Is this the Matrix?

Article by Adam. H

We’re all plugged in, heads down in our phones, tablets, laptops or computers living in another realm. Social Media, the ultimate oxymoron, with every user more withdrawn and less informed. Is this the Matrix? Do I know Kung-Fu?

My new years resolution this year was to give up Social Media. That may sound bizarre to a lot of people. No more Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, going cold turkey and kicking the habit like some sort of online junkie to once again be clean.

But why?

In truth I was on there way to much, wasting a lot of time refreshing my home pages worried I may miss out on something. I still have YouTube, Whatsapp and I occasionally flip through Reddit to look at some Manga collections, I mean we all do that, right? But in truth, after 5 months of unplugging myself from constantly refreshing Facebook, Twitter or Instagram whenever I had a spare 30 seconds, I can honestly say that I don’t miss it.

From my point of view, what’s to miss? Pictures of people on their holidays who I haven’t spoken to in years? Distant family members who would rather look at my profile than pick up the phone to see if I’m OK?

Social Media is a snake that eats itself. The posting, re-sharing, rehashing of the same information over and over again. A bombardment of flashing images and colours that are suppose to excite and entice but are often boring and dull. But we each comment, share, retweet, like, dislike, thumbs up, thumbs down to have our say, like it matters.

Users of social media are like batteries, hear me out I haven’t gone mad. To function, each social media platform needs users who post content for other users. Without each of the users posting and viewing posts on the platform there would be no power, no social media.

But we all end up posting and reading utter drivel. None of us are interesting. Be honest, how many plates of food have you seen online? Why do I want to know what you had for your dinner? And if you’re not reading or posting utter drivel, you’re conscripted into viewing many adverts. It’s a mess, but someone has to make money some how.

A mistrust for traditional media has seen many intelligent and informed people take what is said on these platforms as gospel. If Brexit taught us anything, it should be that all information is manipulated. And I am not blaming Social Media for misinformation, but there needs to be regulation against users who post racial, sexist, transphobic character assassinations that are not based on truth.

Since leaving social media I have found myself becoming more social, funnily enough. Going out, doing things, meeting new people, getting fit and becoming more productive. It might not work for everyone else but by going cold turkey it has allowed me to be reborn in the real world… Like Neo in the pod? Oh, I forgot that I started this piece as a metaphor for the Matrix, I like that.

I think I will continue to give social media a miss. I am enjoying the fresh air too much, sure online I can dodge bullets just as much as the next person, but out here is much more fun.

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