I expect the answer to this question will be “not at all or as little as I can manage.” However, I don’t think social media** is inherently bad. Are the big platforms bad for privacy? Yes. Is the idea of social media bad, if it could be designed differently from the ground up? I don’t think so.
Reddit is a good example of a more anonymous social platform. Yes, they need an email address and I’m sure there are a bunch of things about it that I don’t know are terrible, but it’s more privacy respecting than Facebook both in how much data they can collect and how much data they ask users to give through the site’s design.
This forum is another example. Forums predate the idea of a social network, so I don’t think it’s great to lump it in with Facebook and Instagram, but it still involves connecting with people online in a way that’s pretty accessible to the rest of the world.
I know that these services are not all the same thing, not by a long shot, but I wanted to use these examples to show that (1) there are different options you can use if you’re interested in social media and (2) that I don’t think it’s inherently bad from a privacy or well-being perspective if you think about how you’re going to use it instead of letting it use you.
*: I vibe in Reddit and independent forums, there is my bias, lol.
**: I don’t think that the term social media is helpful to categorize all the different forms that it can take. You may as well just call it the social internet, which author John Green as done and which I prefer.
So this is an interesting question and glad I planted the seed.
For me I don’t have any personal social media accounts. However, notice the personal there, I have a business and in today’s world it would be stupid for it to not have accounts. I manage it well though my business has its own devices, its own email, it’s basically it’s own person.
I think something like this forum is great, it is nice to be able to connect with random people on a platform that isn’t trying to gather up everything it can about us.
I think for a lot of people it is important for them to look into how they use social media. While the platforms themselves are bad the users of them can also be terrible and if you share too much you could be stalked or worse.
As for Reddit specifically when I used to use it I would doom scroll endlessly so moving all my news to an rss feed was one of the best things I could do for my productivity and mental health.
I love forums; they’re a throwback to a better era of the Internet. I never got involved in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the major sites we normally refer to with the term “social media” because they just never appealed to me. I had a few Reddit accounts, but I really just don’t like the format of Reddit, and aside from browsing certain subreddits, it’s really not my cup of tea.
I’m on this forum and The New Oil communities on Matrix, and that’s the extent of my personal posting. Unfortunately, professional accounts are another story.
Honestly, I still have to use social media and I dont think that I will be able to resign from them anytime soon. Most people that I talk to (friends, family members, coworkers etc.) refuse to use anything beside messenger/whatsapp/whatever and I cant really convince them to change.
Reddit honestly is not better than other social media platforms. Most of the email providers this days will want to know your identity anyway, as email itself got recentralised (as all decentralized protocols will usually do).
They used to not need an email address to make an account but at some point after the introduction of the new Reddit layout now they made an email required. However, if you try to make an account through old Reddit you can make it without giving an email. So it’s roundabout but still technically possible.
Source: Made an account without giving email a few months ago.
The last time I tried to sign up for Reddit, using the old Reddit URL only redirected me to the new one… I also tried using Tor and was immediately shadowbanned. After that, I concluded that Reddit was trash.
I think that part of the reason for why emails are required is to fight against bots? I’m not sure if there are privacy-respecting options to create an account that require something that makes it harder to make an account. Even this forum requires an email to sign up. Presumably you can always use an alias.