How I use Social Media: Then vs Now
My mind changed, so did the way I use social media.
By Fabian Lee | March 01, 2020
6 min read • Loading views
Texting: WhatsApp, LINE, Telegram
Life Sharing: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat
If I were to be 100% accurate about what I was using back then. Those good old social media predecessors like MSN, Xanga or simple SMS would also be on the list. They were there during my entire childhood. Time went by and new technology emerged. We all simply jumped onto the new bandwagon.
I always had that eagerness in trying new apps in the past. Curiosity is part of our teenage personal growth in fact. Usually, the reason why I tried them was because they all had their own gimmick. WhatsApp is free and we don't have to pay for texting anymore. Snapchat brought the user experience of texting into a new level by marrying photo sharing and texting. Telegram beats WhatsApp in every way from unlimited cloud storage backup to a variety of stickers. And it still holds up today in my opinion.
I suppose we all know what's so special about Facebook and Instagram already. They changed how I spend my leisure time. When I'm on my phone or computer, I'm either doing something productive or mindlessly scrolling through post feeds.
The purpose of social media is to let us stay connected anytime and anywhere. They serve the purpose extremely well that it started to cause mental issues for me. They became my daily routine for no proper reason. I would go through all the social media apps, reading random feeds from friends and spamming likes. And whenever I text or post something, part of me was always hoping to get some reactions from others. It's like constantly seeking attention and approval from others.
The last seen time and blue ticks from WhatsApp, the hollow arrow from Snapchat. These features stung me from time to time when I realized my unnoticeable importance. I became sort of addicted to short bursts of pleasure from people's reaction in general.
This habit further led me to depression. I would look at myself in the mirror and compare my ordinary life with friends' seemingly fruitful ones. Seeing photos from people I once felt close but now distanced. I felt weak and worthless. I lost my concentration in almost everything for a period of time. Gaming was my escape, at least I felt in control. Writing music was also one for me to express my thoughts but it would actually keep me in a depressed state. Perhaps at that moment, I finally realized the downside of social media.
Texting: WhatsApp, Telegram
Professional Sharing: LinkedIn, Twitter
Pure Browsing: Facebook, Instagram
I got more sentimental as I grow up. I'm more aware of people's emotion as well as mine. I guess you could say it contributed to my depression. But it is also what kept me from falling deeper. The sensible side of me kicked in and told me I'm wasting too much energy mourning about my imaginary pathetic life.
Ironically, YouTube, a semi social media platform brought me back up. I stumbled across different YouTube channels with inspiring stories.
- Brad Traversy who struggled with drugs and alcoholism at a young age, taught me how to code and dedication does payoff.
- Casey Neistat who makes storytelling vlogs that taught me to remember the pain and work the fullest to be better.
- Thomas Frank who makes productivity video taught me how to organize my life and work.
The list goes on but there's one thing in common. I'm unconsciously practicing the philosophy of Stoicism.
It explains that while we may not always have control over the events affecting us, we can have control over how we approach things.
Once I valued others opinions more than mine.
Comparing as if I have nothing precious in life.
Having the perception of injury while it's merely a thought in mind.
Don't get me wrong that I'm discarding all my emotions. Consciousness and emotions are what make us human after all. I focused on adjusting my perception on what contributes to my own happiness and fulfillment. This is where I started removing some unnecessary social media apps and picking up new ones that brings value to my life.
LinkedIn and Twitter are the two platforms that I started using more lately. I follow companies, leaders or influencers in topics that I'm interested in. They provide insightful content like sharing views on tech trends, world politics and news. They structure vast information to help me stay connected to important issues happening around the world. If I were to use social media everyday, it's better to read about life-changing content than photos of friends sitting on a balcony in Santorini captioning "Life is good".
I do still text and go on Facebook and Instagram but less frequent. I don't have the urge to constantly share my day on these platforms anymore. And I don't cling on people's virtual life nor showing off mine. I learnt to enjoy my time doing what feels best for me and appreciate the little steps I take. I could be learning something new from books and videos. I could be gaming and having a great time with friends. I could be sharing my deep thoughts here. Even if no one realizes my work, I'm still thankful for being a better self day by day.
I did lose connection with people that I used to know. It is unfortunate but I don't blame people for finding me hard to interact with. Some are who I chose to part ways with. From a different perspective, I get to know who are the people that fate bind us together. I'm grateful for friends who still accept me for who I am.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
I'll end my thoughts with this one last quote 😄