Discover more from Xavier Ripoll
Moving on Backwards
Peer presure can be one hell of a behavior driver. Not only the conscious kind (although that one inflicts its own deal of damage on its own), but also the unconscious one, on both parties involved: the pressurer, who urges the other party to follow some pattern, and the pressuree, who is motivated to comply with such pattern in order to fit in a certain group.
Some of the most easily recongizable activities fueled by social pressure nowadays are those regarding communication media, in particular what we know as “social media” and “instant messaging”. These utilities can be of great avail, but, as it is increasingly acknowledged, can also be dangerous and addictive.
As someone born in the beginning of Generation Z, I've known and used messaging apps and social media most of my adolescence. But for the last years I've been trying to change that. In a search for a better mental organization (if such a thing even makes sense), I'm trying to reduce things that unnecessarily pollute my mind.
Facebook was one of the first things that I knew had to go. For years I hadn't been actively using it. I had already unfriended people who I barely knew (from back in middle school when you'd add literally anybody who went to your same school or was in your same age range), and stopped following hundreds of dumb pages that barely interested me at all. But even then I didn't like scrolling down the feed, maybe I wasn't prone to that kind of social media addiction after all.
In the end, after years of entering for periods of five minutes, changing my profile picture every year or so, and not using Messenger at all, I decided it was time to get down the train. I didn't even notice the change when I deactivated the account, maybe because I had grown out of having to “stay in touch”, maybe because Facebook was already dying out in favor of its sister app Instagram, which I'd never taken part in to begin with.
The point is: it's okay to decide by yourself which way you keep in contact with the people in your life. I've found out that WhatsApp (and, with those contacts who use it, Telegram) is more than enough for me. Even if I'm not a big fan of this app either, it's much better than keeping a cumbersome and data-filled Facebook account. In fact, instant messaging alone as a social alternative has the advantage that you only keep around those people who really care. I monthly speak to around ten or twenty different people, but I don't need more. I just need those who stick by me.
If you use Instagram or Facebook, I urge you to consider why you do so. If you look at zenithal recipe videos or cute animals falling off furniture, then this post is not about you (although this kind of mindless video and pic consumption is another issue of its own in which I also do take part a lot). But if you like to be aware of all of your acquaintance's every movement, then maybe consider whether that's necessary, or even healthy, for your brain.