I consider myself very lucky to be able to say I remember life before Social Media, before staring down at your phone became a thing. The decade that stands out the most was the 1990's.
Aaaah, beautiful times.
Triggering and being offended simply didn't exist. Didn't seem to anyways, not so I ever noticed.
These stressful features of the modern existence only seemed to come about with smartphones and smashing the "like" button on social media. The dopamine addiction from the like button seems to me to have made us maybe a little..erm, mentally ill maybe? Addicted to attention? Constantly requiring validation to our opinions?
I don't know if anything I'm saying offends. Just comments. Opinions even.
This was all alien back in the 1990's, fact is if we went back in the DeLorean to back then and told our previous selves about the latest technology we'd likely be impressed by the progress. But on further inspection I feel like 90's us would pass a comment along the lines of "isn't it a bit narcissistic though?"
Maybe? Who knows..
Reason I say that is because in 1999 that was an exact comment I made myself.
I was working in an aerospace office and the IBM rep broke open the laptop and showed off his webpage. It had pics of him rock climbing, playing his guitar, mountain biking. Numerous CAD developers around me took notice but what stood out was seemingly my peculiar response "but why?"
"But why what?"
"I mean what's the purpose of these pages showing you doing these different things?"
Little did I know but thinking back this was seemingly the 1999 early version of someone being offended in the modern technology-based way.
The IBM guy gave a little laugh and looked around the room but didn't seem to be able to answer the question I'd asked.
Again, awkward. Silence.
Was I missing the point by asking this ridiculous question?
I then proceeded to turn back to my machine and continue working. Thought nothing more of it.
The more I think about it that initial reaction was pretty much what I'd call a pure space alien response to witnessing Social Media now. If I'd just landed on this planet I'd still question the point of the entire exercise from a narcissism perspective.
Aren't we all meant to progress through the Fulcrums getting less and less ego-narcissist as we ascend the ladder ultimately becoming more and more spiritual? From birth (Fulcrum 0) to Ram Dass (Fulcrum 8 and above)
So from the Spirituality perspective Social Media seems on the surface to be taking us backwards and pausing our existence on one of the lower fulcrums..we're sitting on a ladder rung...potentially forever.
Which is ok..
I mean if that's what makes you happy. It's cool. I'm not here to judge.
If we sit on a low fulcrum and don't develop from 11-15 year old us though, then how are we ever going to achieve a more Spiritual life that will lead us to a higher level of Buddhist-style enlightenment?
Perhaps we don't care though, maybe it doesn't matter.
Look, I don't want this post to turn into a constant dig at Social Media as I'm sure there must be some positives to it but after being aware of it's existence for over 2 decades I still can't honestly see how it became such an important part of our lives.
This is a viewpoint after having had periods of being active on FB and Instagram at various points in those 20 years.
The final reason for quitting FB was pretty much the opposite to the reason I accessed it in the first place. To make contact with old school friends from back in the day. Turns out in my case there is a good reason you leave those relationships behind as you exit the school gates for the last time...
That is because FB seemed to only be about old school friends accumulating friends in order to look popular like we were back in the playground. Once you figured that out there wasn't much point continuing with it.
It was basically school all over again. FB had regressed us to our pre-18 year old lives while living as adults.
Then the part about them selling your data was made public and it was time to call it quits.
Next was Instagram. Again not wishing to tear all these platforms apart and as Dividend Nomad I did have a presence on it because I believed that documenting the journey with photographs mattered as part of the blogging experience.
The instagram world eventually got a little frustrating because it became about liking photographs or people liking ones from our travels. Again as a space alien from another planet...what's the point in the exercise? Is there even a point to the exercise.
But people make money on Instagram as influencers so that's good right? Also don't the photographs give people vacation ideas that then aid the travel industry?
Well if it's a part of your new sales career then I guess so. But I'm FIRE and to be honest trying to sell me something is like flogging a dead horse, the effort to lighten my wallet is pretty much fruitless. If I'm going to visit a country seeing it on Instagram never really swayed the decision either way.
At the end of Dividend Nomad the Instagram account was disabled too. Finished. Gone.
So 2 years down the line Social Media free, has it made a difference? Has it made life better?
The best answer I can give is that I don't miss it one bit, had a good idea that would be the case though. Life is 1000 x more peaceful and pretty much like my life back in the 90's. No biggie.
The best part though...no triggering. No dopamine hits gushing around the brain releasing feel good hormones but worth it to not experience triggering.
When triggering goes away I feel like life becomes a lot more healthy and less stress.
Feel like a Social Media-free life is a more contented one, the time on it was quickly replaced with reading books, painting, learning piano etc. The time has been better deployed in my opinion.
Can also imagine quitting it isn't such a big upheaval for FIRE folks because we tend to do non-herd mentality weird things that society finds strange anyway. Quitting work in your 30's 40's, 50's is still weird to most people in this world. No social media either? Oooh shocker!
When you trigger it produces a stress response similar to the one which came when your Manager announced you would be coming in saturday and sunday "we lost some folks so need to play catchup"
akin to an Office Space Lundberg accostment.
Why would we want that type of stress response on a moment by moment basis? All in the name of entertainment?
Beyond Social Media once we notice the positive life changes as a result of the removal of trigger stress responses it becomes addictive in another way. From there you can identify other trigger sources like Mainstream Media and reduce or eliminate your exposure to that too.
All those years growing up when DD4L senior continually instructed me to "keep up with what's going on in the world" I figured he'd be very disappointed if I told him I stopped reading the news but when I explained my reasons he seemed to see my point. All good.
DD4L senior to this day get's triggered by the news, you can tell. He's retired though and I feel like he should really be living his life in a relaxed way sipping margarita's by the beach not getting wound up by Brexit and Covid fear-mongering.
Fact is what happens in the news is nothing you can influence. It's out of your control so getting stressed about it, like Social Media has to be a fruitless exercise right?
My late father-in-law used to comment "but what if a missile is about to land on you? how will you know?"
The only answer I could give is I wouldn't and I'm ok with that. Maybe that sounds ignorant perhaps.
The removal of other people's influence in your life be it friends on Social Media, journalists on Mainstream Media, Covid fear-mongering or anyone else for that matter turns out is not so much a bad thing as you'd think.
To be yourself, think for yourself in an organic way in control of your own thoughts, living life on your own terms is pretty much worth the bother.
It is to me anyways.
Again just an opinion. Not wishing to cause offense...y'know.
Love to all,