I was an early adopter of social media... my Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn accounts all kicked off around 2006/7 - and once again I find myself an early adopter as I join the ranks of millions of people around the world who are shutting down their social media profiles.
In fact, a recent Princeton University study estimates that Facebook will lose 80% of its users by 2017, likening Facebook and other social media platforms to an infectious disease that the societal immune system is finally fighting back against.
Then in my research to verify the Princeton article and understand all the sides of the story before writing this article, I found the following interactive piece, which, if you have 15 minutes to spare is an eye-opening take on how social media is devastating the world we live in and creating the societal problems we face: Take a look here.
I'm an avid video avoider on the Internet, but this had me transfixed and is well worth the time to watch. It also gave me the encapsulating theme for the thoughts I'd gathered and a perfect way to angle this piece. (Thanks for that Guardian!)
The Seven Deadly Digital Sins
1. Greed It's not about real connections any longer; social media has made us greedy for an audience.
If you're on someone's friends' list and you haven't sat down around a table with them, or even shared a Skype or call in the past three years, that's all you actually are - their audience.
It's all about popularity nowadays: how many people on my friends' list, how many people liked what I just posted, how many people have liked my company's page?
The greatest threat somebody can make in today's digital age?
I'm removing you from my friends' list... because you dared to push back, disagree with me or expect more of me than my self-importance allows me to think I should give you.
Well go ahead please, because unless I spend evenings and weekends alongside you, not having you in my audience on social media is actually just plain not going to affect my life.
And it's really sad that you think it will.
2. Wrath Haters of the world unite - because your hating and shaming is taking over the world.
Just as you can be lambasted and attacked for anything you dare to publish in digital media, now you can be attacked for anything you say in disagreement in real life too.
I blame the like button personally.
You can like or love something, quietly disagree or comment - but those are your choices really: agree or shut up.
If you don't agree and you dare to voice it, you'll be attacked, called rude and confrontational and even a hater yourself; you'll be shamed, classified difficult or impossible to work with - or those near and dear to you will pay the price.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven Vices – Wrath. In his day wrath was expressed up close and personal. Nowadays, too often it is expressed very personally - but at a distance... via social media. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Have a question about a policy at your child's school? Don't dare ask a question or voice an opinion because the teachers will take it out on your child. Disagree with something your boss says? Well keep quiet in case you get fired.
Social change does not happen unless we have debate - and debate is usually hot, heated, and passionate.
However, we've lost the ability to be passionate about the facts - now we argue the person and not the point.
We are killing ourselves by eliminating controversy and alternate opinions, and paralysing ourselves into societal inadequacy as a result.
3. Lust Attitude is everything according to the many overflowing motivational posts that we are bombarded with every day - and a good attitude means that everyone likes you and lusts to be in your presence.
Um, except it's not.
The attitude they're referring to is the attitude that lies inside you - are you at peace when you fall asleep at night? And can you fall asleep without sleeping tablets?
Are you awake, energised, and refreshed when you wake up in the morning - and can you get going without artificial stimulants and antidepressants?
Or are you a miserable wreck that is secretly falling apart at the seams because you're so desperate to have people "like" you and lust after being around you (i.e. on your friends' list) that you cannot live aligned to your truth or walk your talk?
As a coach and marketing person, day after day I deal with people who are entirely not aligned to what they truly want, who make decisions based only on what people around them think - even when it is in total contradiction to what they really want.
This and similar experiments show that 75% of people will agree with a point of view - even if they know it's wrong - for fear of being isolated from the crowd.
Some will even go as far as electrocuting people that they know this bears a health risk to, because they have been "given permission" to do it by a crowd (peer pressure) or an authority figure, as is the case with the Milgram experiment.
If you live your life for other people, you will never know peace because you aren't walking your talk.
If you live your life making decisions based on what other people will think of you then you have no right to think of yourself as special. You will never be a leader because what you are is a "sheep".
If I have to choose between character and reputation, I choose character every time - because the only person in my head when I go to sleep at night is me.
4. Envy Oh how beautiful people's lives look from the outside: their curated, filtered, edited lives, where you never see the messy bits and the difficult choices they have to make.
That's pretty self-explanatory; but what's arisen from it is this expectation that somehow the beautiful and successful people are responsible for making the rest of us feel better about our own existence.
Huh? How and when did that happen?
If someone has done or achieved something in their life, whether it's losing weight, building a business, quitting smoking, building a successful relationship, they are not obligated to pass that onto you.
You can do it the hard way too - in fact you have to do it the hard way, otherwise it will never work! This is the secret that successful people know.
This idea that we have to uplift and improve people who will not do so for themselves is killing us economically, financially, spiritually, and emotionally.
If you want to build the economy you do it by giving money to rich people, because they'll do what they've always done - create jobs.
When you give money to the poor man, he just comes back for another handout the very next day.
Teach a man to fish I believe the Bible calls it.
5. Pride The Internet - and especially social media - runs on content, and so content creators proliferate and abound.
This means everyone has a voice.
You don't have to produce great writing anymore, you don't have to have achieved anything in life and you don't have to make it past journalists and editors anymore - if you can write something you can publish it.
This has vastly exaggerated people's own sense of self-importance.
Nowadays people believe that their opinion always matters, that people don't have the right to disagree - and when they do, they're haters.
But get out into the real world and your boss is going to come back at you for not having communication skills or being a team player or doing your job properly.
So what can you do except complain bitterly about it and retreat further and further into your cocoon of one, surrounded by your community of Internet friends - all likewise rotting away on their couches under a pile of junk food wrappers and ice cream tubs.
One day though you're going to snap and go on a shooting rampage and killing spree - because the messaging that's being reinforced is not what you're experiencing in the world out there.
6. Sloth Likewise, this idea of motivation and that everyone's opinion matters and that everyone is special has made us slothful.
In short, we're breeding a society of lazy, entitled people.
You don't have to work hard to be heard anymore, you don't have to develop yourself or grow as a person, overcoming trials and tribulations - there's nothing left to aspire to.
Fat and unhappy? Don't change your body; go find a tribe who will tell you that fat is sexy and beautiful and that many people find fat bodies sexy.
What do they care when you're still single and lonely and miserably unhappy under your pile of empty ice-cream tubs and antidepressant containers 5 years later?
They'll still be there to love your post ranting about how unfair the world is - because their lives are equally as miserable as yours.
7. Gluttony I want everything and I want it now - and I don't want to have to lift a finger to work for it.
Or simply put, instant gratification.
People must love my pictures and call me beautiful in droves. I don't have to meet society's standards for beautiful and sexy - the world must adjust its views to meet what I look like.
Or, my personal favourite, they must love me for who I am on "the inside."
We want it all... Now! (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Well, here's a wake-up call: people are on the outside what they are on the inside. The most beautiful people I've known are beautiful inside and out.
The ugliest people on the inside can usually be spotted a mile away by their countenance and appearance.
I've opened a business - where are my clients? Why aren't they rushing to my company in droves just because we've opened the doors? And why do I have to do the legwork and show value just to get them to come?
Unhappy in your relationship? Don't put time and effort in and grow your communication skills - hit up on that ex of yours who's just broken up with her boyfriend because he was also a useless louse, of course.
Or better yet, declare yourself polyamorous so that you have person B to run to when the going gets tough in your primary relationship.
We're digging our own graves...
And I, like many millions of people around the world, won't stand by quietly and watch it happen anymore.
People are standing up and speaking out and demanding more and more and more from life, more from their relationships and more truth in their worlds.
And yes - for the haters who are going to research this and come back saying I'm still on Facebook - I did keep one social media profile because it's linked to the most amazing virtual and international Mastermind group I could ever hope to be a part of. And I love taking on haters publicly in cyber space ? So let's debate.
Social media has maybe been an eye opener and built a global village, but its time in the guise that we've known it is coming to an end.
Chemory Gunko is a seasoned Creative Director, a certified NLP Practitioner, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy Practitioner, Energy ReSourcing Practitioner & Life Coach, among others. She works as a marketing consultant and provides copywriting, SEO, graphic design and Joomla! website services.
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Deleted Facebook a year ago. Best thing I ever did. All it is a sick competition to see whose life is better. A status is like a religious confession. You hope someone is listening so they can acknowledge you and make you feel better about your life.
As with virtually anything in the world there is always going to be a dark side to it. Yes it may create certain societal problems but I still think there a number of benefits that social media creates for cultures, subcultures and even old friends to connect. I don't think the answer is to completely neglect the medium but rather to find your own place within it. The ability to connect with people I haven't seen in years has helped me out many times and if it weren't for social media those people would probably have been lost to me. So many times I've heard my parents say "I wonder where [such and such a person] is". I may not ever talk to these people but I find it interesting to see the paths that people take through life, I'm not doing it to compare myself to them but really just for my own interest. Similar comments about social media could be said about cell phones. Should we throw those away? Or TV? Or the media? And what about the calendar? Or 24 hour time? You could argue that they're controlling our lives just as much as social media.
At a dinner party last week a guest left the table and disappeared Whats Apping for half an hour. We finished our meal and dessert and eventually her boyfriend had to retrieve her out of the bathroom. Unforgiveable discourtesy to her hosts........!!!! She was unabashed!
Yes you do see that a lot I agree.... my partner lives in Aruba and we're in a long distance relationship (hopefully not for much longer!!!), so I've even been guilty of that, so I have empathy for mitigating circumstances, but I do try and limit that to when it doesn't impact other peoples' time.
Did you watch the Guardian piece I linked to? In the lust section, the lady interviewed couldn't make it through the interview without stopping to tweet and reply to tweets. Likewise she's given up on relationships and live-in boyfriends, because her relationships interfere in her twitter time.
It's like the youngsters who all get together at a party and then sit around Facebooking and Tweeting the whole time - those are the extremes that get to me.
I'm actually in agreement with you there - you only have to try and cancel some accounts to find out how desperately some of the big companies want to hang onto you and your data.
Currently in the process of trying to get hold of Google to sort out a client problem. Give that a go - it's actually damn near impossible to find a way to contact them. And you should see the palava to cancel a Google+ page.
I'm not scared of data and databases, but that has been an eye opening experience that has really made me think twice.
I dont do FB as I have a real life nor do I have the time. All I can say about social media is that job hunting (except for Bizcom) is a waste of time and is robbing already desperate people, internet does not come cheap. Greedy people are making a lot of money out of those unemployed and desperate. This should be properly investigated and stopped.
Thank you so much Chemory.I realised how people including myself are living according to dogma,because of what we envy and see on faceboo.It has made a great impact in my life,I made friends and connections,hence it took over my life.I started following the crowd,lost my poise and voice in the midst of wanting to be part of the crowd.Thank you so much for this,it inspired me a lot and I agree with you,this is the absolute truth about our society.I am tired of following people and wasting precious time,whereas I could be doing something to improve my communication skills.Please do not be discouraged,we love yand support you for speaking your mind and telling the truth as is.
That post was not a personal attack, it was based on the content of this article.
The article mentions about how people make Facebook posts expressing their opinions in the hopes of getting likes. How is that different from posting an article on Bizcommunity hoping that people would respond positively. Isn't that essentially the same thing apart from the fact that Facebook are people you may know as opposed to a more public forum such as this.
I am not intending to attack anyone personally, I just think that social media isn't the demon people say it is. I have not seen anyone or even heard of anyone who has negatively been impacted by social media and therefore do not see the harm.
I have, however, seen people benefit enormously by gaining self worth, reclusive people have their voices heard when they are too shy in the physical world, people have made livings and businesses and real world success through social media.
To weigh up the pro's and con's it would be a landslide.
I was able to re-connect with 2nd cousins who I have never met from Australia over facebook and they flew over to visit. Thanks to Facebook.
Social networking will never go away so long as people feel the need to communicate efficiently and quickly with people. Deleting your FB account is the adult equivalent of running away from home I feel.
That's my opinion and I would put that opinion on my facebook page because an opinion is an opinion and an audience is an audience.
Im an old guy , 55 , and social media has opened up a new world of new people . With a combination of FB and Tinder , I have discovered the "hobby" of anthropology ..To be able to hook up with unusual and beautiful people from far away and then to travel to their country and meet is mind blowing . My collection of "beautiful butterflies" is growing by the day .Thank you social media !
Old friends and relatives on FB .. yea , yea ..boooring .....
@BRUCE - "The article mentions about how people make Facebook posts expressing their opinions in the hopes of getting likes. How is that different from posting an article on Bizcommunity hoping that people would respond positively"
Hi Bruce - but the piece talks to how people people are acting in society as a result of social media.
I admit social media has it's place, and like the dot-com bubble bursting and the Internet evolving into something different, it too will evolve into something different.
There are always going to be exceptions to any experience - and I'm really glad that you have had such positive experiences. Most people don't lead lives like that though and aren't there to reconnect and forge real relationships.
What I can extrapolate from your piece is that family and blood relations are important to you - I sit on the flipside completely: just because someone is blood doesn't mean I need to have a connection with them. Just because someone was once a friend, it doesn't mean that they still are years later. People come and people go and you evolve and change along the way - it's rare that you find that people still have the same fixed values so many years later.
I for example am deeply spiritual and into woo-woo stuff; a lot of my past friends are happy-clappy Christians and we just have completely different views on the world and life that don't really allow for the free flow of information. I say, you're sick? Have a session done... and then land up being accused of being a Satanist. I had someone spring an exorcism on me once.
You use social media for a positive purpose and I applaud you on that, I really do. It shows your development and maturity. The vast majority of people though don't, they haven't evolved or developed or changed - most people are stuck in fact.
I love the social aspect for uses like the mastermind I belong to, interesting pieces of news and views and opinions. I love engaging in social debates with people about social issues and hearing the differing points of view. I love the instant access to people who have emigrated and my woo-woo spiritual friends who are based all over the world. I think those kinds of uses are all wonderful things.
The issue for me here is really how it trickles down into society and the mass impact it's having on people who aren't mature enough to have grown their voices.
You're obviously an intelligent man who has earned your voice and the right to speak, so you know the responsibility that goes along with that. Many however don't - and the thing that really got me thinking was the Elliot Rodger case: would he have gone off the rails if he didn't have the support of the PUAHate forum?
Have you gone on reading about that - have you seen the thousands of other girls that have been raped and killed by guys who belonged that forum and others similar? 15-year-old girls strangled and then driven over repeatedly until they were dead, because they wouldn't have sex with a stranger who stopped on the side of the road and told them to do it?
Obesity is another one; the other night I heard a stat that over 25% of people in the UK are classified clinically obese - the NHS now pays for gastric bypass surgery because it's such an issue. Yet we still find endless posts about how fat is sexy and beautiful - even though some of the greatest health issues faced among people are weight-related nowadays. There's loads of skinny-shaming though.
Employees who come into work with such a deep sense of entitlement that once they have the longed-for position, they abuse it endlessly, treating doing actual work as if it is an interference in their social lives. A recent post mentioned how at just past midnight, people were waiting by the ATM to draw their whole salaries before the debit order "thieves" could steal it from their accounts. That blows my mind - people are losing their sense of responsibility.
The endless motivational posts tell everyone that they are perfect the way they are, they don't need to change and that is filtering through to everyday life: poor service everywhere, lack of commitment in jobs and relationships, lack of focus and hard work. Attitude nowadays means everyone likes you, not that you're at peace with yourself.
Societal pressures exist so that those who have not yet evolved to think for themselves have a framework in which to operate, an understanding of where the boundaries are and what's acceptable. We're losing those pressures at the rate of knots.
A woman finds another woman's clothes in her husband's cupboard - she doesn't talk to him, her first response is to post it on Facebook. Facebook affairs are listed as a major cause of break ups and divorces nowadays. People make posts about their personal lives and then let the group mentality decide what their actions should be.
I personally have had a major relationship end because my ex-partner couldn't stop talking to and engaging with women through Facebook. The last time I caught him, there were over 150 emails with different women; well 150 is where I stopped reading, my self-esteem couldn't take the bashing anymore.
Anything when used well has positive impacts. The thing is that the majority of people are abusing these platforms senselessly and taking the messaging they see on without the balance of the reverse messaging. People are getting more and more stuck, because if they are already perfect and wonderful and special, then what is there for them to work towards and aspire to?
I'm all for people who have built a powerful voice through what they have done and achieved standing up and speaking out, but those people are becoming fewer and rarer every day - and it's a domino effect.
Similarly, if we go with the motivational thinking attitude of your head creates your world, then we are creating a world of animal abusers and people with cancer because you are flooded with it nowadays.
The old social rule used to be: avoid discussion on sex, religion and politics - now everyone is pushing those opinions ad nauseum on the social web - I've deleted the pushy Christians now, because Facebook has become Bible-bashing central and it's not something I choose to be exposed to. I live in a democratic country where I can make my choices about what I believe and where my soul is going.
I applaud you for utilising social media in a positive and inspiring way - would love to see you writing about it and spreading the knowledge and model for how it can be powerfully and positively used to make a good impact, because the world needs role models like that. I look forward to your upcoming article in fact :)
Thank you, I believe you have captured the current situation accurately. There is good and bad in social media ... but the bad is begining to outweigh the good ... we need to re-adjust and get back to balance...for the sake of our young ones (I have a teenager and his whole generation is showing signs of attention deficit and other worrying things like a diconnect with reality - too complex to mention here) Once agin, thanks and congrats on your piece.
I get it that if someone finds their partner flirting with other women or even worse having an affair via Facebook it can influence your thoughts on the social media platform. Also I can see that if friend and family networks aren't an important part of one's life then the use for Facebook can become redundant.
However, most people don't have these experiences and embrace the fantastic networking potential to benefit their lives.
It deters people from cheating on their partners as Facebook will reveal all. People are too scared to get caught so therefore don't cheat. Kids don't smoke as parents will see the picks when uploaded to Facebook. Basically it polices adolescents to an extent (not entirely obviously).
And the best part of facebook, absolute best. It records my life chronologically year by year so one day when I am 70 years old I will be able to see my life in its entirety and never lose my memory of who was important in my life during each stage. That in itself is the greatest gift you could give to an old man losing his memory.
Great Article! I'm in my 50's, and have never been comfortable with social media. I have no interest in the details of other peoples lives, and find it creepy that so many people are obsessive about it, and how easily people are influenced by it. The privacy issue reared it's ugly head on a radio show this morning, the discussion was about the Facebook messenger app which can switch on your phone's microphone and camera remotely without your knowledge (although by downloading the app you give them permission by accepting the T's and C's). We are moving into that Big Brother sci-fi territory, where our whereabouts, and public and private behavior, is available to anyone who's interested, and face recognition can pick us out of a crowd in a train station, WITH OUR PERMISSION! I can only assume that the desperation to fit in, to have our say, to be constantly visible and in the loop, to be able to voice an opinion (no matter how twisted and evil), is driving us culturally and morally insane. As the article mentioned, a ridiculous percentage of people are willing to lie about their real opinions in order to fit in with the crowd, even if they know it's wrong. This means that they are controllable............. And I'll stop right there!
"Give money to rich people" -- DUMB! They don't create jobs. They keep it in their bank account. Give money to working and middle classes, and they spend it, circulating the money throughout every sector, which is how an economy grows.
And putting Bible shit.. Seems like this author is having his own problems with control and can't handle his own drug.
this is the best article ever and brings me great happiness to learn that FB will lose 80% of members by 2017. Social media is making our kids brain dead, always on phone in gatherings and living a fake life. I agree with all points. FB is surely detrimantal to any relationship especially a good looking woman who will constantly get bombarded with messages, only a matter of time before she gives in to a handsome bloke. Social media = cause of great evils and backwardness in society!!!!