I’d been having a love-hate relationship with social media from day one. On the night of June 8th, 2015, I decided I’ve had enough and deactivated my Facebook page and Twitter account.
I didn’t have the courage to tell everyone before doing it. Had I done that, there’d be so many requests to reconsider that I would’ve yielded. It’s happened a couple of times before.
So, thanks a lot for encouraging me all these days on Facebook on Twitter. Those of you who did are the good reasons to be on Facebook and Twitter. But I need to move on.
Let me explain why.
I had given up on smartphones because they make life too complicated, so I used to use my old-style desktop to post updates.
This means having to sit, and once you sit down, you tend to sit longer!
Since I want to live long, I wanted to get rid of this health hazard.
I hear you say “that’s what a smartphone is for”. Yes, they give you mobility, but they cut you off from the world, make you bump into people, vehicles, streetlights, and what not.
They even deprive you of the peace of shit.
2. Amplified whispers aren’t a good thing
The world was never supposed to know about every whisper of yours.
They’re almost never fully formed thoughts, so they don’t deserve to be amplified so as to go outside the confines of your head. Sometimes, discrete whispers spread over a week or month add up to a meaningful message in your head.
But Facebook and Twitter make you broadcast each whisper as it surfaces. Because of all the busy newsfeeds and timelines, you tend to acquire an ‘update or perish’ mentality.
Everyone doesn’t get every whisper on their newsfeed or timeline, and even those that do don’t put them all together like you do.
The result: miscommunication.
3. High-speed communication is leading to low-quality relationships
When communication is slow, it has a value all by itself.
There was a time when a trusted human messenger (what was he called?) used to take the message from the sender and go and deliver it by hand to the recipient.
This was slow, but for that very reason, you had no option but to craft your message with care. You had to make sure you included everything you needed to include, and nothing more.
You also had to make sure there’s absolutely no way your message could be misinterpreted. This way, real relationships used to be built. People like Gandhi ran freedom movements like this.
Fast forward to today.
One click of a button on Facebook or Twitter, and your message reaches your audience in a split-second.
As a result the sanctity of communication is lost. It’s not a big deal to send a message to anyone anywhere in the world and have him or her reply in real-time.
You subconsciously think you can patch up errors in your message because it’s fast and cheap, but that’s easier said than done.
What really happens is that your message loses quality. It’s not crafted with care anymore. It doesn’t have everything it needs to have anymore. It often has stuff other than what it needs to have.
Therefore, your messages are now more than ever misinterpreted.
This is a recipe to destroy relationships.
4. There’s too much crap
There’s way too much activity on Facebook and Twitter for your voice to stand out (unless it’s standing out outside of these two already).
Your message on the importance of such and such a thing for a nation’s future has to compete with pictures of cats.
Before you know, your message acquires a catty odor which you didn’t put in.
5. Sponsored content is slowly taking over
Facebook and Twitter are slowly prioritizing sponsored content over organic.
I was shocked to know that Facebook doesn’t even show your posts to all your page’s followers.
Twitter ads are becoming quite common.
And as I said, nobody cares for these ads, so I won’t advertise myself. Not that I have the money.
Why pay to get noticed when nobody notices anyway?
6. Inbound is better than outbound
I’m old enough to have lived in the age of no social media, and young enough to have blogged nevertheless.
I mean people were actually reading stuff on them, commenting, etc., without me sharing it on any social media.
I hadn’t even heard of the thing then. Clearly, people were coming for the content, and I could also focus entirely on content.
After The Pyramid of Corruption was published, I thought it necessary to get on to Facebook and Twitter to promote it. Many of my colleagues advised me to do it, and I followed their advice.
It was the ‘work’ part of writing a book. Getting on to the rooftop and shouting about my book, I mean. But I’ve had enough of it.
The worst part of it is repeating myself.
It’s like my daughter saying ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and then going on the rooftop and shouting ‘I said twinkle twinkle little star’, ‘You know what, I said twinkle twinkle little star’, ‘I really said twinkle twinkle little star’ and so on until enough people notice.
I’ve started to think it’s stupid to continue this. My plan now is to blog and hope someone reads it.
7. It’s impossible not to feed the trolls
I learned it the hard way that I shouldn’t feed the trolls if I intend to remain sane. But it’s difficult. No, it’s impossible not to feed the trolls.
They troll for the simple reason that you say something on Facebook or Twitter. Ban them, block them, and they still look at your posts from an incognito window and troll.
Worst kind of human scum, these guys.
Very often, they troll because I myself mis-communicate — I should say Facebook and Twitter force me to. Well, I wouldn’t care if they troll and I never get to know, but I do get to know from the good guys!
From now on, therefore, I will make it next to impossible for the trolls to reach me. I can’t stop them from trolling because that’s their swadharma, but they will find it very difficult to appear in front of me.
I’m human. I can’t take their shit, especially when they live on stuff I’ve myself wrongly communicated.
It’s not how I communicate that I wish to work on. It’s what. It’s harder work than writing a Facebook post or posting a tweet, and these two activities, if indulged in, make it harder if I’m on them.
The trolls are there to ensure it gets harder. I want to turn my own mike off so that the trolls don’t shout on theirs after listening to me.
I’m not in the business of shouting from rooftops. I’m in the business of deciding for myself what’s worth saying in a normal voice to normal people.
If there are people who find my decisions good, good. Else, no big deal. It’s a big deal only if I myself shout from the rooftop.