By José Andrés Ochoa. Annoyed that when I woke up the first thing I did was pick up the phone and spend 20 minutes going down an endless timeline, I decided to close my social media accounts for at least two weeks.
Although the Cambridge Analytica crisis was a sufficient reason to rethink our social presence on the internet, I considered that the data I make public is sufficiently thought-out so as not to compromise my privacy.
However, what I do lose is time . When I try to read, edit a video or photo or even when I want to see a movie, it’s a matter of five minutes before I open a tab again and type in the address (already memorized) of a social network. Or, from the phone, and reloading the application to see the latest, as if in five minutes things had changed too much.
So I began to access the most hidden parts of the configuration of three platforms in which I am most distracted: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I tried to be moderate and refrained from leaving YouTube and, for work, I also kept the professional account.
But it was almost impossible.
I thought that the essential and priority was to remove the applications from the phone. Simple. In a way, it was effective, because when unlocking the device and trying to enter an account, the absence of the icon reminded me of my purpose: social disconnection.
But the first problem came. For convenience, several of my accounts on different sites were created based on my Facebook profile . Therefore, when I tried to evade traffic and query Waze, I noticed that my logs, addresses and preferences were in the account that I created from Mark Zuckerberg’s network. First mistake, something I also made with Spotify .
In the same way it happened to me with Goodreads , a site to share reviews and reading progress, which I do not consult so regularly but that does retain relevant details.
To this is added that, for work, sometimes consulting an institutional account or an artist’s profile practically depends on consulting “their” Facebook. To avoid frustration, I reactivated my account two days after closing .
Where it was more effective to delete the application was Instagram . Without being blunt, I chose not to deactivate the account and only consult it to see photographs from the website .
In a way it was effective because what consumed my time on that social network the most were the stories, the option to see videos or photos of each of the accounts, a practice clearly copied from Snapchat (which, fortunately, was not easy for me to distance myself , after most of my contacts abandoned it for the convenience of Instagram).
Also, watching stories from the web is tortuous , pushing the RAM of the computer to the limit, especially if done from Google Chrome. The advantage is, on the other hand, that just being able to discreetly see the stories and navigate through the photos, double-clicking the ones you like, it is impossible to upload photos. This restricts the obsession with publishing content and, worse still, being constantly monitored to see the “likes” and comments.
Which led me to think how dependent I can be on social approval, and whether my photos or stories are well received, whether they are popular or not. Without the Instagram app, in part, that pressure is released.
Twitter yes, but …
The social network that was the easiest to get rid of was Twitter. Once disabled, the app is outdated and all you have to do is ignore the urge to “scrutinize” by posts .
For a few months now I have lost the desire to tweet so much. Similar to Instagram, with no content to post, I lose interest in retweets and “likes”.
Still, perhaps the only social network that I really enjoy and find useful is Twitter. I miss the immediacy to find out relevant news or information, and the diversity of opinions seems relevant to me.
Traffic, the political situation, sports results, videos … On Twitter I find a valuable tool. So even though I can break loose easily, I am confident that I can get back to it. Or perhaps it should be a lesson to dispense with the timeline once and for all and rely on other tools to be aware.
My short week-long experiment showed me how dependent I can become on social media, how convenient it is to have it, and how difficult it is to get away from it. Perhaps a phone without an internet connection is ideal, but for now, I’ll try to refrain from unlocking the phone as much. And pay more attention to Netflix movies. At least for more than 10 continuous minutes.
If you’ve lost a device that’s logged into your social media accounts, a safe way to end that access is to change your password. If you still don’t want to change your password (highly recommended), some social networking sites also make it easy to remotely close sessions with the click of a button.
If you’ve lost a device that’s logged into your social media accounts, a safe way to end that access is to change your password. If you still don’t want to change your password (as advisable as it may be), some social networking sites also allow you to remotely log out of any session at the push of a button.
Other measures to protect your social networks
In addition to remotely ending active sessions, there are many other security measures worth considering, including two-factor authentication, receiving notifications of unknown activities, revoking access to applications, and verifying your social logins.