I’ve been in YPO — “Young Presidents Organization” — for five and half years and I love it (actually I’m in YPO Gold now that I’m over age 50). My favorite part is being in a forum, which is a group of nine of us that meet monthly to discuss business, personal, and family issues. By opening up and being vulnerable, we are able to both support and learn from each other. What’s so cool about this is that you realize that everyone has issues — even people whose lives seem perfect have struggles. Thus, YPO forum is the opposite of social media: you get to see others as they actually are instead of just seeing their curated highlights that are shared on Instagram and Facebook.
The Social Media Problem
While there are positive aspects of social media, Facebook and other platforms harm our overall happiness and sense of wellbeing. Case in point is a research study out of the University of Tel Aviv found that the constant evaluation of our own lives and comparison to others’ lives as displayed on social media leads to unhappiness. “The Facebook user experience is designed in a way that promotes social comparison (particularly the friends feed), and may establish a tendency to compare oneself to others, also off-platform.” The researchers also found that more frequent use of Facebook leads to greater feelings of envy. Link to study.
Another problem with social media is what it’s doing to us politically. While America was headed down the road of increased political polarization before the rise of social media, it has increased our society’s divisiveness as it facilitates our ability to only consume news that fits our worldview and interact with others within our own bubble. Read more on social media and political polarization from the WSJ here.
I’m not a big social media user but I’m making a pledge to myself — starting right now — to not interact with any social media from now until June 30th. I’ll see how it goes. Here’s what I expect:
- I’ll have more productive or fun uses for the time I’d have otherwise spent using social media
- I’ll be happier
- I won’t be sucked down as many rabbit holes of random content
My question for you: will you join me in pledging to abstain from social media? If June 30th is too long of a time period, how about some lesser period? Two weeks? A week? Two days? A day?
I wonder what we’ll learn.
Announcing a commitment to others increases the chance of success. So feel free to make your own pledge in the comments or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.