I’ve been in blissful ignorance for many years. I deleted Facebook over five years ago. My wife and I have an Instagram account (which does have some dark sides). But no other accounts.
I never even had Twitter.
Social media is poison
About 6 months ago I set up Twitter for this website. I’ve learnt quite quickly that Twitter is awful.
Perhaps I was naive, and I’m happy to accept that as a criticism. But I am shocked at how bad social media is for you.
I had a lovely afternoon chat with The Escape Artist last week. For the few of you who don’t know who he is, he is one of the ‘big dogs’ of the UK FIRE community. I strongly recommend you to check out his blog.
I asked him for his view on Twitter. He was pithy: Social media is poison.
Eating fast food is bad for you. Consuming social media is bad for you. Twitter is fucking awful. It’s the equivalent of scoffing an XL Doner Kebab from Dodgy Kebab Shop.
Eat burgers every day you get fat. Get all your ‘news’ from Twitter, Facebook all day you get stupid.
I was probably in a bubble, but I now see why people can hold such idiotic views.
I Think You’ll Find It’s a Bit More Complicated Than That
You can’t sum up life in 200 characters. Or a photo. Or a video.
Life is more complicated than that.
When you think you’re getting the whole story on an issue from social media, you ain’t.
Even writers I hugely respect and read voraciously in long form write utter garbage on twitter. Dangerous garbage. Stuff that is flat out wrong. Stuff that willingly misleads the public.
You are being poisoned
Comprehensive explanations don’t sell. Sex does.
It’s sexy to rant. It’s narcotic to be outraged. It’s rock and roll to rave.
But those people ain’t doing it for your benefit. They are doing it to sell you stuff. Everything is a sale. Sometimes they are selling you a product or service. Sometimes they are selling you an agenda. Sometimes they just want to watch things burn.
You have to ask yourself – are those people’s interested aligned with mine?
I was alive to the insidious nature of the ‘twittering classes’. But reading some of the utter bilge spouted about the NYT piece on FIRE has woken me from my dangerous slumber. Funny, isn’t it, that lots of people who make money from managing others’ money don’t like it when people realise they can do it themselves and not get mugged off? In particular, I saw financial planners lay into some FIRE converts tripping over themselves to get a stab in whilst rule number one of financial planning:
Financial planning is about meeting a client’s financial and lifestyle objectives, not the financial planner’s objectives or the objectives the planner thinks the client should have
I don’t think I’ll delete Twitter, it has been very helpful connecting with people. But this week I’ve started exercising the toxin from my life.
I’ve culled the number of ‘people’ I follow. Any bullshit and I’m done. I don’t mean disagree, I follow many people I disagree with, I mean people who are trying to pollute my mind with poisonous information. It was tough to ‘unfollow’ people I really respect as writers and thinkers, but who cast out rubbish on Twitter.
How can you trust me?
You might be thinking, all sounds great, but how can I trust you Mr YFG?
Good question. You need to ask yourself, are your interests aligned with mine? Will reading this blog help you, or hinder you?
I do this because I want to help people with their finances. I’m not selling anything. I’ve never marketed this website. I’ve never done any promos or any of that SEO stuff (I don’t know how all I’ve got is some plugin that tells me whether I’m doing alright on that stuff).
If you’re here you are here by word of mouth. If you’ve stayed, you’ve stayed maybe because you see some good in this humble blog.
Cut the emissions
My ask of you is this: find the sources of toxic information in your life and purge it. Stop feeding the polluters the oxygen that allows them to burn their rotten garbage and poison our society.
The evidence is unequivocal. You will be happier. You will be better for it.
All the best,
Young FI Guy
Thanks to Barney at The Escape Artist, Ken at The Humble Penny and countless others, the London FI community has regular meet-ups. These are great fun and as it so happens, we’re not all weirdos typing stuff into a computer in our gran’s basement (as The Escape Artist would say).
The next one is from 5.30pm Friday 19 October for drinks, chat and FI related fun.
Come and chat about Financial Independence (or anything really) over Friday evening drinks at The Old Bank Of England pub, Fleet Street, London EC4A 2LT.
I’ll be there. So will Mrs YFG. As will several dozens other people!
You can find more details and updates on the London FI Facebook group (you’ll need to join the London FI Facebook group) link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2178973152318036/
You don’t need to go on Facebook though, I haven’t had Facebook for years!