Maybe it was the incessant political arguments on Facebook. Or it might have been the almost robotic responses to so many Instagram posts clamoring for likes and followers. It could be the personal finance “bros” on Twitter mocking another person for not saving $250,000 by the time they turned 30. I’m not sure what pushed me over the edge. Either way, I did it. I quit social media. And I couldn’t be happier about the decision.
Give vs. Take
What do we get from social media? What are the benefits?
Social media is a one-way relationship. You give your time, thoughts, and emotions, and more often than not, you get nothing in return?
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I decided to quit social media because I realized that I was giving a lot without getting anything worthwhile in return.
This wasn’t a worthwhile use of my time. In fact, this was a waste of time. I rarely felt enlightened by what I read from others, but instead misdirected. It did not provide me happiness. Instead, it usually annoyed or upset me.
Waste of Time
Raise your hand if you’ve ever opened up Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and started scrolling. Suddenly, you look up and realize that you’ve had your head buried in your phone for the last 15 (30!) (45!!) minutes. I think we’ve all been there at some point.
It’s like we’re in a trance, struggling to pry ourselves away from our phones. You try to break it off, but your brain talks you into scrolling down just a bit farther “in case we missed something.”
I’ve said before that time is our most valuable commodity. It is the one thing we can’t fix or bring back or replace. So, if you realize that, how can you justify wasting away minutes upon minutes that eventually add up to hours upon hours of our day?
There are so many things you could be doing that would be more productive or make you happier. You could spend time with family, call a friend, practice yoga, read a book, or go outside, just to name a few.
Taking Away Our Thoughts
Our own thoughts and opinions are often skewed by social media. Consider how much more valuable your pure, unfiltered thoughts can be. Instead, we are influenced by social media. You don’t have to look any further than the title of many of those with huge followings on social media. They are “influencers”. It’s their job (and they get paid a lot by various companies) to influence you in certain ways and to buy certain products.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t listen to other people’s thoughts or opinions. But is social media the best place to be doing that? If we want to learn from others and understand more about their viewpoints, shouldn’t that come from reading books or newspapers (or blogs), or having a real conversation with someone?
Social media is so-often fake. How often do we find ourselves happier after looking at Facebook or Instagram? This is the question I asked myself when I decided to quit. I tried to think of the last time I had gone on social media and I was happier afterward.
I couldn’t remember that far back.
You see, beyond the cute pictures of your friend’s kid or the elusive insightful tweet, everything else just seemed like a waste of time. But beyond that, it impacted my emotions. After a 10-minute scroll through my social media accounts, I wasn’t more pensive, more motivated, or even happier.
In fact, it was just the opposite.
I was disappointed by a “here’s why I’m right” Instagram story, annoyed by a “look at me” Facebook post, or angered by a condescending Twitter tweet.
Social media was robbing me of the emotions I wanted and replacing them with those I don’t.
In fact, Facebook even conducted a survey to manipulate our emotions while scrolling.
Social Media and Blogging
If possible, I would just delete my profile and remove it from all of my social media accounts. I wish it were that easy.
If you google “how to start a successful blog” or “blogging tips to grow your audience”, almost all of them talk about the impact and importance of having a social media presence. Some people have gained hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers through social media and the vast majority of their website traffic has filtered through a social media account. And while I agree that social media accounts can certainly drive traffic to a site and get people to read my blog, I wasn’t sure it was all worth it.
Then I came to a realization. The time I was wasting on social media and the negative emotions it was producing outweighed any of the benefits. If this blog is good, if the material is entertaining and informative, then people will still make it here. In fact, if it really is a quality piece, it usually gets shared by others to a much broader audience than I could reach.
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So I decided to keep social media and continue sending out new links for each post I write. But everything is automated. I use Facebook Business Suite to set posts that go out to Facebook and Instagram and then I use a plugin to Tweet new posts to Twitter. I get notifications on all my social media platforms so that I can still interact with readers if they reach out to me.
But, gone are the days of scrolling endlessly now that I quit social media.
What I Have Gained
In minimalism, there are a number of fairly common quotes. But many are centered around the same concept:
When we get rid of what we don’t need, we find more time for what’s really important to us and what truly makes us happy.
The same is true with social media. Since I quit social media, I’ve regained my time, my productivity, and my emotions.
I have time to do the things that I really want to do. I get to play more with my kids, read a few more books than I had been reading before, and be more present in conversations.
Additionally, I’m more productive now. I’m getting more things done at work and on my blog because I don’t have the added distraction of social media. Instead, it’s right to work. Honestly, it feels like an hour or two has been added to each day.
Finally, and most importantly, I’m happier. I’m happy that I have more time and that I’m more productive, but I’m also happier because I’m not being triggered by the negative things I’m seeing on my social media accounts.
Think You Could Quit Social Media?
Are you interested in breaking away from that social media addiction? I have created a 21-Day Digital Detox program. It includes 21 actionable steps along with tons of resources to help you understand and control your daily technology intake.
So do you think you could do it? Would you want to do it? Or, maybe you’ve already done it. Tell me how it’s going! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the idea of quitting social media.