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Unequivocal devotion to social media was shortsighted, proving that hindsight is always 20/20

‘We have given so much of ourselves.’

BEBO’S POPULARITY EXPLODED shortly after I left secondary school.

shutterstock_213452899 Source: Shutterstock/Gil C

A complete novelty at the time, myself and my friends quickly signed up.

And as swiftly as our parents’ dial-up would allow, we were drawing on each other’s whiteboards, divvying out our three ‘loves’ for the day and wrecking heads with a flashbox that automatically played whenever anyone visited our page.

But like all trends, it eventually ran its course.

Bebo was quickly regulated as Facebook cast its global net, and then with the advent of Instagram, Zuckerberg’s initial passion project bid a hasty retreat, taking somewhat of a backseat to its newer, more image-orientated cousin.

While I never had a MySpace page, deleted my initial Twitter account in college (but admittedly opened another in recent years), and refused to entertain Snapchat in any way shape or form, I have been active on social media for more than a decade.

And if I’m honest, I often found it strange if I encountered anyone of the same generation, who had chosen not to add themselves to the world of social media.

Naively, I considered avoiding it an almost impossible task, and yet the older I’ve gotten, the more discerning I wish I had been about my contribution.

The few people in my circle who abstained wear smug smiles when matters regarding privacy or data breaches are brought to public attention, and laugh behind their hands when discussion turns to the resurfacing of problematic tweets.

Disclaimer: they don’t actually do this.

However, they’d certainly be entitled to given the years of scorn they were subjected to by social media-obsessed peers who dubbed them weird for refusing to ‘go online’.

shutterstock_174838673 Source: Shutterstock/quka

 

I have friends who don’t have a single social media account, and others who were decidedly careful about what they shared and who they shared it with, and a large part of me is envious.

Abstaining at a time when everyone was delving in took a hell of a lot of foresight, and myself and many others have to admit we wish we had listened a little more closely.

Frustratingly, however, even if we had given it consideration at the time, it’s highly likely that the instant gratification provided by a ‘like’ or  a retweet would have us sliding right back into that social media spiral.
 
As the years pass, I see more and more benefits to limiting social media activity, if not abstaining entirely.

Indeed, in a recent interview with Elle Magazine, Jennifer Aniston explained why she refuses to engage with social media, making her one of the few high-profile individuals without an Instagram or Twitter account, to name just two.

“The one thing I have is maintaining this little circle of sanctity that’s my own” she said by way of explanation.

If I’m sitting here posting something about my dogs or I’m Boomeranging my coffee mug in the morning, that’s just giving away one more piece of something that is mine.

Over the last ten tears, so many of us have given so much of ourselves on social media, all in search of affirmation from others.

Yes, methods have evolved, and approaches have changed, but the root motivator is, and always has been, endorsement in some way, shape or form.

Managing to avoid that temptation and not needing to seek that validation are things I didn’t deem worthy of praise in the past, proving that unequivocal devotion to social media was shortsighted while hindsight is, as always, 20/20.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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