I'm Quitting Social Media...Again
Social Media Just Isn't Social
I remember when I started dating my boyfriend years ago, my friends thought I made him because he wasn't on Facebook. This was when Facebook was just starting to get big and I was only using it because the copywriting agency I worked for required it.
Even then, I thought it was strange that people honestly thought if you weren't on social media you didn't exist. I even applied for jobs that said I wasn't active enough on social media, so they couldn't verify I was a real person. This makes about as much sense as requiring a video interview to be a writer, something I refuse to do as I'm being hired for my writing skills, not video skills and I don't have an hour to waste answering questions that I could answer in an email in just 5 minutes. But, I digress.
In 2020, I became fed up with social media. What an ironic name - there's nothing social about social media anymore. It's like you took the worst parts of high school, tossed in an unhealthy dose of political insanity, and shook until everyone was vomiting up lies and negativity 24/7.
I'd already severely trimmed down my friend list. Mainly, I still used it to connect with a few clients who I wrote Facebook ads and marketing posts for. A few old friends I'd stayed in touch with from high school thought I must be terribly lonely with my <100 friends while they had thousands. Seriously, it's not a popularity contest. My life's value isn't based on my friend or follower count on social media, but there lives were.
Between surviving Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 presidential campaign and the everyday nonsense, I'd had my fill, but when the pandemic hit, I was done. I couldn't take the endless stream of fake lives and negative news. I need a break.
Quitting Social Media Part 1
I did it. I deleted both my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I kept my LinkedIn account that I'd never used outside of accessing clients' profiles to write blog posts and bios.
At first, it felt weird. Then, I realized that if any of my social media "friends" cared, they wouldn't have a problem texting or calling. A few stayed in touch. The others felt that if I couldn't use Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp, then I obviously wasn't in touch enough with the world to be their friend.
About a week after I purged social media, I felt better than I had in years. I know it sounds dramatic, but imagine getting up, not grabbing your phone, and not giving a damn about everyone else's drama or perfect lives. Plus, why couldn't I choose what to see on Facebook? Why did their algorithm choose it for me? I actually did want to see news from the brands I followed, not just a fraction of their posts.
Suddenly, I had extra hours in my day. I wasn't trying to post and comment and be social on platforms where no one really cares outside of adding their voice to the growing noise.
It was a welcome reprieve when the world seemed to be falling apart. While I know some used social media correctly - to actually connect with friends and family they couldn't visit often - most made it into a toxic environment.
One More Chance
In early 2022, I gave Facebook and Twitter another chance. Mainly, I wanted to start using the platforms to connect with fellow writers and share my work.
I took about one month for me to remember why I'd left. Despite carefully choosing who to follow and trying to keep my feeds positive, it was impossible. Simply sharing one of my posts from Vocal turned into a completely unrelated political argument in the comments.
Instead of sharing writing tips and obstacles, I got more and more crap. If it wasn't arguments about politics, COVID, and the environment (I was kind of surprised by this one), it was scammers trying to get me to sign up for their guaranteed make money quick scheme or other writers begging me to share and like all their posts and content and they'd do the same for me.
I'm happy to help out another writer, but I don't go for like and share schemes. I'm not going to follow people just because they follow me or like content just to boost likes myself. If I like something, I'll engage with it. If I don't, I move on. Sure, it might not lead to as many views, but at least I know the views I'm getting are from people who are actually interested. Plus, I've seen far too many writers lose their pay or even get banned from platforms for doing this.
Social Media Free At Last
I finished closing my Facebook and Twitter accounts yet again just last week. I'm not going back. Personally, I find it easier to be social on platforms like Vocal thanks to the comments section or other writing platforms.
I'm happy for anyone who actually enjoys social media for the right reasons. But, I think we've all see the increase in influencers with mental health issues. Sites like Facebook and Instagram are trying to make it harder to view the content you want and instead are pushing recommendations, which usually are highly irrelevant.
Social media makes it far too easy for people to be less social and civilized. Just look at any post about body positivity. If someone's happy at 100 lbs. with carefully toned abs or embracing the curves at 400 lbs., I'm happy for them. But, people just can't help themselves from acting like their entire world revolves around tearing others apart.
I know I'm not in the best career when it comes to people sharing negative comments, but I've grown a thick skin and for the most part, readers haven't been too bad outside of me telling them that being too sore to move means you're working out too hard. Lesson learned, people apparently love pain.
My advice to you is this - if social media isn't contributing to your life, then cut it out. There are endless ways to stay in touch with loved ones. You could even use different social networks that aren't such jokes and aren't quite so negative all the time.
Your mental health might just thank you for putting down the endless stream of posts and taking some time to focus on yourself. Remember, most of what you read on social media is about as real as Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast.
Also, yes, you can live a happy, fulfilling life without it.
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Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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