That’s it! I’m done with Facebook. I waste so much time scrolling through posts by people I haven’t seen or talked to in years and I can’t stand all the negative political news and advertising anymore.
Have you said this to yourself before? If you are like many of my friends and family you have, and maybe you even attempted to deactivate your Facebook and or Twitter account once before.
Quitting cold turkey doesn’t seem to work. Within two weeks most of my friends are back and shamefully, more addicted than ever before.
As a follow up to last weeks post about social media becoming plain old vanilla media. I will share how I took a more calculated approach to quitting social media. I weened myself off the platforms until I was strong enough to completely delete my accounts and since then I haven’t looked back or regretted it one bit.
In the current world of social media addiction, when you meet up with a friend from high school there isn’t much to catch up on that you haven’t already read online. When your aunt calls and tells you about her cruise to the Bahamas you say you already saw the pictures. And you witness every milestone of your niece’s life not by being present, but by scrolling through the five inch computer that is always within arm’s reach.
Nothing to talk about here folks. I’ve got no time for face to face conversation, I am too busy scrolling.
Sherry Turkle writes in her book Reclaiming Conversation, “We are at a moment of temptation, ready to turn to machines for companionship even as we seem pained or inconvenienced to engage with each other in settings as simple as a grocery store. We want technology to step up as we ask people to step back.”
Social media has made it so we don’t have to be social anymore. And I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I’m now surprised when a friend tells me that he got a new job, when my sister sends me a video of my niece’s first words, and when my best friend gets engaged. By quitting social media I can actually share these great moments in real time, and I find this much more enjoyable and engaging.
So how did I quit?
- I started by unfollowing or unfriending people that never posted anything positive. The toxic folks, I am sure you can name some. Like my second cousin once removed that always talks about politics or my friend of a friend that is always selling some new crap… Whoops I meant to type wrap, or diet pill, or sending me invites to new Facebook games.
- Next, I removed a few “friends” each week that I don’t even really know. The friends of friends or people that worked at the same company I used to work at, but we never really talked. Or even easier, anyone that I can’t even tell you who they are or what my connection to them is.
This took a couple months and removed hundreds from my lists.
- Next, I removed anyone I hadn’t seen in 5-10 years. Since high school or that job I had in 2008. I set a goal to remove 5-10 people per week and got more strict each week. I never removed a lot of people in one swipe. Just bit by bit, week by week.
Before long my accounts only had a few people remaining… Wow I guess I don’t have as many friends as I thought I had. Those remaining I actually keep up with in the real world… Imagine that.
It was after this that I realized I don’t even need to have the accounts anymore. I will naturally keep in contact with my parents, sisters, coworkers, neighbors, aunts and uncles, and cousins.
At one point Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were good. But now I think the cons have outweighed the pros. In the last year I have not missed the networks one bit. And with the extra time I’ve gained I started writing on this site!
I challenge you to rethink your social media use. Trying to decrease how much you use the apps doesn’t seem to work, but lowering the amount of content that you are delivered them seems to help. Who is on your feed that always makes you angry? Delete them. Who shows up on your feed that always posts about politics? Delete them too. How about this one, anyone that you have never met in person before. Delete them right now! Good luck. And make sure you have something else to do with all this free time you are going to gain. Maybe try reading a new book. Or stare at the clouds.