Just call me an old man, a troglodyte, a madman, whatever.
I’m not interested in becoming part of the “metaverse”. This is the future that Mark Zuckerberg’s troubled Facebook is striving for when it is renamed Meta. And what is this Metaverse, you may be wondering? The New York Times explains:
“Mr. Zuckerberg painted the meta-universe as a clean, well-lit virtual world, first entered by virtual and augmented reality hardware, and later with more advanced body sensors in which people can play virtual games, attend virtual concerts, shop virtually goods, collect virtual artwork, socialize with each other’s virtual avatars, and attend virtual work meetings. ”
That sounds completely ridiculous. And awful. As with all new things, they are liked by some, maybe millions, maybe even most. But I had to give a leg and I’ve actually been doing this little by little for a while now.
I keep telling myself that I have to live in the here and now, that social media in many ways poisons our ability to do so.
Don’t get me wrong, social media has a lot of virtues and I haven’t and won’t completely turn my back on them. After carefully curating the people, institutions and outlets I follow, I now come across more information than I could have ever imagined, more information than I can process. It’s really a shame because of wealth.
In addition, social media is another platform for publishing, and as a person who produces content that is published, social media has been another way out for me. I could post mini-shots, things that are too short or irrelevant to a column or television segment.
I started my career in journalism as a designer. I still like the design. But that’s not a suitable topic for my column here or for my television service. That’s why I sometimes post about it on social media.
Tracking and connecting with friends and family has never been easier, although I have to admit that my most valuable and meaningful social networks at the moment are simple text groups.
Nevertheless, social media has so much ugliness, so much envy and greed, so much misinformation and manipulation that their meaning in my life, it became clear to me, is more of a problem than a benefit.
I was trying to divert myself mainly to the real world (I find that weird writing too). To write more things that I don’t share right away. To write for an idea and not because of a viral influence – things that no one may “like”, but I still want to find a way to shape them into the clearest form.
I want to share more pictures with the people I love and who love me – and not with the world to make that world react. The very act of taking into account the reaction of strangers to personal postings of images is perverse. But the question arises: if they are personal, why share them with strangers? So I reduced that. And I doubt my intentions more when I have a desire to publish.
I even believe that social media has changed my perception of people: how they looked, lived and ate. They all struggled to come across the next person. People too often looked perfect. They went on wonderful vacations, lived in immaculate homes, and ate delicious dinners. Some of these photos may reflect reality. But like most people, we have our good and bad days. Social media distorts this balance.
Even what is supposed to be positive can become oppressive and annoying, like a torrent of motivational memes and affirmations. Something about that sounds hollow. Something on this is presented as performative.
I’ve been withdrawing from social media for a while now, and I use them primarily to advertise my column, television segments, and other ventures I’m involved in.
I have to say I feel like an addict finally clearing up.
I’m amazed – and embarrassed to be surprised – at how it makes sense for me to simply be more present, to start conversations with strangers, not to feel like I have to document every moment of my own for greedy virtuality, not to be so immersed in the screen that I miss sunset.
When I disagree with someone personally, I am more empathetic and diplomatic. I personally dwell on the situations I would encounter online. The world is not perfect. It’s not curated and filtered, and a return to the reality that this imperfection makes the world special has caused a shift in me.
Now I regret, though I try not to, years of lost time in virtual space, doing everything people have told me I should: care about collaboration, scheduling posts for optimization, reviewing analytics to find out what things resonated and which not.
I was constantly carving out and creating a changed, more “likeable” image of myself that in the end seemed too controlled to be completely real.
So like Facebook and second moving towards the metaverse, I will choose to move towards a more real version of myself living more fully in the here and now.