Would the world be better without social media?

After all our social media is supposed to make friend making and socialization easier and funner, yet like many other things I feel social media has gone downhill to the maximum. This is how we get many forced memes and obnoxious political and religious trolls. And thankfully even as someone who has entered social media recently, I don’t use it so much. Haven’t browsed Facebook in 3 weeks and Instagram in like a month.

I view it as a tool, and like any other tool, it is what you the user make of it. You can use it for good or evil, or just piddle away wasting time (neutral, I guess) but it’s like a rock. It just is, and the goodness or badness comes from whoever is using that rock to pound a tent stake into the ground so they can have shelter, or to bash someone’s head in, or to line the edges of their azalea bed.

It allows near-instant communication within geographic limits or globally … that’s not always a bad thing.

I have friends and relatives all over the world. It used to be very hard to keep in touch with all of them. But nowadays, thanks to social media, I communicate with all of them on a daily basis. I consider it a huge boon. It’s the next best thing to Star Trek style transporter technology.

Case in point: a very good friend of mine recently moved to Sweden, of all places. A few years ago, that would have made me very sad. Instead, I just said, “Cool! See you on Facebook!”

We can just go to back to good ole messengers or post cards.

Social media basically had its boom around 2007-2011, and then afterwards it just seems it started becoming the ultimate home for memes and political news. There’s a reason most memes now just ignite of out nowhere.

I don’t use any of it and I don’t seem to miss out. I keep in contact with friends and family via email and phone and I never find myself wishing it was any easier or broadcast more widely. I don’t really want anyone to know what I’m doing or thinking outside of a very small personal circle.
I’m very glad I don’t have a social media presence and none of it appeals to me in any way. It has utility to some people apparently but I suspect there are many who would be better off without it. Certainly the news would be much improved without manufactured “twitter storms” or the inane ramblings that pass for public opinion.

Horses certainly pollutes our air much less that automobiles, would we be better if we went back to the good Ole days of just traveling on horses?

Cars are fine, cars everywhere all the time is not. Hence the move to pedestrian spaces, cycling and public transport systems in many cities.

But unless you move to Amish or Mennonite communities or live in small, lightly populated burgs, cars are everywhere. Unless you are a housebound shut-in, you are going to have to accept automobiles as a part of life. Social media is not at all like that. Just like The Dope, if you aren’t interested in it, just don’t engage it. I couldn’t give less of a care about social media, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, none of it. And because of this, it has not affected my life whatsover.

The air pollution from automobiles sucks, and used to suck a lot more. But horse manure and urine - and the not-so-occasional dead horse - were major problems in cities until automobiles displaced them. It wasn’t just the smells and visual blight, it was a major public health hazard, and the noise from horses and horse-drawn vehicles compromised quality of life.

Regarding social media…I suppose Sturgeon’s Law is applicable, in that most of it is worthless crap mixed in with a few very positive aspects, and this is really not much different from anything else. Anonymity and physical distance promote sharing and connection on subjects in ways that people rarely do in person (see e.g. Straight Dope), but it also enables abhorrent behavior from some (see e.g. “YouTube comments”). Take the good with the bad, I guess.

I think we may have misinterpreted each other’s points. I agree that one can live perfectly well without social media, I do, and so do you. I also think that even something as useful as a car is not seen as a societal good for all people in all places and a push-back is taking place. I don’t think we have come to the same realisation about social media just yet, but I expect it’ll come.

I think it’s terrible. I don’t see how a world where everybody’s face is stuck in a phone instead of real interaction could possibly make the world a better place. Then again, I’ve never liked it since it’s inception.

I feel obligated to check facebook once a day, to check on my “friends”. They say if you’re an observer of social media, rather than an actual participant, you’ll end up feeling worse than when you started (I hardly ever post anything other than “Happy Birthday Soandso!”). Even if I was a participant getting lots of likes, I don’t think anything is really being accomplished other than some dopamine hits. If you’re a terribly lonely person, maybe that’s “good?”

I follow a couple of people on twitter for breaking news. That’s semi useful I guess, but really is just getting me the news a little faster than I would have.

Now, do I count SDMB as Social Media? Quora? Reddit? If so, then yeah, that can be useful, because you do get some educational value there (depending on how you use it) and perspective other ideas.

So, I think it depends on what you consider social media, and how you use it. If we confine it to twitter and facebook and instagram an their ilk, I would say it’s a net negative to society.


I think that any reasonable definition of social media includes message boards like the ones we are currently talking on. Messages boards (including reddit) are designed for more in depth conversation but are most definitely forms of social media, as Mirriam Webster defines it: “Forms of electronic communication (such as Web sites) through which people create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, etc.”

Would you also say that the election of Donald Trump hasn’t affected your life whatsoever? It is probably true that if Facebook, Twitter and similar social media hadn’t existed in the 2016 election that Trump wouldn’t have been elected. For example:

I was reminded of media’s increasing encroachments just now, as Youtube has suddenly become more ad-intensive. (Or have I contracted a virus?)

Although the effects of the medium are even more pernicious than Luci’ implies, I strongly sympathize with Luciano700’s sentiments here. I note, via The Atlantic, that youth have never been more depressed, all around the world — the plunge came with the iPhone. (Yes, I’ve even been called a Luddite.)

The above was the last post from Luciano, except for those of a closed thread. His very last post may have been:

Again, I sympathize with Luciano700. I’ve never been diagnosed with autism, but get 19 out of 19 on the Internet’s take-it-yourself test for Asperger’s syndrome. :cool:
Maybe Luci’ needed to be banned. I’ve a take-it or -leave-it personality myself, and many if not most guys are happy to leave it. But perhaps his very autism gives Luci’ insight into the increasing woes of our plugged-in environment.

As a basic concept social media, twitter, facebook and such are fine. I don’t use them, but there’s nothing inherently wrong about being able to put all your personal information online for identity thieves to peruse.

However, the aspect of social media where it tries to supply you with content that is tailored to your tastes - done to make the sites seem more comfortable and appealing - is evil. This practice has led to informational ‘bubbles’ where people are inundated with media that bolsters their worldview, even if an impartial assessment of reality would show that their worldview is garbage. It’s also extremely subject to deliberate manipulation by providers of (actual) false news intended to push political idologies - people susceptible to this manipulation will be protected from seeing things that disprove it.

That part of social media is evil.

Letting people post their social security numbers on their wall is fine.

I hate social media for the time it takes away from my kids. They seem to think they have to post their whole life, their kids lives and anybody in their circle. I can say something obscure about my family and I almost always get an “oh, yea I saw that on facebook” One of my kids posted it. I tell them all the time to not post crap about me, they do it anyway. I hate that shit.

I freely share other people’s jokes and pictures while brazenly lying about my own life.

Like anything it can be abused. I still think the benefits outweigh the negatives, but I am an anonymous nobody who doesn’t get much attention. I imagine celebrities and victims of online abuse are right to condemn it, from their point of view.

People defending social media are responding only to the obvious. The perils are insidious. Start by reading the Atlantic Monthly article.