Edited by Yara Alsayes
Social Media is a great way to communicate, share information and express thoughts and opinions. However, for many people, Social Media has ironically made them less productive, and perhaps more anti-social. We spoke to people from the Egyptian youth, who have cut themselves out of and/or minimized their Social Media usage for reasons along those lines and built productive lives away from virtual societies.
“Now, I’m doing things I love and it doesn’t matter to me what people think of it”, Habiba El Zorkany
Habiba El Zorkany
With the increase of Social Media tools that are constantly giving way for the minimization of privacy parameters, many people, such as 18 year-old Habiba El Zorkany, began finding it hard to get a hold of their own privacy. Habiba shut down her Facebook account 4 years ago mainly due to lack of privacy, “I feel like people don’t have to see everything I do”, she says. Cutting off Social Media has allowed Habiba the luxury of enjoying simple daily activities such as reading, painting seashells, writing, cycling, fishing in Ain Sokhna and simply even sitting in a park and having a deep conversation with a close friend, “Social Media is a waste of time. Now, I’m doing things I love and it doesn’t matter to me what people think of it”, Habiba tells.
“when I finally deactivated Facebook, my life flipped around completely” Hatem El Shamy
Hatem El Shamy
On a similar note, 27 year-old Hatem El Shamy deactivated his Facebook account 4 years ago. His Social Media isolation began after the revolution of January 25th, 2011. He eventually found out through an acquired statistic that in 6 months, he had logged onto his Facebook account only from his computer 26 thousand times, “this terrified me and when I finally deactivated Facebook, my life flipped around completely”, he explains. Although isolating himself from Social Media made it hard for him to learn about certain events such as football tournaments, the pros outweighed the cons, “I changed, my body language changed, I went down to the streets and made real friends and I wasn’t just sitting around talking to people virtually”, he tells. Furthermore, he launched a start-up named “Mundial Masr” where football players would meet on a website and create/complete teams to play together in Cairo. The start-up is currently not active. However, it is one of the many accomplishments he wouldn’t have been able to achieve if he were to remain active on Social Media. Aside from that, he learned French and traveled to France. He currently enjoys walking, training and traveling with his dog, going to work, listening to lectures, reading and simply nourishing his own happiness, “why should my happiness be based upon the likes and shares of people?” he wonders.
“sitting and watching people’s lives on Instagram or Snapchat is a waste of time”, Iman El-Sayed
Unlike Hatem and Habiba, 21 year-old Iman El-Sayed still has an active Facebook account, however with personally placed limitations. Iman goes on Instagram and Facebook only to check the updates of informative pages she is following. She doesn’t look highly on being glued to the screen, “sitting and watching people’s lives on Instagram or Snapchat is a waste of time”, she says. Placing limits on her Social Media usage has allowed her to indulge deeper into reading, watch more informative videos on YouTube, and create designs on Illustrator. She feels as though any deeper indulgence into the Social Media world would get her acting like a robot, unaware of the real world, “the one thing I hate the most is going out with friends and taking pictures; I want to talk, they want to take pictures for Social Media. They are wasting their time creating a show for Social Media rather than actually socializing”, she tells.
“the right application of Social Media revolves around communicating information with one-another, and does not revolve around displaying your life for everyone to see” Mohamed El Maghraby
Mohamed El Maghraby
For 26-year-old Mohamed El Maghraby, people’s portrayals of themselves on Facebook tend to feel fake more often than not. People he knows are expressing and portraying false and/or shallow images of themselves on Social Media, but somehow at the same time are giving away too much information about their lives, “when you haven’t seen someone in ages, and you meet to catch up, it’s not as sweet as before, because you know everything about them through Facebook”, he explains. He currently goes on Facebook to keep up with a closed group he is a part of, that shares info regarding Germany. Other than that, he is off Social Media. Instead, he spends his time reading, swimming, playing football and taking online courses in programming. Furthermore, he chooses to physically interact with people in order to absorb a greater amount of energy, unavailable through virtual interaction, “the right application of Social Media revolves around communicating information with one-another, and does not revolve around displaying your life for everyone to see”, he concludes.