Cutting down on YouTube and social media.

I am an avid fan of iOS. I love watching videos about technology. Tech news is one of the few things I know I can follow, and can easily tell when the “reporter”—who am I kidding, blogger—shows a preference for certain brands.

I love both Android and iOS, but for now my ecosystem of choice is putting all my eggs into Apple’s.

You won’t find me on Facebook, though I am on its subsidiary Instagram. I follow people whom I enjoy following, from friends to fellow iOS users to other trans users.

On Twitter, I hold much the same mode. I follow people who enjoy technology, and bloggers who live in my general area. Most of the people whom I personally know don’t have accounts, or have long since abandoned general social media sites for messaging services, so there’s no fear of missing out, or trying to compare my mundane reel of a life with their highlights of the glamorous and fulfilling.

Social media can be fun, joyful, and engaging; it can also cause negative emotions like lust, envy, jealousy, and FOMO (the “fear of missing out”). The issues with privacy, while not my priority, could definitely be on yours.

However, in the past week, I’ve trimmed the number of people I’ve followed. On YouTube, I’ve trimmed my subscription list substantially—“unboxing” videos are merely outsourced advertisements, always pressuring viewers that their current devices aren’t enough and they need to always, always, always upgrade. Other “influencers”—apparently they “hate” that name—try to compare budget options unfavorably to flagships, and thus further pressure viewers to upgrade and buy something new, when their current device, unless it is old and laggy, is usually more than good enough for everyday functions. Some even make it outright obvious that they have the income and flout how they carry multiple flagships. I’ve since cancelled my YouTube premium subscription and follow people who show an actual love for technology, how they engage with their current setups, tips on how to better use your current setup—even their sponsorships (really, more advertisements) are one of the few times I don’t mind product placements. I’ve also diversified who I follow, to include channels on history, science, and other intellectual curiosities. (Note, these are people who verify the facts—not push out the latest conspiracies—like SciShow, Modern History, and TechAltar.) Those channels with corresponding Twitter and Instagram accounts, I’ve since unfollowed, too.

My life is short, and I want to enjoy what I already have. I actively use adblockers to stop mainstream consumerism from always showing itself. I pay for apps to avoid ads, as well as support the developers who create these ads. I know, Instagram and Twitter are the holdouts, and third party apps constantly have access to those platforms cut off, so I am forced to use them. I am also human, living in a remote, rural area, and in the age of coronavirus—the Internet, via social media, is one of the few ways I can still connect to the outside world. But I don’t want to subject myself to constant consumerism and causes of negative emotions. I just want to enjoy this life, with what I have, with those I can be with.

Author: Charles Copley

I am a trans man (FtM) living in small-town, NJ. A phandroid, I've worked hard to sync all my devices together. I’m probably drinking way too much coffee, often with Irish cream. My Devils have left me in limbo about watching hockey anymore. I am agnostic and apatheistic—I don’t know what’s out there, I don’t care—but I love learning about other religions that differ from what I grew up around. My online presence doesn’t document my transition—they’re documenting my life (and thoughts) after having transitioned years ago. I missed the vlogging and life documentation craze of the 10s, due to depression and a hard life in my 20s, but now I’m playing catch up with what seems to be my upteenth time at starting a blog. It’s a hobby, not my source of income or passion, but that doesn’t mean I may try to profit in the future.

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