About social media - and smartphones too, actually

. 2 min read

I mentioned yesterday that I don't use social media. By social media here I mean Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. I do watch videos and listen to music on Youtube, though. But that's as close as it gets. I also don't own a smartphone or have any instant messaging apps, like Whatsapp, on my phone. My phone is so old it doesn't even have internet in it. (I bought it from a dinosaur some 200 million years ago.)

Most people automatically assume everyone has social media accounts and at least that instant messaging app mentioned above and when they hear I don't, they usually ask why. My answer is, "because I have a life." This is often followed by laughter - because, I assume, those people consider having these things as life itself.

But for me it's, well, death?

I admit I tried Facebook and Twitter once. Least to say it was not a good idea. All I did on Facebook was go through other people's pictures, trying to figure out what they were up to, and embarrassing myself by not understanding the unspoken rules of conduct (like whose posts you can comment and whose not). Twitter was no better - I would just read through other people's feeds and check ten times a day if someone had liked my tweet. I didn't do much else. I ended up deleting both accounts soon after making them.

So yeah, death is the appropriate word, even if not literally. At least it's close enough.

And what about smartphones and Whatsapp? Sometimes I think having internet on the go would make life easier because I wouldn't have to memorize train schedules. But there is no other advantage. And when you think about it, memorizing train schedules is probably good exercise for your brain.

What would happen if I now got a smartphone? I don't know for sure but I'm guessing I'd become dumber (because there would be no need to remember anything by heart), I'd be constantly distracted (because I'd have to get Whatsapp and that would beep all the time), and I wouldn't read books anymore (because I would check emails during commuter time instead). Only downsides.

On the other hand, not having Whatsapp and the smartphone it requires has one major upside. You will find out who your true friends are. I've lost friends because I didn't get Whatsapp when it became hot. I must say I hadn't realized until then that those weren't the people I wanted in my life. The ones that remained respected my choice and continued using text messages and actual phonecalls to reach me. Or email. (Email's fantastic. Comes from electronic mail. You should try it.)

I touch my Jurassic phone maybe three times a day, mostly to check the time if I'm not wearing a wristwatch. Nowadays I even have it on mute. When I spend time with people I actually look at them and talk with them. I use my hands to make demonstrating gestures and shake people's hands and greet them instead of typing and swiping that little devil. Therefore I dare say I get more done and have higher quality relationships than those that live through their phones.

You'd think that an introvert would be more comfortable with playing with their phone instead of interacting with others. But comfortable is not what I'm after!