Challenging Toxic Social Media Habits

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

by Sim-Wise

For the first time in the history of EVER we have unfettered access to the minutiae of everyone’s lives thanks to social media. We can now see pretty much EVERYTHING that our friends, competitors, enemies, and strangers are doing - instantly and in great fucking detail - and while this used to be a FUN thing, somewhere along the way it became the opposite. I’m guessing the downward turn started when Facebook came into play, Facebook being THE website that one day (hopefully soon) will be looked upon as the beginnings of all that is poisonous and evil online: the bag of burning dog shit that started it all.


I am old enough to remember when there was NO social media, and what a great time that was… back when nobody ever took any pictures unless they were on holiday, and even then it had to be a fucking special one - like your grandparent’s 50th in Malta or something. Thanks to shitty technology my truly awful teenage years where I looked like a sweaty potato will never fully come to light as there aren’t very many pictures of it, thank god.

When social media first started it was fun, it allowed you to reach out to strangers (usually on Myspace) and befriend them (virtually or IRL) because you liked the cut of their jib (or the cut of their asymmetric fringe)… all of which seems like a million years ago now as gaining new friends online is SO not fun anymore, it’s either addictive or depressing, and a whole different ball game…


If you have an addictive or obsessive personality (like me) then having too much access to others is not good. Not good at all. I could sit on my phone all day looking at what my first crush from primary school had for his dinner or what my cousin’s mate’s hairdresser’s drug dealer is up to now. We call this behaviour lurking, and I, my friends, am a TOP lurker. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I am really good at it. I do it so I am virtually traceless. I never follow anyone or mistakenly leave a like or even let anyone know that they have been lurked on. I’m like a creepy shadow… a fart in the wind.

Via my various lurks I have found out that 90% of the people I fancied at school are bald and/or EDL now. Some of them are dead, which makes it harder for me to lurk them… but not impossible. After all, the internet never forgets. One of my favourite pastimes is lurking on the social media profiles of people who recently died. Morbid, I know, but I find it really fascinating how the last post Bobby from Cov left behind was a picture of his dog and a half-eaten Cornish pasty.

I’ve only recently realised the extent of my lurker behaviour because a lot of it is unconscious habit - something I did without even thinking about it. It makes sense that I lurk a lot as I have always preferred to casually consume. I have social anxiety which funnily enough, translates to social media also. I just like passively looking at stuff while setting anything of my own that is remotely personal to private so that no-one else can do the same. I’m so private that I get eeked out by people seeing my Spotify playlist as I feel like seeing what music someone is listening to is like seeing inside their brain.


I often compare lurking to self harm, because it is. It’s a waste of time and every time you do it, it chips away at your mental health. The more I lurk, the unhappier I get. Sometimes I wish I could just throw my smartphone out the fucking window, but I need it for my job.