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October 15, 2020

Liberation; 2 years without social networks.

Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

In October 2018, after several years of evaluating it, I decided to erase my social networks, referring to Facebook and Twitter. Instagram, TikTok, Snap, etc., are platforms in which I never created a user, and today I maintain LinkedIn as a work tool.

The determining factor to erase my social networks, derived from a period of changes in my life in which among others, I wanted to review and face issues such as ego, vanity, humility, etc, being social networks the antithesis of where I wanted to go.

Another significant change was the use of the cell phone; I considerably reduced the number of hours; above all, I made a habit of concentrating on my work. Keeping the device out of my reach, always quietly tucked away in a drawer, and with no notifications.

In this way, I check my phone three times a day, in the morning after breakfast, at noon, and in the evening, I spend a little more time on it.

Some people tell me that whenever they call or write and I don’t answer the phone, I explain my change of habit to them, in which I have taken off the unnecessary interruptions, making a different distribution of my time.

My mobile does not monopolize my agenda; on the contrary, I decide when I perform my mobile actions as an active part, not reactive.

During the day, it is impossible to advance with the tasks of the day today. Every 10 minutes, your mobile sends you a notification that requires you to perform or react to a particular action; this is still an addiction and control over your behavior as a user.

I do not consider myself a “hater” of social networks, every new technology has two sides, the good and the bad, nor will I try to impose a particular prism on you; for me, the wrong part of the networks weighed more than the good.

And I have to tell you that during the erasure of Facebook and Twitter, I felt a pleasant sensation of being free from something I didn’t need.

Don’t worry; your friends, family, and loved ones will be there when you delete your Facebook. Absolutely nothing happens on a social level, it even improves your friends’ relationships since outside the networks.

The physical meeting’s interest and quality increase, apart from having a thousand new topics to talk about that you haven’t published on any network.

I was fed up with entering social networks and wasting time on an infinite wall where the most I could do was exercise my finger with scrolling and a publication rating system—assuming that the content I was seeing was “the truth”, the one that, according to my interests, an algorithm recommends at a given time.

As I mentioned, the bubble effect derived from these recommendations cancels out your thinking, deactivates your critical thinking since it continually reinforces what you are and what you like.

When the person’s areas of growth are precisely the opposite, in understanding what is happening at the other extreme, in what you are not, or what you do not like.

I wanted to go back to the beginnings that amazed me about the Internet at the beginning of the 90s, to those times when you connected to the net with a 56K modem that because of the noise it emitted seemed to take you to another dimension.

I wanted to go back to the root of throwing a question and getting an answer; for me that’s the great thing about the Internet.

That factor of exploration, of surprise, of where I will arrive with this search, of learning new things, of surprising you in each result that is the power of the Internet.

In this mode of use, I decide actively what to see and what to do, here I act, I throw a question, and I obtain millions of answers, being an art and a skill how you prepare your questions, your searches, your queries, here is the essence of the network of networks.

Using social networks, you get idiotic being a passive subject that makes continuous scrolling on a feed fed by what an algorithm believes to know about you as a person, by some “I like”, locking you in a bubble of reverberant echo.

If you want to evolve, do not do it by feedback and reaffirmation of what you are, but by the distances of disparity between you and the one at the other end.

Behind these recommendation algorithms, there is nothing more than people, programmers who build code based on some objectives and private interests of a given company.

They will have their sense of ethics, good and evil, but the algorithm does not reach that much; it does not have that concept of this is ethical or not.

They are simply rules coded by a humanist, neither humanist, philosopher, nor historian; they are code programmers.

That is why it is so essential that they enter into the definition of these algorithms profiles of humanities. They apply ethics; their work has a tremendous global impact on people’s conscience.

There must be someone who watches overvalues and ethics over the technology that social networks develop.

Platforms like Facebook transcend being a private business. If you have 2 billion people connected in a network, it’s very miserable to think only about managing to advertise and making a lot of money. There is a greater good than merely monetizing.

There are greater transcendental and communal values about what to do when you have, in one place, the entire global community.

It’s an immense, unpredictable, and unchecked power, without stopping to think that it’s exceptional; I maintained a great admiration for Mark Zuckerberg, but after understanding well what happened with the Cambridge Analytics scandal.

I decided and said that I didn’t want to be part of that platform or that circus, and then I deleted all my data.

The problem is that we are leaving in the hands of a handful of designers, technologists and programmers, issues that are extraordinarily important for the human condition, values such as freedom, ethics, equality, religion, globality, or nationalism, are being perverted into a light, diffuse and noisy debate inside a digital reverberant camera.

Being the one who pays the most for advertising, the one who always wins the game to extend its manipulation and polarization according to his particular interests.

They are still assimilating what it means to connect more than 2 billion people in a social network. Yet, they don’t have to have an objective criterion on how to handle that power they have achieved in such a surprising, unexpected, and fast way, they are human, and they have failures like everybody else.

No manual tells you what to do when you reach the 2 Billion users of your digital platform; you will directly enter a random, unpredictable mode of what can happen within that social network effect, nor will Zuckerberg himself know what can happen with Facebook in 10 years.

It will take tons of AI to predict reactions and unforeseen events within that network; he intended to make a social network in a university campus, not connect the entire planet having in his hands the great questions of civilization.

But the point is that these platforms can change the basis of democracy, they can control individuals, they can manipulate consciences, they can polarize discourse, they can divide people, they can nullify your critical spirit, they can affect your concentration, or they can simply waste your time.

You decide!