a table during a social gathering lost in your phone when your friends are in front of you. Don’t be the parent who arms their child with an iPad as a distraction, so you can do the same with your phone. Don’t be the partner who falls asleep with phone in hand instead of an embrace. This is time we never get back. We’re trading our valuable days to build data banks for corporate behemoths.
I also choose to not speak in a tweet. I don’t care if your attention span is only 30 seconds. I’ll take the time I need to tell a story and make it meaningful. In today’s world of instant gratification I choose to go slow. I choose to value and protect my privacy again and unless the situation changes and we see greater protection for our rights, my social media days are done.
I don’t know how this is going to go. I don’t know how I’ll feel in a week, a month, a year. Will I feel disconnected? Will I feel at peace? Will I be able to retrain my brain? I don’t know. What I do know, is that as father of twin boys approaching their teenage years, it’s my responsibility to help pave the way. To show them it doesn’t need to be like this. To model good behaviour. To teach them the power of listening and a good conversation builds meaningful relationships.
We need to take a stand on this. It’s a stand to highlight that it’s not ok for social media platforms to use manipulative practices to keep us hooked. It’s not ok for our personal information to be traded. It’s not ok for us as independent free thinking global citizens to accept the status quo and feel there’s no alternative.
I’ll stop all activity on social media accounts as of 1st April 2018. No, it’s no joke.
I feel lighter already. I’m looking forward to fostering even deeper connections. Call me. Let’s talk. Let’s meet.
Remember — a movement starts with a simple action.