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.