Parting ways with my last social media platform

I grew up with an x86 computer, disconnected from the internet. The internet was unheard of at that time. I think it was over a decade, perhaps two decades ago, when social media began to emerge. Back then, it attracted a different crowd, people seeking like-minded individuals to share ideas and network with. Today, the world has changed, and social media has a significantly different impact compared to its early days.

I could falsely claim that social media doesn’t influence me, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I opted out of most platforms a few years ago, retaining only LinkedIn. However, even LinkedIn was intrusive regarding privacy. Despite being able to hide many details, it was always an opt-out system, with new features enabled by default. Most of the calls I received were from people who obtained my details from LinkedIn during a brief period when the database was open and abused for data collection. With a few polite words, I managed to reduce the number of calls significantly.

In recent years, as social media platforms evolved, LinkedIn became less professional. Algorithms began showing content I disliked and posts I’d rather not see, trapping me in an “algorithm bubble.”

With hate speech, fake news, and an emphasis on showcasing idealized lives, social media didn’t improve my life. Despite hesitations due to maintaining contacts, I eventually questioned the utility of a professional network. It was a difficult decision, but the negative impact outweighed the benefits. I struggled with maintaining many contacts as an introvert, and the fear of missing out exacerbated matters.

I often contemplate my connections and their usefulness. Although promoting my projects and aiding others were significant advantages of LinkedIn, they came at the expense of my sanity.

Despite the urge to revisit LinkedIn, I find solace in the positive impact on my mental state since quitting. The 30-day grace period to reactivate an account poses a challenge, especially with ingrained browsing routines. However, I’m convinced it’s for the best.

Regarding privacy concerns, I may sound paranoid, but these platforms thrive on data, which they use to refine algorithms and AI learning. As a non-neurotypical individual, deviating from ‘default behavior’ increases the likelihood of being tracked, even with anonymity measures in place. My research on tracking software in relation to privacy has reinforced this awareness, a perspective often lacking among younger professionals in my field.

Before I conclude, I must admit to still using Instagram anonymously, without sharing personal or professional content. Despite the temptation to engage in “doom-scrolling,” I’ve managed to resist. While I’m not fond of Facebook’s practices, features like the “all caught up” notice on Instagram help manage content overload.

As for your question, I believe in the benefits of detoxing from social media. It has undoubtedly had a positive impact on my mental state.

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