Social media — Putting the genie back in the bottle

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Let me start this letter by saying I’m as guilty as anyone. I use social media, probably too much, and let it consume way too much of my time. At the very least, it makes me less productive. At the worst, it makes me a worse human being than I already am.

So, when I say what I’m about to say, I realize that I am as much part of the problem as anyone. 

We need to kill social media, now. It is terribly destructive for our society. It is likely driving hide teen suicide rates for girls, it is responsible for propagating the most toxic elements of gender ideology, and it polarizes our society along political lines in a way I’ve never seen before. Both sides of the political spectrum blame it for unfairly influencing elections.

In short, there is no good that comes from social media that outweighs the bad. And the prime victims of it are our young people. 

Why don’t we do more to stop it? Part of it is because we like to use social media ourselves. But another part is that billions of dollars are being made on social media and so the powers that be have no incentive to stop it, let alone take seriously the negative impacts of social media on our society.

But, I don’t need to wait for a study or for permission. I just deleted my two remaining social media apps (I quit Facebook four years ago) and I am talking to my children seriously about their use of social media going forward.

To protect your children, you can give them a “wise phone” — instead of a smart phone — that only allows for text, phone, and basic navigation. 

Without these drastic steps, I fear our society will spiral further downward to increased dysfunction, disunity, and general chaos. And, again, the main victims of the pernicious influence of social media will be our children, who do not have the the capability to resist the most negative dangerous aspects of social media. 

It may be impossible to put this particular genie back in the bottle, but we have to try for the sake of our country and our families.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Trey! Where you been, my man? So happy to see you’re back. I was starting to worry about you. If you ever miss your social media accounts, you come right here to The Citizen and check in. Your woke buddies are always here for a conversation. (And your unwoke buddies, too, I imagine.)

  2. It’s not social media, per se, it’s the people and how they choose to utilize it. Hmmmm, where have I heard that before?

    7 years ago, I too gave up Facebook. I then transitioned to Twitter, then to Instagram, then to Reddit, and just recently, I went back to Twitter. I guess I had forgotten what a cesspool of humanity that site is. This last go-round with Twitter lasted all of 4 days – I just couldn’t stand it. As Trey mentioned, social media is a time-waster. It’s a place to take out your frustrations and yell into a void of faceless strangers. Social media influencers and politicians love the “hit and run” model – you all know how that goes. They post some nonsense to rile up their followers and then run until they or their “people” post the next hit. Anyone ever notice that? The people that make posts don’t actually care about conversing? They make a mess and let the commenters duke it out in words. It’s not healthy.

    So now, without any social media accounts, here I am at “The Citizen”. I guess you can call this place a social media site, albeit an outdated model. Anyway, social media is not going anywhere. Why? Because the majority of us can’t control ourselves. We’re addicted. We want to act like fools online because it’s too embarrassing to do so in public. The point Trey makes is solid. We can’t control what other people do, but we can control what we do and having the will power to severely limit social media is a step in the right direction.

    This will probably be one of the only things that Trey and I have in common, and that’s okay. Be prepared folks, Lent is over and Trey has no other place to vent his frustrations. We’ll probably be seeing him around a lot more. Anyone want to wager what his next letter will be? If you’re smart, you already know.

  3. Several big issues with social media, as far as I can tell: 1) Since you’re having a disagreement or an argument with a nameless or anonymous moniker, or even if you have an honest identity of someone – it is incredibly easy, if you’re not careful, to attack the other person in a way that none of us would do if we were having a face-to-face conversation. It removes the civility from our dialogue because the anonymity reduces that person to just an opponent instead of a person. 2) It allows others to only show a particular side of themselves that they want shown, instead of showing the person as a whole and as we all really are: messy, complicated, imperfect beings that all have “stuff” in our lives.

    Honestly, I cannot tell you one reason how any form of social media makes my life any “better” because of it…..maybe that’s why like you I’ve dumped it all except LinkedIn, which is used for business purposes.