First of all, before writing my opinions - if you want a quick answer, try going to Prism-Break.org, choose your OS, and scroll to the “Social Media” section. Lots of more trustworthy alternatives there, although I doubt any of them are comparable to what you’re used to they could at least be a start.
I’m not nearly as social as most people so take what I say for what it’s worth.
But I’ve thought for a long time that people need to change their outlook on what a healthy social life really is. Things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are terribly unhealthy in my honest opinion.
Why? Well, three main reasons.
First is that it’s turning people’s social lives into a game of numbers. Nobody can really be friends with more than roughly 150 people (see Dunbar’s Number - I personally believe it to be far less, but I think the number depends on your social energy level and personal interest level in maintaining your social life, and mine is probably lower than most). People are adding anyone they happened to have passed in the hallway once in middle school. It’s just stupid and insane.
Second, it makes people compare their entire lives to only the highlights of others. Making people worried about not achieving as much as others. It’s also making people care about all kinds of other things that they normally wouldn’t care about, and extends peer pressures and bullying to home - you can never escape it anymore, if you’re a part of these.
Lastly, it’s reinforcing people’s vanity. Everything’s a “Look at me!” contest. This is a smaller nit-pick and has been how humans, especially affluent ones who lack self-awareness, have been for a long time - but social media is really exacerbating it to far worse extents than ever. It’s really bringing out the worst in people.
Overall, I think people who are on social media find that many of their interpersonal relationships are empty because they don’t bother to focus on building just a few meaningful ones, and they’re more often depressed because they compare themselves to others too much.
You don’t need social media in the way that Facebook wants you to think you do.
You just want to be able to communicate with your close friends, to have a channel you’re able to talk with them over at any time even though you’re not physically in front of them.
Just get a good chat client and add your real friends to it. Don’t worry about the thousands of fluff people that really don’t bear much meaning in your life.
I’d recommend an open-source Linux client (see Prism-Break.org - choose your OS and scroll down to the “Social Networks”, Instant Messaging", “IRC”, or “VoIP” categories), but I know that getting people to join those things is nearly impossible. Skype and Discord are what I’ve had to deal with. They’re not clean of evil either, but it’ll have to do. If you’re really sensitive about security, just be sure to run them on a separate device and network band (preferably different router entirely) from your secure one.
It’s far better than messing with actual social media sites.
I don’t have to listen to people go on about their vacations, “the gym”, or post “I Am Very Deep” poems or song lyrics and other vaguebooking nonsense from people I barely know. These are frankly people I can do without.
Now everyone’s right there in my chat client and I can just ping them whenever I want to talk.
And that’s all in addition to the massive security / privacy issues… which are the real main point, but you all already know about that so it wasn’t worth bringing up.