New Year’s tech resolutions: giving up on social media

If I cut down on social media, I'd free up more time for my hobbies and ease my anxiety about missing out. It's a truth I know I should act on immediately, but committing to this resolution feels daunting.

A few weeks back, I tackled my longest distance yet – 12 kilometers in a winter race held in Vilnius, Lithuania's capital. Someone I know, who shares virtually every step of their running journey on social media, was genuinely surprised to discover my speed and my passion for sports.

Instead of feeling cheered by their support, I found myself unexpectedly upset.

Sports have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, albeit with occasional breaks. Nowadays, I'm into running, boxing, and yoga, among other forms of training. Yet, because I rarely post about my workouts, except for the occasional run that fills me with pride, does anyone really know? And does it even matter?

As we're about to drop the ball in Times Square and craft our New Year's resolutions – even if just for fun, not necessarily to follow through – I ponder: Would I be happier if I posted more so more people knew about my endeavors, or should I simply bid farewell to social media altogether?

A case for posting more on social media

In my bubble, many treat their Instagram feeds as personal diaries, doing "December photo dumps" as if anyone beyond themselves truly cared.

I strongly believe that chronicling every moment, especially in real-time, is a risky choice. It effectively provides a comprehensive snapshot of your life and whereabouts, serving as a detailed roadmap for any potential threat, from hackers to common thieves.

You know what's an even worse idea? Sharing images of your children where their identities are easily visible. An acquaintance of mine used to regularly post pictures of her child on social media until a day arrived when a woman showed up at her doorstep claiming that the child was actually hers, put up for adoption years ago. While such stories aren't commonplace, it's crucial to remember that children, being minors, can’t make such decisions.

Additionally, while kids are undoubtedly wonderful, don’t you have your own life to showcase instead of exposing your kids’ identities online?

What I've personally found valuable about social media isn't showcasing my life but seeking support. Struggling with weight, whether to lose or gain? Why not document your journey or seek advice from your online community? Being accountable, even to your social media friends, can significantly bolster your commitment to your goals.

Naturally, before sharing personal information and seeking advice, ensure you're on a secure social media platform and directing your message to the right audience, not broadcasting it publicly or to random followers.

Compared to my running peers, I might not have much to boast about – I'm not as fast, as

disciplined, as thin, or capable of covering long distances. However, they're an invaluable resource to me, offering insights on shoes, nutrition for endurance, handling running-related issues like blackened nails, and more. Should I tap into this knowledge pool more next year? Or perhaps opt for a more direct connection, calling someone instead of seeking attention on social media?

A case against posting more on social media

Even when we know Christmas photos on social media are fake, thanks to filters and distortions, their allure still gets to us.

AI has only made it worse. People flood networks with barely recognizable pictures of themselves resembling Ryan Gosling or Margot Robbie’s Barbie characters. AI further enforces the damaging effects of unrealistic beauty portrayal, pushing our true beautiful selves to the margins.

I often find myself doubting whether to post a certain picture on social media because it’s too real: a friend is smoking (do his relatives know?), someone’s excess fat is visible, my left eye is smaller than my right one, or simply the background of the picture is messy.

That's our nature, that's just how we are. So, what's the real purpose of trying to portray ourselves differently on social media?

We don't need more fake smiles on social media. We all face different struggles and crave connection with people going through similar things. Social media can be great for bringing people together – whether it's for support, fitness, family, or other communities. But those random public posts from long-lost "friends"? They're just window dressing. Scrolling through random feeds can be fun, but isn't there something better to do?

But it’s easy for me to step back since I don’t use social media much, except for work. I heard a colleague complaining that she went to sleep at 2 a.m. because she couldn’t stop scrolling TikTok. If you feel like you are addicted to social media or your devices, you might want to try a digital detox.

Just saying I'd ditch social media feels like a boast, akin to the old "I don't own a TV" line, as if TV's only for low-quality stuff. Instead, I'm prioritizing my hobbies and sticking to my daily reading and fitness. It leaves me with hardly any time for scrolling through social media.

I reckon it's the key to sticking with resolutions: focusing on what you'll gain, not what you'll lose.

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