Yes, I hate social media. Especially the most common ones. For the record, I have a nearly empty Facebook profile I only use to follow a few group pages. I don't send friend invites, but I may accept some if I know that person well enough. I don't have a Twitter, Instagram, or any other major social media service.
Something just doesn't seem right. Social media is not comprised of people, but of profiles, which are at best theoretical reflections of people. And this makes a huge difference.
Profiles are infinitely more malleable than real people. They can be customized, refined, and manipulated in any way possible, with minimal energy or authenticity from the individual behind it. When I talked about millennial perfectionism and the manufactured self previously, nothing more exemplifies this than the social media profile. Self building involves the creation of a perfect profile through one's idealized imagery. For some, the profile is more important than the person behind it! This is not limited to a small group of narcissists and megalomaniacs. Subconsciously, everyone hopes their virtual profile makes them appear popular, approachable, enlightening, captivating, or interesting. And virtual is the new real.
Social media usage relies on a feedback loop of approval seeking behavior. You want to be noticed. You want to be seen. You want to scream "Look at me!". You want to get likes. Then you want to be seen more, and get more likes. Nobody posts with the intention of being ignored. It's an exhausting and self-defeating process where your personal value is based and adjudicated on the affirmations of others. This can drive some crazy, especially the already insecure, who tend to flock the most to social media websites, and with the most intensity.
People use it to inflate their egos and self importance. To make them appear enlightened. That they care about a range of causes. That they are active. That they are making a difference. Social media is the natural habitat for wannabe activists, hacktivists, and keyboard social justice warriors. Others showcase a picture perfect happy life of smiling outgoing faces, cute pets, and serene backdrops. To show they are cosmopolitan, worldly, well traveled, well connected, with a diverse palate of experiences. A showcase of human hubris. These are not reflections of people, these are reflections of people's contrived versions of themselves, to various sickening degrees.
Of course, you may argue, "It's not the medium's fault, it's the people's fault". As if the design and intent is inherently pure, amoral, and a clean slate, but is unfortunately ruined by the inherent human factor. From an Islamic perspective, we have institutions (for example temporary and permanent marriage, or various other legal institutions) that we consider pure in structure and intent, but can be abused by the corrupted, wicked, and hypocritical. So does the same principle not apply? It doesn't. It's different because my faith believes that these institutions were the design of a perfect creator, who best understands our natures. That perfect creator is also its perfect judge and arbiter. I am not willing to give the same benefit towards the creators of social media sites, and I'm not willing to give its design, structure, or theory the benefit of the doubt. Why should I?
What personally matters to me is real social intimacy. Having a few close real friends, not several superficial followers. And the old and outdated mediums work just fine. Talking one on one in person. Talking on the phone. Even emailing or texting. I put quality over quantity. To go into deep conversations, a true exchange of minds and souls. I don't want to be a content generator. I want real interactions with human beings, and not with profiles. That's the dream I have. I want to take nice photos, save them in a special private folder or photo album, and share it only with those close to me. Why should I show them to everyone else? What have they done to deserve seeing them?
I'm aware of social media's positives and its benefits, but despite that, I still say no thanks. You can survive in this century without it. Prove to me in 40 years that "Facebooking" will still exist as a verb. Time is fast and cruel, and flawed mediums will always bite the dust. True and genuine relationships with others will always last.