How (and Why) I Quit Social Media

January 12, 2016

How (and Why) I Quit Social Media | Alyssa Pacaut

As always, January has turned into a month of reflection. A time to look back on the past year with fondness and look forward to the upcoming year with hope. One of my proudest achievements of 2015 is that I officially got off social media.

Before we get started here, I want to make one very important point. I am no better than you for quitting. If social media makes a positive impact on your life and allows you to connect with others, then more power to you. And if you successfully use it to grow your business or blog, please teach me your ways!

But if you feel a bit uneasy about the whole thing, then take my word for it: You too can quit social media and come out the other side in good shape. Great even!

Quitting Social Media: A Two-Step Program

Step One to quitting is to evaluate if it adds to your life in a positive way.

Fair warning: The first step can be long and tedious. My husband can attest to this as he spent hours listening to me talk about the pros and cons of each platform. I’ll sum those many months of conversation into three points:

1. Social media was making me less social. Ironic, non? I found myself checking out of a conversation to put together a post or editing a photo during a dinner while everyone else enjoyed the meal. At the time it seemed like a small sacrifice, but was it really worth it?

2. Social media wasn’t making me happy. Sure, a little like would put a smile on my face, but it was a small moment of bliss compared to the many hours I would spend wondering why no one liked a photo or obsessing over how to get more followers.

3. Social media always ended up revealing its true ways, i.e. using me to make money through advertising. As someone who works in marketing, I understand the value in generating revenue through targeted ads. However, seeing promotional stuff in my feed sucked the soul out of social media and tainted the community feel that originally got me hooked.

Step Two is a surprisingly painless and incredibly freeing. To quit, simply drink a glass of wine and go through the process of permanently deleting your account. Be sure to take a screenshot of the final step and send it to whomever you annoyed most with your social media soul searching.

If you prefer to quit with training wheels, you could spend some time saving your favorite content before pulling the trigger. For instance, I saved favorite photos from Pinterest to my desktop and bookmarked the links of my favorite Instagram accounts.

Life After Social Media

Every time I deleted an account a small part of me thought my world would come crashing down, but life continued on and most folks didn’t notice. In fact, someone just told me how much they love my Facebook posts and I deleted that account two years ago.

The best part is that those who did notice began sharing links and photos with lots of emojis. These personal texts and emails are much more meaningful to me than blanketed sharing on social media.

Of course, quitting social media has given me more time. I’d love to say I’ve used that time wisely to train for a marathon or attain Nirvana or something. Truth is, I still spend a ridiculous amount of time on the Internet reading blogs and watching videos. Nobody’s perfect, I guess.

Above all, I’ve freed up a lot of space in my brain. All those parts that used to obsess over creating the perfect post and worry about likes and followers are now free. Free to read a new Bourdain book, watch a documentary, tackle a new recipe, or learn a new French word. Free to think about everything, anything or even nothing at all.

Are you considering breaking the shackles of social media and joining me in this bliss? Or do you totally disagree and want to sing the praises of social media? I’d love to hear what you have to say, please do comment below.

7 thoughts on “How (and Why) I Quit Social Media

  1. Chloe | Conscious by Chloe

    I totally get you! I quit social media several times, which makes me an expert, right? Or is it the opposite?
    Anyhow, I realized that I had FOMO and tried to live with it. So my process was a little different.
    I unfriended a couple people who I hadn’t met IRL on Facebook, unfollowed the ones whose lives I didn’t want constant updates of and generally “curated” my timeline (that doesn’t sound right, but I like this English word so much).
    On Instagram, I unfollowed 90% of the people and am now working on following accounts that truly inspire/teach/entertain me rather than people whose lives I think I should have.
    No notifications ever, I see stuff when I want to see it.
    I basically just want social media to make me happy.
    As for what I post, how I interact with people and all things related to blogging, I’m still working on it. Spontaneity vs curation (yes I’m using that word again), snaps or edited pictures. Mon coeur balance.
    Thank you for the inspiration, and honesty. And keep the text messages and emails coming!
    I’m not gonna ask you whether you’re on Snapchat (chloelepeltier), haha, but then you could really see what uncurated (jamais 2 sans 3 curation-related words in one comment) content is!

  2. Alyssa Pacaut Post author

    An expert in quitting social media and the queen of curation? You may just be the perfect woman…or at least la femme parfaite for me! 😉 I’m not gonna lie, I’m super curious about Snap Chat and have also thought about downloading Whatsapp (which I realize is more like texting but ya know, internet stuff).

    I really like your tips for following and keeping a positive vibe surrounding your sharing. They seem to hit that sweet note between intense obsession and quitting completely. Bisous for being you!

  3. Allison

    Congrats on what was surely a long, involved process! I quit FB in particular (the evillest of evils for all the reasons you so eloquently mentioned) in NYC and NEVER missed it. Once here in Boulder though I found that I couldn’t get by without it, and it has educated me on how important it is to size up your surroundings and community when taking stock of those pros and cons. That said, I recently (in the same spirit of January) moved to categorize my social media – also a useful step in sort of downgrading – by moving all my politics/activism to one place, all my social to another, etc. Has helped SO much.

    So anyway, now that I know you love messages with emojis, I’ll be hittin’ you up! Missing you, girl, and your face and your energy! Even more than I miss wine and sushi, which is a lot 😉

  4. Alyssa Pacaut Post author

    How funny! Someone else was just telling me that they are thinking of creating one Facebook account for news and keeping another one for friends. I’ll tell her she’s on to something.

    Out of everything, I miss the documenting aspect of social media the most. Sharing little tidbits of daily life and being able to look back on it to relive the good times. Maybe I’ll come up with a good substitute soon. In the meantime, please please please text me often and with emojis!

  5. Alyssa Pacaut Post author

    Though I didn’t talk about it in the article, social media was giving me huge issues with jealousy. I’m not typically a jealous person and didn’t like that little pictures on a screen were making me feel that way. So, that definitely played into my decision to quit.

    And isn’t Ariana from Paris-to-Go the best? Love her blog and all of her insight. Good luck with quitting! I’m rooting for you!

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