“I don’t like Facebook. People share stupid stuff. Maybe I’ll leave.”
Blah blah and the like – so everyone says, including myself, and I’m guessing you. I have the luxury of easily being able to leave, since I don’t use it professionally.
So I left.
I wondered if this would be a social faux pas as a young person (I’m currently 22). Would my friends complain? Would I feel FOMO? Would I still feel the social media itch? My fears have proved unfounded so far.
If you are also considering making the leap, read to learn my experience.
This is why I left.
- Dissatisfaction – Social media left me feeling dissatisfied about the state of the world
- Judgment – Caused me to lose some respect for people I knew in real life
- Stalking – Encouraged me to online stalk people
- Comparison – Made me dissatisfied with myself through comparison
- False sense of knowing someone – I didn’t like the idea of a stranger being able to scroll through my posts and think they knew what type of person I am (and me doing this to others)
- Emotional roller coaster – I didn’t like the highs and lows when posting something new of getting interactions and wondering why it wasn’t getting more
- Screen time – I did not like being attached to devices more than I already am for work (scrolling could easily become a timesuck)
- Self-centered – I found myself being overly self-centered when I would post about myself and my experiences and my likes and my photos and my lie
The exit: Three months ago, I deactivated Facebook and Instagram.
Thankfully, I do not depend on social media for my job or personal life, so I have the luxury of being able to leave. After walking around the idea for a while, I finally jumped. On April 22, I deactivated my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Leaving Facebook was exhilarating, Instagram was emotionally harder.
Deactivating them was logistically very easy. Just Google “How to deactivate Facebook” and “How to deactivate Instagram“, or click the handy links to the left, and delete accounts to your heart’s content.
As a disclaimer, I kept some social media-ish sites I consider to be tools, such as Pinterest and Meetup. These usually do not cause me to have the negative behaviors mentioned above.
Have my friends complained?
Surprisingly, people stopped mentioning it very soon after I got off. They seemed to forget I was no longer on Facebook, just like I forgot. I did miss one event because a friend texted me and I forgot to put it on my calendar, where previously I would’ve been reminded on Facebook. I felt very bad about this and see this as a flaw in my organization, and not a flaw of getting off social media.
Have I felt FOMO?
FOMO = Fear of missing out
Nope. If social media’s purpose is the things below, I have not suffered for lack of them.
- Connecting with friends – I have built-in time to see my friends every week, such as Bible study, church, and soccer, not counting any other hang outs
- Being aware of news and events – I didn’t read the news before or now, so I remain generally oblivious to world events (this is something I will likely want to become more educated about in the future)
- Advertising – I will take any opportunity to be shown fewer ads
Do I still feel the social media itch?
I very quickly adjusted to not checking and posting on social media. Every now and then I start typing “Facebo-” into my browser. Pure habit. This shows me I did depend on social media for quick entertainment when I was bored. When this happens, I laugh at myself and do something else.
Conclusion: Worth it?
I love the freedom of constant checking and the need for instant social validation.
I love the returned time.
Do I like the feeling of superiority when I see others around me scrolling in a feed when they should be present in the moment? I do not want to enjoy this, but it exists.
I love that leaving social media has spurred me to resume writing this blog.
I’m glad I left and do not plan to join again anytime soon, probably not for years.
Do you think we could create non-addictive social media?
The creators of social media purposefully engineer it to be addicting. Just Google some articles. This got me wondering:
- Is it possible to have non-addictive social media?
- If so, does such a thing exist?
- It not, how could it be created?
I would love to hear your thoughts about this. If social media for social good is possible, maybe we can help create it. Send me your thoughts in an email.
PS – Please feel no judgement if you choose to use social media. I think it is a fascinating and potentially useful concept. Just not one I personally would like to be on at this point in my life.