Below, you will find a fictional dialogue between Justin and Justina, two unusual-yet-similarly-named friends. In this conversation, Justina expresses her bewilderment about an external article that I recommended to New Leaf Journal readers on January 17. Is it not the purpose of social media to make the user miserable?

N.A. Ferrell's photo of a sunset from the Atlantic Avenue end of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
I took this photo of the late afternoon sky in January from Brooklyn Bridge Park in early January 2021. You can see the edge of Manhattan on the right side of the image. I used the Open Camera App on my BlackBerry Classic to take the photo. Who needs to take in pretty sights when endless misery is a mere swipe away? Justina, probably.

The Dialogue

Justin and Justina are having a text conversation using Element messenger. I am not being paid to plug Element. It is a good service though. Follow this dialogue’s example and give it a try.

A Confusing Article Recommendation

Justina: So I read The New Leaf Journal article recommendations from around the web last week.
Justin: Smart move. If you study the content, you can figure out how to get us on the most-read content list.
Justina: One of the recommendations didn’t make sense to me.
Justin: Victor’s Dylan stuff? I can’t understand Dylan either.
Justina: This Cal Newport blog. “From Instagram to Insistent Goats: Another Life After Social Media Case Study.”
Justin: That one? Nice post. Lady realizes her life isn’t a reality TV show. Lives life instead of fishing for likes, focuses on family. Good stuff. I recommend reading it. What’s odd besides the name?
Justina: The name is weird. I mean social media is real life, so there’s no life after.
Justin: That’s clearly exactly what I meant.

This Blog is All Wrong

Justina: Take this line: “It’s a nice reminder that although social media can offer a diversion from a lot that’s tough in life, it disrupts what’s good as well, and that’s rarely a fair trade.”
Justin: I agree, I don’t write “a lot” either.
Justina: Like that’s not what social media is for at all.
Justin: What do you mean?
Justina: The point of social media is to find people who look like they’re having fun so you can feel inadequate and wallow in your own existential misery.
Justin: Naturally. Why didn’t I think of that?
Justina: You wouldn’t understand. You don’t use social media.
Justin: I expect you’ll have me convinced soon.

Social Media Misery is the Point, Explains Justina

Justina: So say I’m having a nice day, right?
Justin: I follow.
Justina: I’m hanging out with friends or something. Not you, people who make sense.
Justin: Goes without saying.
Justina: Maybe I’m getting a little full of myself. “Oh Justina, you have such a nice life!” “Oh Justina, even your alone time when you get home will be nice.”
Justin: Uh oh.
Justina: Before I get too full of myself, I can pull out my phone. Log into Facebook or Insta. Scroll down until I find someone who looks like she’s having more fun than I am. Looks more fulfilled.
Justin: Right.
Justina: And then I tell myself: “You’re not all that. You’re nothing.” You know? I remind myself that I’m not really having fun. I’m not happy like the people I don’t actually care about in the pictures. Literally everyone on social media is genuinely happy. I’m actually the worst.
Justin: Interesting.
Justina: Isn’t it?
Justin: No.

Nick Doesn’t Get it Either – What’s the Deal With Pixelfed?

Justina: Even this New Leaf Journal business. Doesn’t get it either.
Justin: Enlighten me.
Justina: When Nick reviewed that Pixelfed thing, right? He wrote that he liked that “users are more interested in taking pictures of interesting things rather than their own faces or social activities.”
Justin: Not sure about that “interested … interesting” sequence there, Nick.
Justina: But what’s the fun in that?
Justin: Who would want to look at pictures of beautiful landscapes, interesting sights from around the world, and cool artwork?

Nicholas A. Ferrell's Pixelfed profile for The New Leaf Journal - Pixelfed may be an anecdote for Instagram users who want to share photos without the social media misery
My Pixelfed profile as of January 24, 2021. You can follow the account without joining Pixelfed, as I explain here.

Justina: Right? Doesn’t that sound like stuff that wouldn’t make you hate yourself and everything in the world?
Justin: Should be illegal.
Justina: When I go onto Instagram or any other social media, I’m looking for misery. I want to feel worse about myself – who I am now and my long, dark, empty future.
Justin: Your sense of self is a rotting pumpkin, but Pumpkin Taker won’t take it. Left to ooze.
Justina: Nick just doesn’t get social media. But you seem to get it.
Justin: I apprehend it.
Justina: I mean I’m totally right, right?
Justin: Eureka! I know what I want for Christmas!
Justina: …What?
Justin: For you to trade your smartphone for a landline.
Justina: …