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Why I Gave up Social Media

Rediscovering My Life in a Technology-Driven World

By Elizabeth PattersonPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

Technology.It is a blessing and a curse. It is used to connect us or divide us. It permeates almost every area of our lives and most of us check our phones more than we drink water. It is a habit, hobby, and, for most, a necessity. So why would someone give it up?It started for me during the 2016 election. I, like most Americans, was glued to the news watching the craziest moments I've ever seen unfold in American politics. Everyone had an opinion. They still do. Which is great—that's what America is about right? Freedom of speech and expression. However, I was seeing my social media feeds flooded with angry, hateful, impassioned, closed-minded people (on both sides of the aisle) arguing over "Cheeto Man" and "Crooked Hillary." A lot of ALL CAPS arguments were happening in the comments section of almost every post I saw—people, who had grown up as best friends and even family members, were now at war. I found myself constantly feeling stressed whenever I would log on to any of my social media accounts, never knowing what I was going to see or who would be hating whom today.I couldn't breathe. After the election, I realized that I needed to do something for my sanity. I had started to see people I care about in a different light, all because of different opinions that weren't being shared with me, they were being screamed AT me. I came to the obvious conclusion that no one will ever change someone's opinion or belief in the comment section of Instagram or Facebook, and Twitter isn't fun anymore when your @s are full of people calling you names. Social media was created and designed to connect people and to make the world feel a little less scary and big. That's what it used to be for me. When I was in high school, Myspace was the coolest thing ever and the only stress I faced was who was going to be in my top eight (and what position they would be in—those decisions could make or break a friendship, am I right? :) ) and Facebook was the cool new kid on the block. I used to talk to friends and share the cool things going on in my life—it was interactive.

Today, I can't remember the last time I actually interacted with anyone on social media. My newsfeeds consisted of politics, recipe videos, and celebrities living THEIR lives while I watched through a screen. Then it hit me.I don't HAVE to be on social media. It's not a law and honestly, it's not even that important. So, I did what I had wanted to do but never thought I could do before—I shut it down.

All of it—and I'm not just talking about taking a break and deactivating for a little while. I'm talking a full, clean sweep. I hit that delete button and let me tell you, after I did it and after the 14 trial days were over (social media platforms are actually really cool for doing that because I know, next day regret can be real), I felt... FREE.The world seemed new, the sky was more blue, and I could finally hear the birds chirping again! Yes, I still see the news. No I am not uninformed, but I know that I can breathe again and my stress level has gone way down. Seven things that have happened to me since getting off of social media:
  1. I can finally form my own thoughts and opinions and feel strong in them, now that the noise and opinions of others have radically decreased.
  2. I am reading again! Not headlines, not articles, but actual, gloriously-thick, get-lost-in-another-world BOOKS. Never underestimate the power of a good book.
  3. I have tried new food and not had to post about it. (Vegan sushi, I am now obsessed with you and I have also fulfilled my lifelong dream of learning how to use chopsticks!)
  4. I have reconnected with old friends. Did you know that your phone can do more than just post pictures? :)
  5. I have rediscovered my love of writing and the joy of handwritten letters.
  6. I sleep better and am more productive.
  7. I finally have time: time to go, see, do, live. I'm done wasting time.

I never used to think I was being held back by my Facebook or Twitter habits. I thought I had a great, busy life; until I shut it down and realized that I now had so much more time on my hands.

I know it seems funny to say that because people will say that they are living their lives and just sharing it with the world. Did you know that the saying "proof or it didn't happen" is a total crock? It has stolen the ability to just be in the moment.

Don't "do it for the gram" —do it for YOU.

Live your life—find new places, try new foods, meet new people, slow down, be present, breathe deeper... just... be. Now I'm not saying you have to delete all of your social media accounts, but in a world that is out-of-control, constantly wanting to collapse on itself, and full of so much strife and hate; looking up, turning off your phone, unplugging and stepping out into the world to smile at someone new and spread love might just be what heals this madness. If nothing else, it will do wonders for your soul.

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About the Creator

Elizabeth Patterson

Just a girl trying to live her best life...

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    Elizabeth PattersonWritten by Elizabeth Patterson

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