I’m zagging from the typical hot take that social media is too addictive and ruining minds across the world (though I do believe that’s true). My hot take is that social media is boring, and knowing that you’re the product they’re selling / they want to keep you on the app as long as they can makes me hate it.
Below is a hyperbolic description of how they’ve changed over time.
Used to get: Breaking news, funny tweets, and, bizarrely, friends tweeting things
Currently get: Occasional breaking news, ads every 4th tweet, and accounts trying as hard as they can for engagement (sometimes it’s funny), mostly around politics and sometimes sports.
This is probably still the ‘most’ useful, but it’s obviously changed. Back in the day friends I followed actually tweeted stuff. Now it’s strictly for big accounts. I hate the word, but the comments on everything are toxic. I find myself seeking out the most outrageous ones which isn’t good. And people with useful info are always plugging something as well. News is often first shown there, but what does it matter? I’m going to find out the news within 5 minutes of when it breaks on Twitter from texts anyway.
Used to get: Posts from friends, funny videos from curated accounts
Currently get: AI ‘thought you might like‘ posts, big accounts pushing advertisements, very few friend-posts but a lot of friend-stories, Slade sending me reels.
I used to go on Instagram multiple times a day. I took the icon off my phone so now I only go once every day or two. When I go on, it doesn’t even show me the posts I missed from the friends I follow. It just shows me one or two posts from followings and then a bunch of AI suggestions from accounts I don’t follow which makes me want to delete it forever. A lot of people post stories which I used to mindlessly click through rapid fire, but now don’t check at all unless it’s someone I actually care about.
Used to get: Pictures of friends and updated relationship statuses.
Currently get: Suggested posts & political memes from people I haven’t seen in ten years.
Facebook has been dead for years for anyone below 40 but it’s become an AI grave yard. It’s just suggested post after suggested post with a few older people posting irrelevant things and then one or two people from my high school / college years getting into political arguments. Aside from the Give Nothing group, which proved very useful during my move, Facebook is useless.
I was late to the game on Reddit, only becoming a regular user a year or two ago. Before I ever used it, I used 4chan a lot (forgive me), and they wrote on 4chan that Reddit sucks because it’s a circle jerk of everyone trying to either be funny or post the best gotcha post / response they can find. Generally speaking that’s pretty true. It’s mostly left leaning people making these super generalized ‘great points’ to each other about X is stupid, which comes back to the circle jerk.
That said, this is the one I use the most. I feel least like a product on this, and the information is usually interesting or entertaining. Additionally, sub of the subreddits are immune to this circle jerk. r/idiotsincars is the best. I could look at that board for hours.
What’s my point? When I can see the algorithms trying their hardest to keep me on these apps, it’s a huge turnoff and makes me want to quit social media completely. If I could push that aside, I’m sure I’d be completely sucked into whichever one I was using, but the knowing is the killer. And I don’t even use TikTok! We’re ‘optimized’ for the most addictive apps possible. Rebel!