Last April I purged the final big social media presence I had.
At the end of 2016 I could be found on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Spotify, WhatsApp, Starbucks, Strava, Pinterest, FitBit, and you name it, I was probably using it for a bit at some point.
For reasons I left each of them and why, read on!
Snapchat: Realistically, it existed before Instagram stories, and has no use anymore. I was really only using it when I was single anyways!
Facebook: Loads of meaningless connections, too much advertising, and too much time spent wasted looking at nothing important or factual.
LinkedIn: I am a grad student. I am not looking for a career right now. Most of my connections were other university students, not people in my field, and I found more jobs on Indeed than LinkedIn at the end of the day. I didn’t feel it was getting me anymore advantages than I could create for myself.
Wordpress: The undergrad pipe dream of being a blogger, I didn’t spend enough time thinking about what I wanted to blog about, or for who, and how to be successful. I didn’t put myself into it.
Spotify: I pay for Apple Music now, why have multiple platforms?
WhatsApp: Any friends I had in undergrad in the States are back in Canada now.
Starbucks: I got myself a Gold card at the expense of my bank account building points on this App, but getting older, trying to budget my money means not owning any apps trying to get me to spend it all the time.
Strava: I was a running clinic instructor and I used it to keep my running group accountable, but once it was done, I found too many people using it to show off, or show people up, and I found I wasn’t enjoying running for the fun of it anymore because of this.
FitBit: I have a Garmin running watch now, but it's basically the same reasons as above for Strava. Health isn’t a competition!
Pinterest and Instagram: I still have.
I realized that I was tired of being "on" all the time, I was tired of being "creep-able," and I was tired of being a presence in people’s lives I didn't know or didn't talk to anymore. My life was full of meaningless connections. It took me a while to get through all of them, deleting profiles permanently, downloading data, getting rid of multiple accounts, and closing ancient or never used email addresses. It was a journey. Eventually, I realized how infrequently I was using Facebook, and when I did, I was bombarded by a news feed full of targeted advertising, ranting individuals, and people I once knew. I was only keeping it to stay in touch with a few individuals, people I had met at an overseas internship, and friends too cheap to pay for cellphone plans so they only used Facebook Messenger. I went through my friends list, told some people I was deleting Facebook, grabbed their emails or phone numbers, and/or added them on Instagram, the only social media I was choosing to keep.
Between Facebook and LinkedIn, it looked like I knew thousands of people. I didn't know half of them, acquaintances, introductions, or literal strangers. So many people watching all the time and I could barely control it. So, I chose an app that I could control quite easily, block people, or set to private: Instagram. One of the other reasons I got rid of a lot of the fitness tracker apps was because I also felt in constant competition with others. Strava, especially, since I am just a recreational runner, it took the joy of running away constantly posting, commenting on, or having my run compared to others.
Now given this point above, it might seem counter-intuitive to only have Instagram, the app of display and compare central, but here is the thing about having this app. You can make it the way you want it! Most people don't do this because of pressure to be "on" all the time, selling themselves, convincing others their lives are great, you get the drift.
The reality is, you can block as many people as you want, you can set your profile to private, and more importantly, you can choose who to follow and what you are seeing.
For example, I follow many success and mindset coaches, debt coaches, and author’s—people who post positive, helpful things. I also follow animals because daily doses of cuteness are always necessary. Importantly, I don't follow accounts that make me feel like shit. If I don't want to compare myself to someone else's life, the self-made fitness girls, wannabe nutrition health “I eat better than you” people... I don't!
Instagram is exactly what you hear, you create the world you want to see for yourself. Pinterest is sort of the same, pinning wants, needs, or aspirations. Either way, both of them have ways of being a limited presence on the internet if you want to be. Take the time to figure out what is important to you and how many things you really need to be on. However, if you are a business owner then this is completely different. Only if you are on the internet just for recreation, family, and friends, then it is OK to take some time off to be more present in our physical world.