I have been working on my business plan and spending a lot of time over the internet and social media to be specific, while I noticed kids selling online courses just to sell and more important brains like Warren Buffet, Elon Musk or even Bill Gates not launching an online course, I have been wondering there has to be a strong reason why these guys not go online that very often as many times as my generation, the “millennials” go and they are yet very successful – at least by monetary terms which unfortunately has become a way and probably the only way to define success!
Online course is to make money and being online is internet and social media is a large part of it.
This led me to explore what could be the negatives and after planning this blog for almost 6 months, I decided to give it a try, this is more like “the shower idea” – I got while taking a shower. I am also trying to use this hashtag more often now if you will #TheShowerIdea
Disclaimer: It may sound like a ranting session, but I will try my best to be realistic and on facts. No Mathematics but just another school of thought which is not really, “pro social media”.
The social media was made and more importantly Facebook around the idea that people want to know what’s going on in others’ life. While everyone is very busy at least in this covid 19 era sharing things and spending more and more time online, I thought its time to look at the pitfalls of being on social media itself.
Listing down 9 such reasons for you to ponder:
1) Distraction at its core:
Our mind loves distractions and the likes and shares that we get on social media.
I believe Social media is more like a knife which can be used for positives while in good hands and for negatives if it falls in the wrong hands, no matter what, distraction remains at its core.
When you spend more time on social media looking at what others are sharing, liking, tweeting or whatsoever you are not doing anything productive as such. (Exception if you are a journalist, observer or just trying to do and learn videos everyday) you are more like an audience which can enjoy, become sad, entertained but not really take any action as such. Video creators at least people who produce videos daily are not really helping you (the face value is different) they are earning money through ads in simple terms which is in the interest of big tech companies’ like Facebook, Google, Amazon so on and so forth. Same is true for new branding given to a month, week or year. There is a lot of money at play, Happy New Year is to increase sale of greeting cards and more, for instance.
Some of the content creators have grown further to become influencers and earn in millions a post.
The very fundamental objective is to get your attention everyday, every hour and every minute and second if possible. On a lighter note, and in fact, even if you die, you might be getting ads served (I noticed that as a new setting for Facebook account). They have confidence that you will stay on Facebook till death 😊
If you want to take a deeper dive like me, you can safely consider yourself working for these companies, their interest and benefits knowingly or unknowingly.
2) Health Concerns:
Spending hours, a day is not healthy for you or your life. Backpain, anxiety, lack of likes or just no one chatting with you, it has immense health implications – simple enough to understand without going to a doctor.
If you try to control your online habits and more importantly social media habits and start walking an hour everyday, you just improved every aspect of your life.
Spend limited time on social media or at least tell this to your friends and family.
It’s difficult but possible with control. Here is mine the reduced one, it used to be 3+ hours once upon a time reduced to 1 hour average a day 🙂
3) The Datacenter Pollution
When you spend more time on social or even internet while just browsing, the server, datacenter or cloud needs an upgrade right there, in terms of its size, capacity, computing power and many such hardware and software requirements which you may not be aware of. Not many people talk about this, but it is like increasing carbon footprints. I can tell you this as I was marketing datacenter systems about a decade ago in my life and it contributes to global warming.
Some of the big tech companies have gone all green but not all of them. Check this out – “Billions of internet-connected devices could produce 3.5% of global emissions within 10 years and 14% by 2040”
Image: St. Ghislain, Belgium data center exterior view of Google Data center
4) Human elements at play
Saying someone that I like you, sharing good news to a friend or family member in person or even hugging someone is of more value than liking, sharing, or giving artificial hugs on social media. This is more like my opinion, but humanity now needs, at least in Covid 19 era, more of human elements and touch than social media likes.
Who wants to be at home all the time?
5) The noise and the content bomb
The content is way too much. Google generates around 4.5 million searches every second which is 6.4 billion searches per day for instance. It is good to some extent for sure, but do you think all of that is legitimate and solving global problems? At that rate and I am going by a 30,000 feet assumption here, the world would have solved all problems that we know of today.
Questions will always be there and so will be the answers, but the important question is “Is that all needed? Does the world need more bloggers? More YouTubers and more Facebook Posts or those companies running the big tech need them?
You should get the answer yourself.
In my limited understanding, creating multiple documents or writing excessive content or even creating videos should cost you money. Only then qualified, quality driven and really needed content will be produced.
In fact, all of the content that you consume today is deeply censored.
When you notice someone creating a video everyday. Helping you may not be the only thing they are doing, they are not changing the world, changing you.
It’s like Hollywood whoever you see the most will become your liking one fine day. “Out of sight is out of mind”, so is true for the opposite, at least in marketing.
It’s very easy to get confused as algorithms just don’t care about true vs false news anymore, from day one that has been the way.
The objective is to make you stay on the app, keep you online as much as possible, no matter what kind of information you consume. It can easily lead to polarization of easy political divide and rule. Look at the US – do you think it’s possible without social media?
6) Kids and Teens
Again, interpersonal interactions are taking a toll and I, personally cannot think of any benefits for kids being online. Like their classroom friends could be in a chat app just to stay connected, make jokes, have fun etc. as that is, probably the right age to do those things. But on social media it is a different ball game, the information they consume does not really come from authorized people or qualified ones for all you know.
Cyber bullying, Online addiction, sleep disorders, Unrealistic expectations and people trying out clothes in showrooms without an intention to buy for mere Instagram photos, I am afraid nothing of this is of any benefit to kids or teens for that matter.
I guess if they meet and laugh, greet, and become friends, show affection, love, care and smile at someone’s face – probably that would go longer than being on social media.
7) The Digital Cross-country life and dilemma
There is an uproar and rise of freelancers across the world, the online job portals and websites, LinkedIn etc. are so well connected that people have almost started believing that they know one place/country/location well enough to make a career choice by just reading and looking at content online from that country.
Its good for knowing what goes around globally in this age of globalization but consuming more and more content does not really translate to one knowing a place in person or even knowing job market as such. I know a lot of people who want to migrate to countries like Canada while being at India, Philippines, or the developing world in general – where hiring and firing is still not a culture, the very assumption that applying jobs online as much as you can while you have not even landed in a foreign country, is way to find jobs may not even work for most of the people.
They face the reality when they land though! Which is not really the way they got jobs in India.
Is that working in people’s interest, jobs, and careers, well, for LinkedIn and for big tech, it is, as people spend more time, they show you more ads and thus make more money.
Just look at any stocks of an online company /big tech before and after Covid, why is that increasing?
They are teaching on google sheets and answering classroom questions on WhatsApp you know!
This is true at least for my generation, your tendency to spend or overspend is more when you are constantly bombarded with ads all around you.
Like those Alexa devices, Google search and the phone you use everyday how much of that is not listening to you everyday and every second? The settings are for you to see just so you know, there is a lot more that a developer from those companies can see about you.
They are clearly millions of steps ahead of what a common man like you and me would think otherwise.
Facebook by forcing users to sign up or leave WhatsApp is just a classic case as they have enough of data from users that make them confident to launch payments or go big in that industry at the cost of losing its users. Do you think they don’t know the consequences of doing that, A lot of my friends have either turned to Signal or BBM enterprise, they just have a plan B.
Check out my video here.
9) The Real Journalism is gone
Everyone with a camera and selfie in hand can become journalist, YouTubers, Bloggers and so on – like you don’t need any qualification (i.e. education, experience or on the job training) to become a journalist. Big tech has almost killed Real news and print media as people know the news faster on social media. Check out the report called “Levelling the Digital Playing Field” for Canadian media standing up against Google and Facebook for example.
It used to be Twitter where breaking news is, It is Facebook in 2021.
What will happen to your friends who are studying journalism or Media and Mass Communication? Will there be enough jobs in Print and TV or even mainline advertising for that matter?
I guess, they will be forced to go digital and do everything on social media and probably, show ads to their followers and friends, eventually.
There is, of course, a lot of good in there as genuine people who left Newsrooms have at least started their own YouTube channels, Facebook Pages, Twitter and Instagram profiles and so on.
The common man is happy to consume news and live broadcasts on YouTube than traditional TV and Print media.
Please do not get me wrong, social media and more importantly marketing as a career gave me everything that I am today.
It is just a perspective and more like other school of thought which is not “pro social media”.
Social media is more like a knife to me personally and as I stated earlier. Use with caution.