Prefatial Note

This is a discombobulated rant written at four in the morning, it's not intended to be an enjoyable reader experience, it's merely intended to exist, be read, and be forgotten.


I've always held that it's hard to analyse a phenomenon when you are, to a degree, even unwillingly and critically part of it. Hence I approached the topic of social media with great circumspection. How could I adequately mull over the malefices and benefits of something I, to a degree, actively partake in?

Before continuing, I feel a cautionary note is necessary. I don't consider myself the most avid user of social media. I mainly only use Instagram for the occasional story perusing and for their miraculously dichotomic messaging feature, which manages to, simultaneously be the most intuitive and frustrating affair. I very rarely post anything, and if I do, I endeavour to make it as ephemeral as possible, always resorting to the "story" feature.

Having established myself as a social media cynic, I decided to take my cynicism to its logical culmination. I completely uninstalled everything I conceived as social media (Whatsapp included).

Excluding some light withdrawal, symptoms and lamentable, yet not psychosomatic, increase in anxiety. My life continued without much event.

Having concluded the week-long experiment, I re-installed social media and found precisely what I came to realise over the proceeding days, other people's lives do continue without you, stories, posts, comments, nothing changes, and it would ultimately be whimsical to expect anything to change.

As perspective-inducing as this is, it brings me to maybe the most important conclusion, society's unyielding necessity to shoehorn as much information as their minute phone screens can convey in the smallest amount of time is ultimately a fruitless pursuit. No matter how many pieces of information you attempt to consume, and how updated you stay with your social circle's latest pursuits, you aren't developing yourself, or your relationship with anybody.

At the risk of sounding like a senile old man, I feel that the current utilization of most social media platforms has repetitively proven itself to be a direct contributor to an ever-widening void between reality and the nitpicked reality carefully crafted on social media. I find it akin to Kant's view of reality, where we can never know the noumena hidden behind layers of filters and favourable angles.

At the very least, personally, my experiment permitted me to perspectivate, and ponder, if the inane time spent on my phone was ever to an end, or if it was merely a self-conforting exercise, that I too was included, was informed.