On Disconnecting from Social Media

I’ve flirted with the idea of scrubbing my social media presence for a while now - aside from being a time-suck, we’re entering an era where these giant conglomerates aren’t just ethically ambiguous anymore, they’re starting to seem downright morally bankrupt. Eco chambers and bubbles are also deceiving and depressing given the times we live in.

Jaron Lanier has a new book where he outlines why everyone should delete their social media accounts (right now!) that I found particularly good at articulating why I eventually bit the bullet and deleted all my social media profiles.

Argument 1: You are losing your free will.

Argument 2: Quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times.

Argument 3: Social media is making you into an asshole.

Argument 4: Social media is undermining truth.

Argument 5: Social media is making what you say meaningless.

Argument 6: Social media is ruining your capacity for empathy.

Argument 7: Social media is making you unhappy.

Argument 8: Social media doesn’t want you to have economic dignity.

Argument 9: Social media is making politics impossible.

Argument 10: Social media hates your soul.

Recommended reading: Do You Have a Moral Duty to Leave Facebook?

On Devices and Behavior

With the recent Apple Watch and iPhone announcements, a couple of things stand out. There’s a pronounced way our behavior is being molded by these products.

Apple Watch Series 4 comes with the ability to take ECG measurements. While this sounds immensely useful, my wife pointed out this would potentially contribute to self-diagnoses and anxiety.

"Do you wind up catching a few undiagnosed cases? Sure. But for the vast majority of people it will have either no impact or possibly a negative impact by causing anxiety or unnecessary treatment," says cardiologist Theodore Abraham, director of the UCSF Echocardiography Laboratory. The more democratized you make something like ECG, he says, the more you increase the rate of false positives—especially among the hypochondriac set.

THE NEW ECG APPLE WATCH COULD DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD

Another annoying outcome is the death of the small phone; Apple seems to have all but given up on the SE series, which in hindsight, was the perfect size for a phone. We’re left with a slew of devices that are clumsy and awkward to hold and use.

And not just hands. Bigger phones take up more pocket and purse real estate. They strain your thumbs and stress your jeans. They’re more frustrating to run with. They demand both hands to operate. They also arguably require more mental space; the larger the screen, the more you do with it, and the more easily it becomes the locus of your daily life.

THERE ARE NO MORE SMALL PHONES