Saturday, April 27, 2019

Why I quit social media

And why you should too...

It's a bit long, I know that, but I have to say all.
In any case, I finally did it. It took a while and I admit it wasn't easy. It was a process of rediscovered or renewed awareness that wasn’t immediate. It needed intermediate steps.
I must admit that also studies and other contributions on the topic gave me the final push.
So, recently I deactivated my profiles and related pages on the various social media I had subscribed in the last years, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I have kept only the Youtube channel since I never considered it a social network like the aforementioned ones and for various reasons, such as the greater freedom to control the contents and the way of sharing them.
Let's get to the title: why did I make this decision?
At the time when I began to consider this choice, years ago, there were already enough reasons to me, but as I started to think about it with more commitment and, above all, to study and read about, I found a lot more of them.

Well, every time I think about it, I discover others, tormenting me with another question: why didn't I do it before?
Anyway, enough with preamble, let's get to the answer, that is, the answers.
I was lucky or not to experience the World Wide Web’s rising and all that it has brought to our society.
Moreover, I would like to say that this is not a lesson or a mini-essay, but only a heartfelt sharing.
Nevertheless, although in the last twenty-five years I spent my energies and concentrated every passion between artistic expression and therapeutic field work, I have a degree in computer science.
Therefore, also for this reason, I reacted immediately with fervent interest looking at the spread of internet and its potential.
I know I am not an easy person, I have my faults and among them there is certainly stubbornness and obstinacy in wanting to do things my way.
For this reason I immediately saw internet, with its possibility to connect between each other in a horizontal way, as a unique opportunity.
I hate compromises and, more than ever about the things I strongly believe, I tend to refuse them without any discussion.
That’s why, once I sensed the multiple chances within the new way of meeting each other, I literally threw myself on it.
It solved a huge problem of mine and I’m not at all sure that I’d have followed the path I pursued if there had been no internet.
As I started to say at the very beginning of my career, I'm just one who writes. But at the same time, also because of complicate childhood and adolescence, since then I can't, accept as normal shameful ways of interacting between us just because everyone does it.
For this reason, knowing myself, when I was just a young aspiring author and actor, I didn’t prefigure a gratifying horizon.
But then the internet came and everything changed.
Thanks to it I was able to get in touch with many extraordinary traveling companions and also thanks to their help I have seen my words published and disseminated, listened to and mixed with those of others. And the past part is that I’ve been able to preserve more or less intact a good dose of consistency with my principles.
The reason is simple, in my humble opinion. Corruption of our ideals almost always passes through the interference that rains from the top from the powerful “saviors” who come to reward you with a flamboyant consecration, giving you their precious help.
As if they really did all that for free...
I would like to emphasize this with my personal experience: differently from the past, internet is a phenomenal tool to make us an active society and to realize individual and collective aspirations, without loosing quality and fundamental values of the initial intentions.
However, like many others, I too fell into one of the most blatant deceptions of our time: to believe that social media are internet or that they work more or less in the same way.
Well, the day after my final exit from the tunnel, I am here to affirm without hesitation that Facebook and all the others are nothing but sticky and dangerous spider webs.
Like the latter, they look like a network, yet they are something else.
Whether you are a writer, an actor, or an artist of any kind, a professional in any field, but also just a person who uses it as a hobby or a game, even before bringing up the damage they can do to our mind and our life, I would like to point out what they’re not, but that is precisely what they promise.
I take my work as an example, so I say something more concrete. For as long as I have used them the response to the diffusion of my stories, the books’ sales, the shows’ audience and the chances of having favorable contacts about artistic jobs is zero.
Even if I’ve got lots of likes and shares, loving hearts and even ecstatic comments of two lines or so, the outcome in the real world was almost nothing.
At the same time I won’t get back the wasted hours and no compensation for the continued distraction to my real work, as well as the disastrous fragmentation of my concentration from the damn smartphone’s buzzer or the notification at the top of the computer screen.
I have never achieved a single contact on any social media that has subsequently led me to realize something concrete outside of it.
Let's face it all. Despite the terminology that has been abused so much, thanks to social media I have no new friends beside me. I mean real ones, staying close to me when I really need it, to say one of the most banal reason.
Among my stories that have obtained the most authoritative awards, and that still today prove to have passed the time’s proof, most of them have been almost completely ignored once they appeared on social media.
Furthermore, you can’t imagine how many times I found myself checking that people who had digitally appreciated and shared my work they had not read or seen it at all.
Even if my departure has started gradually, during the past months I have almost completely reduced my presence on social media.
Well, you have no idea how much my work has earned from it, both in terms of the amount of time and, above all, quality.
A few months ago, talking to friends about my imminent decision, leaving some of them astonished or even upset, obviously one of them asked me the fateful question: how will you do with books and shows? Don't you need social media to promote them?
Apart from what I have already said above, as proof of the poor contribution of the latter to the actual promotion of my work, there is another aspect that I consider fundamental which I would like to talk about.
As far as I am concerned, I have ideals that I care about, as many have, and often they merge with what I write and bring on stage.
I'm not perfect and more than ever I'm not a saint, far from it. I often suffer from what I don't do or what I do wrong.
Nevertheless, among them there is certainly respect for human rights and attention to the world's poor, retaining the human person’s value as a central and indispensable element, as well as having priority over all considerations.
I firmly believe that peace and democracy are something for which to struggle every day, at every moment, as something that is not and never will be definitively acquired, but the result of a perennial action.
I’m convinced, finally, that internet is above all an opportunity to give voice and support to the most disadvantaged and oppressed creatures on the planet, counteracting the manipulated and anesthetizing system narrative by governments and their more or less secret servants.
Well, the question I have asked myself several times over the years and that I share with you is this: how could we be coherent with such ideals and at the same time giving up our identity to the adverse subjects, among inhuman multinationals, criminal organizations and disturbing government institutions?
Because all social media work essentially of them. They are like a hallucinatory journey that makes us prisoners in a sort of spider's web, as I said above, where we are convinced to go somewhere, doing something and meeting others, while we are nothing but food for the rapacious marketing weavers, as well as goods for buyers and sellers of our more personal data.
In return, they have made our hopes more vulnerable and fragile.
They have moved us away from each other instead of getting closer.
They have increased our anxiety and stress rate.
They made us weaker as individuals and as groups.
They are manipulating and exploiting us.
They are drugging us, ultimately, immobilizing us between the dwarf of our fears and the giant of our dreams.
Because who are stars and celebrities outside the social media, they continue to be thanks to the adoring fans inside of it, and those who aspire to the wonderful firmament are under the illusion of approaching obtaining or even purchasing thousands of followers and likes.
If we were in the Matrix movie and I was Morpheus I would now strongly recommend to take the red pill.
Fortunately, believe me, for everyone's luck, we're not in a movie and, as far as I'm concerned, not even in a social media.
We are on the internet, of course, and as one of my former university professors said, we are internet.
And in my humble opinion we are infinitely better than a retouched photo and some viral posts.


Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher
 

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