I’ve spent the past few months debating, discussing, and contemplating logging off social media for a while. And this month it finally happened. There was no big story. Nothing crazy happened to me. I just made a decision and decided stick to it.
The funny part is, social media has been apart of my life since the beginning of Facebook. It’s been ingrained into my everyday life just as much as bathing. And even though getting off social media isn’t something phenomenal, it’s something that most people my age wouldn’t dare do. Especially as a blogger.
It’s almost required, that if you want to have any kind of online presence you should be active on at least two social media platforms.
The problem is, I was spending hours every day on my phone. Yet I was complaining that I didn’t have time to do all of the things that I want to do. On the weekends, I would feel like I’m missing out because I’m not partying like some of my friends. But I don’t even like partying!
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. After over a decade of liking, scrolling, and double tapping I’ve finally decided to give it all up in the name of my mental health and getting my life back. And if you’re interested in what exactly led me to this point, here are the reasons why I quit caring about social media and what I’m doing now.
Why I Quit Social Media As a Blogger
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It’s All Curated
Let’s be honest for a moment. When Instagram first started, it was normal to go out with your friends,have fun, and if you happened to take pictures you would share it with the people who followed you.
Now, in 2020, instead of going out to have fun, you go out with your friends just to get the perfect Instagram picture. And if you happen to have fun then that’s cool too.
It’s so curated that you could even be having the worst night of your life, but as long as it looks like you’re having fun that’s all that matters.
Instagram is all about putting your best foot forward. Portraying a persona that is at best an exaggerated version of yourself and at worse, a completely different version of yourself. Even someone like me who doesn’t like pretending to be someone that I’m not, ended up falling into the trap.
I was buying and wearing clothes that I wouldn’t normally buy, just because I saw some influencer in it. Spending way too long putting my outfits together on the off chance I might take a picture. And wearing a full face of make up on a regular basis. It got so bad that I wouldn’t even take pictures or videos of myself at the gym if I didn’t like my outfit or if the colors of the gym didn’t go well with my feed.
I became obsessive. And I always justified it as me trying to help and inspire people. But I realized that taking the perfect picture does not inspire people. And I can deliver valuable information in ways that actually resonate with me and my personality. I shouldn’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not. Or post a perfectly curated picture of my body just to be able to say something of value.
It Gave Me Anxiety
I’d like to think that social media isn’t all bad.
The reality is, these apps made me. I don’t think I’d be a blogger or have gotten into fitness if it weren’t for fitness Instagramers and Youtubers. But they also broke me.
The way people love social media is like the way that people love gambling. Most of the time you go in confident, and leave feeling worse than when you got there.
Apps like Instagram and Facebook are designed to consume your time. They want to keep you on the app for as long as possible at whatever cost. And that’s exactly what they did. I checked my likes and follows and views as soon as I woke up. And then I would check it an hour later. And if I was bored or trying to avoid having a real conversation, guess where my focus was?
The more I scrolled, the more self conscious I became. I compared myself to other bloggers and influencers. And I felt pressure to post every day in order to gain a bigger following and have more reach as a blogger.
This meant I was taking pictures when I didn’t want to. And I was posting just for the sake of posting. Whether I was thinking about the next booty workout I could make or how to best organize my photos, I couldn’t turn it off.
I felt as though I always had to be on display on these social apps. If I didn’t, I wasn’t doing myself justice as a blogger. Not to mention the algorithms made it even harder for me to be seen so I had to go above and beyond in my tactics.
The whole process felt like a job I disliked and that I wasn’t getting paid for.
It Ruined My Ability To Focus For Long Periods of Time
For years I thought the reason I was too busy to read, or draw, or do more productive activities was because I worked too much. It wasn’t until a few months ago, when I tried every method I could to get myself to read and draw again that I realized the real problem was me.
My attention span had become shorter due to the constant flow of visual data on these platforms. My brain, and everyone else’s that use social media frequently, processes so much information through all of the swiping and scrolling that anything that requires real focus is hard to do.
I remember when I used to read books for hours without stopping.
Now I find it hard to read for 20 minutes without reaching for my phone to check for a notification. In the past couple of weeks that I haven’t had these apps on my phone, on multiple occasions I found myself searching my phone for something to look at. Then remembering that I deleted everything.
It’s Not Necessary to Be A Good Blogger
This is what really helped me make my final decision to quit social media.
When I thought about my success as a blogger and my ability to reach people, I realized that I didn’t really need those platforms to be successful. Sure I can use them, but I don’t NEED them to be a good blogger. I’m already a good blogger without them.
If anything my blog helped me grow my social media presence, not the other way around.
And now that my blog and Pinterest are the only online platforms that I use, I feel as though I have so much more freedom to really talk about what I want without worrying about how I’ll be perceived. Or checking for validation.
Because that the instant gratification of likes and comments isn’t always a good thing.
What I Do Instead
Getting off of social media has given me so much more time to actually do the things that I want. I’ve gotten back an extra hour or two in a day and I’ve been taking advantage of it. Here’s what I’m doing instead of being active on social media.
- Watching Documentaries. I’ve always loved documentaries and history. Learning more about wars and great historical figures is just the beginning of me catching up on lost time.
- Reading More. Regardless of whether it’s a blog post or a book, I find myself finally slowing down and reading like I used to. I only finished one book last year and this year my goal is 5. Not much, but it’s a start.
- Spending quality time with the people I care about. I’ve always disliked being around people who were always on their phones, even when they were supposed to be spending time with their friends or family. Then I became one of those people and I felt guilty about it. Not having social media on my phone has made it easier to live in the moment and just enjoy the downtime.
The real question is, will I ever become active on social media again? Probably. When people quit social media they rarely ever quit for good. But when I do come back, it’ll be on my terms.
How do you feel about social media? Have you ever taken a break or felt the way that I do? Let me know in the comments.
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