I remember a time, which now seems shrouded in the mists of the past, when I couldn’t go a waking hour without logging onto Facebook to check my friends’ status updates and share my own, when the green dot that showed someone else was online and ready to chat gave me an adrenaline rush.
I remember a time when I read every WhatsApp message almost immediately after receiving it. I remember days when I spent countless minutes thumbing down my Instagram feed, looking at memes and snapshots of perfect moments in the lives of strangers.
I remember these times because they now feel so distant, and the person I was then so different, that it’s as if it all happened in a totally different world. I remember those times because these days, I log onto Facebook once every few months, unless I set reminders for myself to log on for some other reason (like sharing my blog posts).
I remember them because I have built checking Twitter into my daily schedule, not so that I don’t do it all the time, but rather so that I actually remember to log in. Because without the schedule, I would forget to do so for weeks, and I often do.
Sometimes I wonder what has changed, why engaging with social media feels so much like a chore for me nowadays, instead of being an enjoyable pastime. Whenever I am confronted with my ignorance about those endless online trends, I make the jocular excuse that I have become old, that the old thrills of social media no longer tickle my fancy quite as much as they used to back then. But I know that this is not a valid explanation.
I am only 26 after all, and my agemates still shout themselves hoarse on feeds splayed across the internet. They post statuses on WhatsApp every few hours, and argue with strangers about why Ruto can’t be the next president on Facebook. They share pictures of their overexaggerated rear ends on Instagram, and use hashtags like #tbt to vainly airbrush otherwise unremarkable past events.
I do not say this to disparage these practices. Even if I am tempted to do this, I do not hold myself qualified to offer that kind of opinion. At least not here. No, I say it to make the point that these aren’t exactly things from which age alone can disqualify me. If anything, much older people than me are just as adept at these things as the younger folks.
More and more, I am starting to realise that the reason for my apathy with regard to social media is actually much simpler than age. It’s something all of us are familiar with because we all have some experience with it. It’s the one thing that can so strongly drive us off things we initially enjoyed, that we have to schedule them if we want to remember to do them.
I speak, of course of good old fat boredom. I think that, for me at least, the endless feeds of social media, the senseless anonymity, the mindless bickering, the psychological manipulation, and the insane exposure of private details on public platforms, just became too much to continue enjoying. The pressure to belong lost its persuasive edge.
And in the absence of an intrinsic pull from these products, I now have to look for the motivation to engage with them elsewhere. It may be that age has something to do with the boredom. But I would take some convincing for me to believe that it is. I think I am just not interested any more. And no, my dear Facebook friends, this has nothing to do with you.
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