According to the latest global survey Hootsuite platforms, 3.48 billion users are registered on social media. Compared to last year, this figure has grown by 288 million. The news that someone is not using social media is usually surprising. We spoke with women who decided to abandon social media or minimize their use, why they did it and how they live with it.
Text: Alexandra Koksharova
I never wanted to start Facebook, but I had to do it because of my profession. When I worked for Reuters and I had to check someone on social networks, I always asked my daughter, relatives or husband about it. Once I was doing a story about Russians buying real estate in houses that were being built by Donald Trump's company, and I had to check several people again. I asked the head of the bureau if he could look at several profiles for me, to which he replied with his characteristic English skepticism that I can start Facebook myself and not write anything in it if I don't want to. It had never occurred to me before. But then I made a profile and named it after the heroine of the series, which I really liked. Since then, I have been using this page for verification purposes and whenever I need to read something. My Facebook profile is about five years old, but there is not a single friend and not a single post.
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that people who are active on social networks come up with a different image. They try to look a little sharper or a little brighter - in life they are completely different. I realized that this was too much of a temptation for me. I want to be who I am, not what I could be, but I can't. Facebook dramas, discussions and virtual slamming the door seem to me to be a substitution of concepts, but again I could be wrong. They come to me from chats with friends who know that I don't use Facebook. This news usually doesn't make me happy. I am a very old-fashioned person, and it seems to me that if someone is so unsympathetic to someone, then perhaps you can write in person or call to tell about it. It seems that I will soon be the only journalist in the city who always calls people instead of writing to them. While you write, the devil knows how much will happen.
I don’t care about comments on my texts on social networks, I honestly don’t really like this space. It seems to me that if the text is good, then it will reach the reader anyway. If the reader likes the text, he will find an opportunity to inform the author or publication about it. And if the text is bad, then nothing can be done. I don't want to keep track of the number of likes, but do my job, because I like it. I don't want to think about whether the text will go to Facebook or not.
Despite the fact that I do not use social networks, last year they helped me a lot. When my husband died suddenly, my friends wrote posts about it on their Facebook pages. This helped us raise money.
I started an Instagram account almost seven years ago, when all my friends did it, but I used my profile for no more than three months. I remember well the sensations that made me decide to abandon Instagram, and then Facebook: the pictures posted by classmates or acquaintances made me very anxious. I had a phrase for this case, which quite accurately reflected my state: "I am going into depression at the speed of a scroll."I was able to rationally explain to myself the reasons why I decided not to use social networks anymore, I was able to quite recently: I cannot observe the life of unfamiliar people from such a close distance to which they let me.
I haven't deleted my Instagram account, but it's empty. Once every few months, I go to the pages of my close friends from a computer. On Facebook, I only use the messenger, I don't have an application on my phone, I don't watch the feed. I fully realized my love for pictures in pinterest. There is nothing personal there: no one's dogs, cats and children. I see beautiful abstract pictures of strangers, and I myself also cannot bear anything personal on this platform.
I really like asking loved ones to send me photos in a personal, tell stories, send circles in a telegram or make screenshots for me from their Instagram account. Recently I was on vacation and sent photos from there to my mom and friends. And I also printed these photos and went for a week with a box in my backpack, showing them to my friends.
In the process of work, I interact quite closely with the mechanics of social networks. I make projects that people watch through social networks - that's 90 percent of the traffic. Unfortunately, social networks create such a format of interaction between producers and users of content, which is not very convenient for either the first or the second. Scrolling, red notifications on a blue background - all this was created so that we would like to consume more. I do not indulge myself with the illusion that social networks as a format will someday become obsolete, but I hope that some others will appear that will be better.
I started Facebook and VKontakte accounts when I was transferring from university to university. In the second, the admissions committee responded most promptly in social networks. Then I started using them to stay in touch with classmates, but this did not last long. I realized that I was not interested in this, that we were no longer connected in any way and that social networks would not help here. At some point, it just seemed to me that I had had enough, that I did not need social networks, it was just that all communication was forced into them. A couple of mouse clicks - and everything is fine. After that, I told my classmates that I did not use the VKontakte account, where we exchanged information on study, and they began to send me all the necessary documents by mail. To everyone else, I gave the information that now I have only a phone, mail and skype. I have a push-button phone: I only call from it, there is no Internet. And I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything. Unless, when people during communication abruptly switch from a conversation with me to their smartphone, I understand that it will be difficult to bring the person back into the conversation.
I work as a translator and rehabilitologist: I am leading a special project on soft fencing for people with cerebral palsy. I have cerebral palsy myself. Many adults with this disease who come to my classes sit on smartphones for days on end, watching movies or simply getting bogged down in social networks due to the fact that they are uncomfortable communicating with people offline. Why is this so? It seems to me, because of the overprotection that their parents surrounded them in childhood. My parents solved this problem very competently. In order for me to learn to communicate with others, I was sent to a bilingual school, where I never felt discomfort because of the language environment. Communication problems began after school, when from a greenhouse environment I got to a regular Russian university. There I realized that I would always be perceived as a stranger because of my gait, but I learned to ride on intelligence, humor and charisma. Then I began to practice soft fencing and met people at sports events in person, I did not feel any lack of communication due to the fact that I did not have social networks. I never had a desire to return the accounts. When I need them for work, I ask the project administrator to take care of them.I am regularly called back to VKontakte, but I say that I will not return.
ABA therapy specialist
I have a very long and complicated history of relations with a page on the VKontakte network, which I deleted several years ago. Right now I only have WhatsApp, which has all notifications turned off. My phone only vibrates when they call me. I have been keeping a personal diary for twelve years on the ancient platform LiveInternet. I also deleted Facebook, but recently returned it to find a tenant in the room from which I moved out. If you believe the statistics of the iPhone, then I use it no more than three hours a day. It takes an hour and a half to correspond with my parents and friends, because now I do not live in Russia.
I signed up for VKontakte quite late by the standards of my peers. I was in ninth grade, and when I finally started an account, I added everyone to my friends: just acquaintances and acquaintances of acquaintances for the number. At that time I was fond of film photography, I had a lot of concept albums.
I remember how long it took to choose the name of my page, I wanted it to be unique. I loved using the page to express myself, I was constantly uploading photos, I was subscribed to a bunch of groups that I checked all the time. After almost seven years (looking back, I think how much time I wasted), I began to think that it's time to give it up, because I can't control the time I spend on social networks. I entered VKontakte only from a stationary computer, which I shared with my parents. I didn’t have an iPhone or laptop back then - and for this reason alone, using the page didn’t take all the time. I could not do it in dosage and somehow control myself. Then I realized that I don't want to be a public person at all. I never liked that VKontakte showed that I was online and had to use special applications to hide it.
Once I just changed the password blindly: I closed my eyes and typed something on the keyboard. I did this when I began to realize that the time I spend on social networks has ceased to bring me joy. I began to find myself constantly comparing my life with the lives of other people. It’s very commonplace, but I couldn’t control it either. I decided that I would find out about everyone I love and appreciate in any case. They will write me a message by mail or WhatsApp, if necessary. And about those with whom I do not communicate much, I do not need to know. This is superfluous information, it does not affect my life in any way, but it takes my time. It was a very important decision - having abandoned VK, to give up these acquaintances, which bring me nothing. And I am living very well now.
One of the most frustrating social media situations I had when I was working as a tutor in kindergarten. I sometimes negotiated with photographers and arranged personal photo sessions for myself. Most of these photos remained on my laptop. Once I had a photo shoot in my underwear, and the photographer posted these pictures on Facebook. She marked me on them, but I did not go there and did not notice it. One of the mothers came to pick up her child from kindergarten and, seeing me, said: “Oh, we saw your photos yesterday in pink underwear! Very nice". I blushed a lot. My decision to give up social media may have been influenced by concerns about my privacy. It turns out that with social networks I have gone from the desire to be visible and recognized by everyone to the desire to reduce the circle of viewers to those few who are really dear to me.
Photos: karpenko_ilia - stock.adobe.com