Chuck Carroll

When People Asked If I Was 'Okay'

Published: 2024-03-09

I'm around my four year mark of deleting all of my social media accounts. It didn't all happen in a single day, but over the course of several months (probably around October 2019 through June 2020). What was interesting was when I did so, people that I hadn't heard from in a years texted or called me asking if I was okay. I appreciated the concern, but the reality was that I was for the first time in nearly a decade feeling better than okay.

I understand that not everyone experiences the same toxicity, addictive habits, or being subjected to loud but undeserving voices as I had, though I'm certain this is what the majority experience whether they consciously acknowledge it or not. I also have concerns over the subtle "nudges" of manipulation by algorithms and advertisers. I think everyone needs to ask themselves if the constant connection is worth the trade-offs.

I'm not trying to come off as self-righteous and "holier than thou", because it still seems like a never ending battle of being selective with my attention even without social media to distract me. However, turning off that valve of social media has also mitigated information junk food like news and advertising from making it's way to my mind.

There's the argument that you should just use it as a tool, that it's harmless if you're disciplined and purposeful with it. Unfortunately, that is not how the majority of humans are going to interact with it. Our toxic behavior gets amplified, making toxic people more toxic. The mainstream platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter/X, etc are also advertisement delivery systems. This system needs engagement from users in order to be profitable, so you're encouraged to share your every moment, your every thought. You should not feel an obligation to feed your thoughts into the engagement engine.

What good has social media brought the world? Misinformation, disinformation, scams, FOMO, bullying, hatred, divisiveness, narcissism, and the robbing of our attention just to name a few. It's clear that it's been a net negative for our species, but a better question to ask is "what good has social media brought me?".

I was happy that people cared enough to check in with me, but I can honestly say that deleting my social media accounts has been one of the most beneficial and overall positive things I've done for my psychological well-being and personal growth. I put it on par with kicking bad habits like alcohol and becoming "straight edge", graduating from a university, making the choice to train jiu jitsu, and taking better care of my body through diet and exercise. How I feel now without social media compared to how I felt with it is a world of difference, and it's liberating.

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