Signing Off Social

About a year ago, I took myself off of Instagram. I haven’t regretted it or even really looked back. The changes have only been positive. While I had a brief stint where I thought I was harnessing my creativity, eventually I came to realize I had become more of a sheep. What was unique about what I was posting were the words I would write underneath my pictures–but no one really cared about what I had to say. Instagram is a visual medium–it doesn’t particularly cater to my strengths. It took me a long time to realize that I was looking to others to mimic their style and how they put things together. I think on IG we’re supposed to call each other “inspiration”. But I never felt inspired. I felt like a follower–desperate for more of my own followers. One summer date night I watched as my hubs–whom I knew was starving, sit patiently with food in front of him. Getting hungrier he motioned to me, “get your pic baby, I’m bout to dig in.” When I realized my partner had been trained to wait to eat his food, that’s when I knew I was done with IG.

The decision to leave Facebook has come much more recently for me, it’s only been a few weeks. I feel compelled to write about it because it feels different from leaving Instagram. The minute I signed off of IG I felt like a weight had been lifted. My brain was no longer required to think in this duality–What am I doing/How do I want to share what I am doing? I had gotten to a point where I was never just having experiences–I was having them and then interrupting them with thoughts of how I would share them. It just wasn’t how I wanted to live anymore.

My relationship with Facebook has dwindled significantly in the past year. Right before I deactivated a few weeks ago I was only signing on once or twice a week to share my blog posts and engage with anyone who had commented on something I had written. I went back and forth trying to figure out how to eliminate my personal account and just keep a page for my blog. The longer I researched it, the more I resented how much time I was spending on the platform. Eventually, I just decided to pull the plug altogether.

My decision hasn’t been without consequence. With the elimination of a Facebook audience I’m down about 100 readers per post. While those numbers may seem insignificant for some, they are large for me. Without social media, it’s clear I’ll have to work harder. Right now, I’m trying to decide what’s more important–growing my readership, or living a lifestyle I feel good about. Does that sound like a no-brainer? Yeah, I’m not sure either…

I don’t want the new iPhone. I don’t want a freaking robot in my apartment who knows when I’ve run out of dishwashing tabs and orders them. I admit I’m a bit of an old fogey, but I’m not anti-technology. I just question how much “happier” all these “improvements” are making us. If technology is supposed to make us more free, why do I feel more and more dependent?  

No matter how confident, self assured, and independent you are, I think it’s impossible to use social media platforms and not get caught up in the comparison game. For a while I accepted this. I thought hey, maybe every time I see that girl from high school with some new accolade I’ll use it as motivation–it will light a fire under my ass when I need it. Problem is, it hasn’t worked; competition with others doesn’t really bring out the best in me. It worked in high school–in sports, but that’s about it. The truth is whenever a percentage of my energy is being taken from my goal and put towards measuring myself against someone else–I lose. This idea always makes me think of that photo of Michael Phelps’ competitor losing out to him because he can’t help himself–he turns his head to steal a glance to see where Phelps is at. The gold medalist is of course face forward, with his eyes on the only thing that matters–the wall–the prize.

So if Facebook wasn’t motivating me, or making me happier, I started to wonder…what was it doing? When I started considering this I realized that I had been on Facebook since I was 20 years old. That’s 14 years–nearly all of my adult life. I go on and on to my co-workers all day about how concerned I am that kids nowadays are growing up with screens attached to their faces, but until recently, I’d barely contemplated what it’s meant that I’ve amassed and curated an audience for my life for the past decade and a half. As real and authentic and transparent as I’ve attempted to be–I’ve still performed. The platform demands it. I think the degree in which it requires us to perform depends on us, which is why it may be important to start understanding who we are and what we really want from a social network.

I know a lot of people lately have been reminiscing about the “old days” of Facebook, when it was all baby pics and vacation photos. In the midst of this Russia fiasco, even Zuckerberg is calling on his minions to tweak the algorithm and go back to prioritizing personal posts. I’ve thought to myself–maybe that’s the problem, I should stop trying to have a voice on social media and just treat it more lightly. I should share the bright and easy bits and pieces of my life with friends and family. Hmmm…friends and family. If I’m going by that measure then I’ve got about 700 people to de-friend. Cause the truth is, it doesn’t matter how genuine I am–what I would share with my real life friends and family differs from what I’m willing to present to hundreds or even thousands of people. While it can feel good to connect to individuals from the past, I fear that these connections have mostly served as a sense of validation and have often been quite fleeting. They pale in comparison to the life experiences and interactions that compile each day and add to my real character. I think that’s where the real conflict within me lies–if I’m able to live happily and in authenticity in the physical world, must I persist in my struggle to replicate that authenticity in the digital atmosphere?

The strange thing is, I manage just fine in the blogosphere. Perhaps this is because it is my space–it’s not shared like a social network. Here I feel connected but not herded. I don’t feel pulled to follow or deviate from any norms. I don’t feel obligated to discuss or contribute to what’s “trending”. Not being on Facebook feels like not being a part of the machine. And for now, that feels really good.

I do wonder if I’ll change my mind. The embarrassing truth? I think about Facebook. And why shouldn’t I? It was a daily part of my life for double digit years. It’s almost comical that I thought I’d be completely free of it and all it’s entanglements in just a couple of weeks. I’ve seen a lot of people write about short breaks from social media and they usually say the same things: “I didn’t miss it at all.” “It was a welcome break.” It’s not that I don’t believe these people, I just also think most of them are trying to convince themselves that they are not addicted to these platforms–that they can take them or leave them whenever they want. And maybe they can. But I doubt they can do so without it continuing to occupy some space in their mind. After all, there are surely things to be missed. March Madness is coming up, which traditionally has been one of my favorite times to be active in social networking. Sharing sports with a larger group of people is actually probably what I miss most. Still, I’m not sure what I gained from those connections is worth what I might continuously be losing.

I think that’s why before I give in and laud this all as just a worthwhile experiment, I’m going to give it some real time. There’s been a large part of my brain that has been occupied by social networks for years. I’m hoping if I allow for the real distance that’s needed to truly vacate that space, it will make itself open and available for endeavors that truly cultivate my imagination and creativity.

Whenever I look back at college, I often think: Damn, I wish I wasn’t so wrapped up in my eating disorder and in alcoholism–I could have participated more in school–maybe gotten a great internship, worked at the school radio station (did we have a radio station?), maybe even studied abroad. My experiences are what they are, and I value them. But I’m especially grateful for those moments in my life that I’ve given myself a chance–when I’ve realized that eliminating something that may not serve me may be just what I need to make room for something that does.

Is life different without social media? Will I be happier? I think only much more time away from it will tell. I’ll keep you posted…

 

 

What is your relationship like with social media? Do you feel like it’s an honest one–like you know what it means to you and your life? Have you ever taken a break from social media? How did it feel? Do the different platforms have different effects on your life? Have you eliminated one and not the other? Tell me why, I’d love to hear from you…

 

 

header: josh rose

84 thoughts on “Signing Off Social

  1. Eh. My life through social media is good and bad. I met some good friends on IG but my FB is only for family. I don’t use FB very often and only comb through IG when I’m bored or when I’m posting. My posting through IG has been less frequent. I was completely cut off from the Internet and phone when I went to France because I didn’t get international service on my phone before I left. I only had WiFi at the hotel and didn’t use it much. I really enjoyed it. It allowed me to actually relax, and I went out all day and most of the night. Social media is dying in a way I feel.

    Like

  2. sometimes it is important to remove yourself from the noise. I honestly use Facebook for my run clubs and to keep up with events and activities like a calendar. I also think its important to avoid the comparison trap, just do you mama. You’re doing just fine 🙂 Cheers, boo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks lady! Yeah the further I get away from facebook and IG the more it feels like the right thing for me. I am sure everyone has the what works for them–nice to have that choice. I think after being on these platforms since college–I forgot I had one!

      Like

  3. I find it a delicate balance, I can go a day or two without posting to IG and not worry about scrolling back trough to see what has happened. The Hubs on the other hand can’t put it down!! His last job required him to be active on all SM platforms, but not his current one and he is still relentless. I found that FB is more drama than IG and basically only share my blog on my fitness page, October may have been my last share on my personal page?? I’m trying with this blog thing, but haven’t found my niche. I’m more than running, I just need to figure out how to put it all together!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Social media is… pardon my language… fucked. As a Buddhist, I figure my job in life is to get over myself so I can recognize that we are all connected. The enlightened pursuit o selflessness has millennia of Buddhist (and other faith traditions’) wisdom behind it. Social media instead encourages a relentless preoccupation with oneself. I don’t sit in judgement of other people — I have SM profiles too. Its just that some technologies don’t bring out the best in us. In short, Kat…yeah. Agreed. And also seeking for more authentic ways to connect with people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s one of the clearest ways I’ve heard it Said: social media encourages a relentless preoccupation with oneself. I think perhaps that’s why it’s made me so miserable!

      Like

  5. It’s a weird one isn’t it, we go on social media to connect to more people, to stay in touch with friends around the country and globe. But in the end we only get half a picture. What we see is not the real them. It’s either the good bits or the really bad bits. But it’s the every day that makes people who they are. The things they don’t even consider putting out there.

    We end more detached because we are waiting for them to tell us what’s going on, rather than making a call, sending a text, grabbing a coffee. Then there’s the people we don’t even know. Wanting their approval, like it even matters. We know even less about them.

    I came of IG for a few months, it was causing me heart ache for reasons I won’t get into. It helped, for sure. I’m back on it now but no longer obsessive. Facebook I use mostly for Hockey and running stuff. I do resent how I feel the need to check them, but I also know I’m not as bothered as I used to be. I see old posts of my rantings and problems and know I’ve come along way from then.

    You’re definitely doing the right thing though. I hope one day social media will stop meaning so much, it’s not the real world. We are better in person 😁 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that word ‘connect’ is the key and interesting word I think. That’s the point right–to connect. But it seems like what that means is changing as the world becomes more and more digital. I was going to say that I don’t want to change with the world–but i guess in many ways, I already am changed, cause I grew up with all this. Now I guess I just want to go back!

      Like

      1. I hear you chick, we are kind of forced along with it. All we can do is try to stay true to ourselves and what matters. We don’t have to get drawn in any more than we want, and use it for what helps us. I do really wish we could turn it all off sometimes though, remind people of what really matters

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Love LOVE LOVE this post. I am actually tempted to share it on my facebook account, ironically. But I agree with you that the blogosphere is a source of connection for some of us, and we get less caught up in the “comparison traps” and really just encourage each other. So it is a unique kind of space. Thanks for your thoughtful approach to social media and for being a leader and not a sheep. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! So I’m not on social media myself anymore but I would never be against someone sharing my stuff on there, lol! Thanks for the thought!
      I wonder why it is we don’t get caught up in those comparison traps like we do on social media. I’m not sure if it’s intention or what?
      And not sure I’m a leader–but I knew I couldn’t stand the feeling of being a follower anymore! Thanks girl!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow I love this. I did that once when I was in college and that semester was the best semester of my life. I got all As and I traveled, I loved every moment and lived in the present moment. But then I went back on, I am thinking to do that again because I don’t think all of that matters. What matters is you, how you feel, and what makes you feel happier and yourself. And if that thing doesn’t do the job then leave it. I like this quote, often reminds me of this decision by Rumi: “Half of Life is lost in charming others. The other half is lost in going through anxieties caused by others. Leave this play, you have played enough.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That quote is bang on. Love the end–‘Leave this play, you have played enough.’ Exactly what we are talking about here, right? Thank you for that.
      I’m gonna give it a go for a while and see how I feel–hoping for good things, kind of like your semester in school!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting article, Cat.
    I’ve always been a limited FB user. I don’t have it on my phone. So I have to be on my computer, and I turn off all alerts. Useful for my neighborhood/town connections. And for staying in some semblance of contact with many friends scattered worldwide.

    I definitely share your reluctance with electronic everything–someone gave me a baby Alexa (forget what its called) as a holiday gift a year ago. I gave it away–the invasion of privacy and mining of my data feels hideously intrusive, even as I suspect I am so dull to any observers. No thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Alexa thing–just the most insane invasion of privacy. I cannot believe people voluntarily put that in their homes. It feels like there’s not much care or understanding for the things we are giving up and why they are important. It’s what makes me terrified for our democracy.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Cat, great article – I stopped using Facebook over a year ago as I felt like I was comparing my life with other peoples… Since stopping I feel much happier and can now laugh at other people on their day/nights out not conversing with their ‘actual’ friends/family but stuck in their online world! (I have just started another slight addiction though – twitter! I use this for running inspiration though, so it is slightly different…!!!?!) Keep at it with your ‘real life’! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rebecca! I am so with you Although lately i feel like i find myself laughing less at those people out and not paying attention to each other–it just bums me out! I’ve certainly had the urge to approach people and be like, “talk to each other!”. But yeah, I’m guessing that wouldn’t go off too well–I would look like the crazy woman!
      Thanks for the encouragement–going to stay on this “real life only” kick for as long as I can!

      Like

  10. Oh, I’ve been thinking a lot about this exact thing. I can’t stand Facebook but can’t see how to run my business without it. 46% of my web traffic comes from it! Last week I took my break and noticed how many times I picked up my phone to check instagram or facebook. It was way too many times! Thank you for sharing your experience. I think we need more real life time with people and less screen time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get it–it really is a necessity for some of us. I wish that it wasn’t. With the goals I have, signing off was probably not optimal–but I’m going to work my butt off to try and grow without it. We will see.
      PS-excited for you and your new adventure–keep us posted on how you’re doing. (I’m dying to quit my job–for now I will live vicariously!)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “But I’m especially grateful for those moments in my life that I’ve given myself a chance–when I’ve realized that eliminating something that may not serve me may be just what I need to make room for something that does.”
    Word.
    Well, I myself quit Facebook as a sophomore in college and never even joined the other social media sites. The only ones I’m on now are WordPress, which is social media despite what some may argue to the contrary, and SquadRunner- I’m a lonewolf runner and the online community makes me feel less lonely in my running.
    Cheers for your realization!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I guess wordpress is a form of social media. It doesn’t feel like it to me, but I guess it is. Here i am able to focus on writing in a way that i am not on the other platforms. Everything about it just feels much healthier–and worth my time!
      These online running communities are a force I see–it’s pretty awesome that people are connecting and motivating each other–def a positive.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I read this post with particular interest as someone who closed their Facebook account last year. The trigger came during my travels in spring: maybe it was because it was my first time travelling alone and seeing new countries, but I was far more aware of how I’d default to swiping and scrolling my screen whenever I had a spare moment. When I came back, I tried to look at how and what I actually used it for, and most of it was to kill small moments and fill them with something. And the something would normally be meaningless updates from people who I’d not seen or spoke with in a long time.

    I think on the whole, social media is a positive thing (and I do use some other platforms that have less of a time-sink impact on me than Facebook did). But we’re really in new territory in terms of the impact it has on society and culture and the potential toxic/addictive behaviour it can encourage. Since it’s still relatively such a new phenomenon, there isn’t much in terms of guidelines or advice or education in how to keep it a healthy, beneficial part of ones life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re definitely right–it’s new enough that there’s not much data on it yet–we are the test dummies!
      I am not convinced as you are that social media is on the whole positive. I believe that a lot of tech advances original intentions were positive–like i do actually think that Mark Zuckerberg wanted to connect people across the world. But i think so many original intentions have gotten lost in profits. All of these platforms and apps are built to be addictive, to have us spend more time on them and give up more and more of our personal information so we can be targeted for more and more ads. Yeah, idk, i can’t agree with the on the whole positive thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I take those points, and think I didn’t do such a good job of explaining my point. When I say it’s on the whole positive, I guess I mean the ultimate potential of it: connecting you with people around the globe to foster meaningful relationships and create new ones, a forum for reasoned discussion and debate on topics great and small, a way to stay up to date on current events that aren’t necessarily tainted by large news corps.

        Most of those points are currently distorted (nonsense personal updates by the hour, bickering and bullying, fake news): in addition to the point about personal information and adverts, that’s a significant factor in me moving away from Facebook.

        So I’d agree with you that right now, social media is trending (and infecting my language apparently :D) towards toxic and invasive. But as we live and learn and evolve/adapt with it, I still think it’ll be overall a positive. Like everything there will always be some negative elements, but I’m optimistic in this case!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. This is really interesting. I present an edited version of me on Facebook, I always said I would never say anything on social media that I wouldn’t be prepared to shout in the middle of town, and that has stood me well. I share a photo a day and then my business and book blogs on there, in a professional way, and I share good stuff on mental health. I am a member of my running club’s page and use that to encourage and see how people are doing, and I use the scrabble games to keep in touch with people. I use messenger for my personal stuff and that works well for me.

    Instagram I have looked at a few time, but I feel it’s all about a mask, an image, and I feel frankly inadequate – it’s for beautiful people. I am featured on it in my friend’s marathon journey posts. I looked at the pics, wow, I’m looking GOOD. This is apparently down to filters. Nooooooo! So no to IG for me and I rarely tweet. FB gives me, though, those extra little connections, extra lines of friendship with people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve got a agree with you wholeheartedly about Instagram–totally a mask and totally about the outwardly “beautiful” people. I found it really draining.
      Now I want to see your friends IG though to see you in all your glory!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I used to be waaay more dependent on Facebook. Especially in relationships, it would make me CRAZY. Who is my guy talking too? Did he like my picture? Who the hell is Stacy???? But my current boyfriend of four years has NO social media. No Facebook, Twitter, instagram. Dude doesn’t even have a paypal! And it has been AWESOME. I finally stopped checking Facebook every day. I didn’t worry about dumb stuff, I just enjoyed our relationship.
    I struggle with the whole promoting creative ventures, though. I mean it’s hard enough in general. Like how do you get people to actually want to READ and not instead watch a YouTube video of a cat? I get frustrated trying to get my blog out there so the thought of not having Facebook, which is a huge source of readers for me, terrifies me! I would be really interested in what other venues you’re going to use. Because I love the idea of not using social media, I’m just not sure what else to do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! That would drive me nutso to be in a relationship like that–glad you found someone you don’t have to worry about that stuff with anymore!
      Fucking youtube videos of cats. ugh, I just, can’t.
      Yeah, it really is hard to get people to want to read. The only thing that has really worked for me is to say fuck the gimmicks or strategies–just work hard, write from my gut, and earnestly put out the best shit that I can. I very much have a “if i build it, they will come” mentality. If I get too caught up in strategy–then the content–what I really care about–tends to suffer. That’s why my blog isn’t visually artistic or interesting. If I ever have a really significant following-I will get someone to help me with it. But for now, I can’t spend my time on fiddling with shit that’s just out of my wheelhouse.
      You’re right though, doing all this without social media seems like a pretty tall order. Right now I am really just focusing on wordpress readers/users. Also, I used to be much better at this, but I used to also post all my content to medium as well. That helped build a bit of a wider audience. I need to get back to that!
      Appreciate you chiming in girl, always!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love the “If I build it, they will come” strategy. It’s something I need to focus on more than the outcome. I actually just posted a quote in my blog today from Marianne Williamson, “Do something not because you think it might make money; do it because it makes your heart sing.” Thank you for sharing that it’s OK not to buy into all the gimmicks! I think there is always that pressure, but I agree that great art from your gut will always win out!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s weird thinking about Facebook being so old, in terms of technology. I think that I joined it back when you had to have a .edu email address. Wait was that a thing or am I making that up? I have been pretty good with keeping a low social profile outside of Facebook. I have a twitter “nerdy” twitter account that I used for scientific content, but I have not really done much with it. Perhaps, that can be a new project for me.

    Although I have not taken an official break from Facebook, I have noticed that I’m not on there as much as I used to be. Mainly, because my news feed is full of Trump, Russians, baby pictures, etc. Maybe, I’m getting old and do not feel the need to put as much of my life out there as I once did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Kwame, I def joined with a .edu address as well! I remember when it was was college students only–it was definitely a thing!
      I love that you have a science twitter account– I would follow if i actually ever used twitter!

      I also love that you are equally disinterested in Trump and babies. I am with you! Don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if the babes isn’t related to me, I don’t really care–and no, they are NOT the cutest baby I’ve EVER seen!

      Lastly. I’m with you on aging and not feeling like you have to put as much of yourself out there. i guess I reveal quite a bit through blogging–but for some reason that feels different to me. But hey, maybe it’s not, who knows?!

      Like

  16. Ahhh The Question. What value does social media have? I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’ve also recognized the impacts its had on my day-to-day experiences… and struggle that ‘social media’ is always on in my mind’s background.

    I’ll be following to see how it goes for you. I’m all about finding freedom – maybe you’ll inspire me to follow suit 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly it–on my minds “background”. I wanna get it off and see how it feels! I think I was going to falter and give up on this in just a couple of months but writing this and reading the responses has actually made me more determined to stick with it. Gonna try and give myself at least a year to really clear out all that shit in the background! I’ll let you know how it goes of course!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I agree about Facebook back in the day. I hated it when they “prioritized” the feed. I liked it in chronological order (same for IG). I feel like I miss a lot of stuff on Facebook. However, a lot of people in our city use Facebook to put work out there about different events. I like seeing that aspect. For instance, on Monday, I heard our 21+ and up arcade saloon is having a fundraiser for one of the local pet rescues. We wouldn’t have known about this fun evening without FB. About 10 years ago when I worked for the Girl Scouts, I had to completely change my Facebook. I was in my 20’s and out of college – I posted the obligatory 20-year-old shit. And then co-workers and volunteers started friending me. I went completely private and stopped accepting friend invites. I want to post what I want on Facebook, and I feel like in the 10+ years, I’ve cultivated a group that doesn’t judge me (or I’m not showing up in their feed and they haven’t commented). The only person I did keep who judges me is my mom. Not that her judgment is bad – she just wants me to grow into a mature, responsible adult – something that is pretty much a losing battle. Anyway, that’s how I feel about BF and how I can enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get it about the events! It seems like learning about local events and being a part of groups are two things that most people really get a lot out of. It’s starting to make me wonder–how did we find out about these things when there was no fb? I mean, people didn’t do less activities before, right?
      Idk, it’s interesting. I understand there is a certain ease to the platform that really can’t be beat.
      It’s so interesting how life is now–how we all have quite a bit to say about our relationship to these things. I think it says a lot about how technology has changed our lives!

      Like

  18. Wow this post is so timely – I have been thinking a lot about my relationship with social media these past couple weeks. I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about it like you just did but there is so much to unpack and I don’t even know where to begin. I haven’t deleted my accounts but I have really been distancing myself and laying low lately. I’m just sorta sick of it, like one big social media hangover.

    I guess what it comes down to is that, as someone like you who also really likes to write, I find myself unhappy and dissatisfied with the shallow and empty type of communication that social media fosters. Nobody uses Facebook to talk about their lives anymore, they just share memes and political rants. I want to keep in touch with a friend, not a meme. Somehow we are talking more while saying less. And Instagram, to be frank, is just a hotbed of narcissism. I was scrolling through the other day and I came to the realization that everyone who posted was just talking about themselves, not the pictures – I think, I want, I feel, me me me me – and clamoring for likes/comments. All empty approval-seeking. I’ve been guilty of it myself – forgetting about the moment for a second to get a perfect shot, spending 5-10 minutes (!) editing and filtering and coming up with a caption….all of that, for what? To get a few likes? What do those even mean? Those people probably just mindlessly liked it without thinking and forgot about it a second later as they scrolled onto the next thing. That’s what I’m spending so much time trying to get? What is the matter with me?

    But it’s not just me, and it’s not just you. The people who designed these platforms have specifically said that they were made to be addictive. This is intentional. And that just makes it feel more icky. I read that many of the designers of these platforms don’t use them. If that doesn’t tell us something…

    And yet, I can’t bring myself to press those deactivate buttons. I guess I’m too afraid that I’ll be lonely in a world where everyone else is glued to their phones, or something. Maybe one day I’ll get the guts to do it. What I HAVE done is unfollowed a bunch of people. A couple years ago I defriended everyone I don’t know on FB and that helped a lot, and now I am doing the same for Insta. I already feel a lot better.

    Ha, maybe I should write that blog post after all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree there is a lot to unpack–I think you’ve done pretty well here though already with these few paragraphs, and you could obviously go on. What you say about Instagram is EXACTLY what i feel but didn’t have the guts to say–basically I was trying to not offend anyone who uses Instagram. But i think you are spot on–narcissism up the wazoo!
      I’m also so glad you mentioned the people who have designed these platforms. Part of what pushed me to finally deactivate was listening to tech people being interviewed on podcasts. I listened to a guy the other day who worked for google for a while and was trying to change them, ethically, from the inside–but admits he failed. What he wants is there to be a “truth” campaign, much like there was about smoking. So you know, it’s not so much about exposing, “hey , this is bad for you”, it’s more about exposing that “hey, this is exactly what was done TO PURPOSELY addict you to apps and other technology–this is how it all works.” I agree that it is incredibly revealing that people who are designing these platforms aren’t using them. HUGE red flag!

      I actually thought I might crap out after a couple months and reactivate but after reading everyone’s comments, I am actually more inspired than ever to give this a real go–at least a year. Your last paragraph makes me sad–lonely in a world where everyone else is glued to their phones. There is a loneliness epidemic. There are social scientists who even believe it is responsible for most of the bad things in our world–war especially. I am starting to believe it as well. We are all logging into these platforms to cure that loneliness–to escape it. Something tells me though that we might just be cultivating more of it.

      Lots to explore. If you ever do decide to press those deactivate buttons–I’ll be here with you (but not ‘there’, cause then we won’t be there anymore, right?).

      Like

  19. I’m sure you’ve already read my posts about Facebook and my quitting for good last Sept. Ironically I did just reactivate for about 20 mins the other night because I had been thinking about some random people and wanted to go snoop on them for fun. I did that one other time since deactivating for good and about 10 mins into checking out different people’s profiles I end up bored and wonder how I used to enjoy wasting so much time scrolling the newsfeed each morning and evening and sometimes throughout the day. I feel like Facebook creates this “going to miss something” mentality that compels you to check it so much, but even with quitting for good I don’t find that I really miss anything other than minor updates from people who I’m not even that close to anyway. I do miss the ease of finding events in my area that Facebook provided but in general there’s still nothing that I miss enough to merit reactivating it. I agree that whether you try it or not you end up comparing yourself to others on Facebook and for me at least it would make me second guess a lot of my decisions in life and it’s like no, chill out, your life is fine and you’re happy so stop thinking that way. I have found a lot more time for reading and writing since quitting and feel a lot more benefit to my life from doing more of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely thought of you while writing this TN. I think you are spot on–Facebook’s trick is that it creates that “going to miss something” mentality–it’s what has dragged you back on there twice since generally being happy deactivating. It’s funny cause the majority of responses I have gotten on here are people saying how little they actually use the sites. It’s funny cause that’s what I was saying to myself before I deactivated–it’s how i was justifying staying on–that i barely used them. But something still nagged at me, knowing that they still took up too much space in my brain. It’s been interesting because i think before i wrote this I thought–maybe I’ll just stay off for a few months, and then just use it minimally. But idk, people’s responses make me really want to step out and not be a part of this machine–I think I’ve gotta give myself at least a year and see how really being clear of it all feels!

      Like

  20. I first deactivated my Facebook account in 2011 or 2012.. it was long enough ago, I can’t remember exactly when, but I remember where I worked when I did it. I reactivated it when my wife asked me to a couple of years later… and after a few months, she got fed up with it and we deactivated our accounts again. I haven’t ever turned it back on.

    I was on Instagram for about a year; but found it to be too much work for too low an ROI and deleted my account. I have a twitter account I often forget to sign into to see if anyone’s commented on blog posts… and it’s only still up because I don’t have to actively do anything with it… WordPress sends the tweets when my posts go live.

    The term “social media” is a joke: It’s not social — It’s pre-dystopian.

    Good luck… I know it’s difficult to give it up. That feeling as if you’re missing out on something eventually dies (or did for me).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The term “social media” is a joke: It’s not social — It’s pre-dystopian.” I love this comment so much cause it’s really what’s been on my mind–what me writing this is all about, and what I’ve been contemplating. With certain new advancements I often think we aren’t moving forward but rather beginning our end. It seems like we’ll all just contemplate this though as we watch it happen–there’s such a feeling of there is no stopping it. Admittedly, that bums me out.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I deleted my Facebook a few weeks ago as was on it too much. I do not miss it one bit. A couple of my friends have deleted their page as well. I do like IG and Twitter, although I don’t post daily. I use it mostly for the running community and gym/weightlifting. When I post a running picture it helps me with my training, my goals and keeps me focused and motivated. I like seeing other people running pics and training and it gives me training ideas. Twitter I find that good for advice and encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Kerryanne! Yeah I know what you mean about IG for the workout stuff. I used to like it for that too but idk, it stopped being motivation for me–the narcissism just got over the top. But i do get it, it’s great for ideas. Now I tend to just google exercises and things! But I got ya–I think there is a general consensus that people love these platforms to stay accountable and motivated–I am guessing that is why Strava is so popular!

      Like

  22. My son’s kindegarten teacher 10 years ago taught him that he should only befriend someone on Facebook if he would actually cross the road in real life to say hello to them; I’ve applied that to my Facebook friends ever since! It’s a brilliant strategy. My son is now 17.5, and just bought himself a $50 ‘dumb’ phone that has no internet access, as he’s over the whole social media thing… I deleted my Pinterest, but def enjoy Insta, and a bit of Facebook- some friends only do Social Media after 5pm, if that helps you? G

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so interesting to me G that you are not the first person here to mention Pinterest! I did not even know that was a thing that people actually used like socially. The only time I ever used it was when I was wedding planning–and it made me crazy after about a month so i stopped! Using that as a social network sounds like hell to me because you’re mixing consumerism in with being social–just really sounds awful to me!
      And my problem really isn’t spending too much time on social media. In the end i wasn’t even going on it daily. Idk, my mind just feels like it wants to head in a different direction–like whether we are on these platforms or not, when we use them habitually for a long while, they become part of our subconscious. I guess I feel like i want to erase my hard drive and start over!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get ya totally! I just wanna read and write all day really, & see my friends for yummy meals. But Facebook does keep me in touch with friends interstate and overseas family… plus the odd hilarious cat video 😘

        Like

  23. If I lost one hundred views per post by removing myself from social media I’d be into negative numbers haha!

    I’m on FB, IG and Twitter but I don’t really use any of them that often. I like to take a few running or brewing photos for IG, FB I use primarily to let family overseas see pictures of the kids or specific things we’ve been up to as a family and Twitter is a bit of pointless fun for me! My blog posts get automatically shared to FB and Twitter but I don’t think it’s ever really generated much traffic for me.

    I’m fairly comfortable with it I’d say but I could certainly cut down further and probably increase my overall life happiness! There’s certainly a dopamine fiend in all of us and one of the curses for me of the blog is that I’ve fallen back on using it as a means of instant acceptance and validation rather than taking longer to craft stories for myself and sharing them when I’m ready. It’s still a tightrope I’m working out…

    Interesting post – thanks for getting me thinking!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s funny Nik cause I never thought my social media ever generated all that much traffic either, but if I look at my posts that have really had a lot of views, it does primarily come from social media. One time someone random with a lot of twitter followers liked something i wrote and shared it, all the sudden hundreds of people were flocking to my site. It’s pretty crazy the influence that people can have. It’s cool in some ways I guess–but mostly, I have to admit i kind of hate it. (Maybe that makes me a hater!)
      I think you and I have had the conversation about the instant acceptance before–it’s def something I struggle with as well. It’s especially a struggle when I’m on myself to work on other things besides blog pieces–I need to learn how to plug away at something for a long time without needing validation!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Christine Sorenson

    I would say I have a sincere relationship with Facebook. I probably read more on Facebook than I post. I don’t watch television so I follow mainstream news via Facebook. It enables me to easily stay in touch with friends and relatives who are very far away, such as Norway and Denmark. Via Facebook, through observing similarities of opinions, I’ve become even better friends with people whom I didn’t know as well in real life. As well, I’ve made friends with people with whom I would have never crossed paths. Working for a large corporation where there have been many layoffs over the years, I’ve been very grateful for Facebook as it’s enabled me to stay in touch with people whom I genuinely care about, but who are no longer in my life as we worked together.
    I don’t think of myself in comparison with others. Other’s lives are very different than mine.
    Downside has been the political noise, which I generally don’t share, although I do appreciate some of the scathing humor. And I can never see too many cute animal videos and pictures. Those always make me happy.
    I haven’t tried any other social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great Christine! I don’t encounter that many people who have such a sincerely positive and healthy relationship with social media, so that is super impressive! I also think that while I love my life and I don’t ever let what someone else is doing change what I am doing–I do naturally compare myself to others at times. I used to beat myself up about it but now I just think that i’m human, and as long as this comparison is only brief and not changing any course of action, I’m ok!
      Thanks so much for sharing. So happy to still have you as a reader even though I’m off the book!

      Like

  25. I wasn’t raised with social media, so I can take it or leave it, but I do have to use it for product reviews. I can’t stand FB; people are hateful and the ads are atrocious, so I never use it. I’m part of the running community on IG because, let’s face it, only other runners really care about your daily run, although I do have huge support here on WP too. And I hate twitter. Too political. But I agree… WP is my special little part of the world, and the people are amazing. You made a great choice, 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, forgot to add… my 13yo child, he hates social media as well. He thinks it’s stupid, lol. He does play games online, but mostly with his friends from school. It’s like a virtual play-date, and kind of like us as teenage girls talking on the phone for hours upon hours into the night, 🤣 👍 (I was only sharing because you mentioned the kid aspect, 😊)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I LOVE independent kids who just march to their own! I think a lot about how I think that is even harder to do these days as a kid. I was definitely a kid who wanted to be cool–I was a leader, but a follower too.
        And aww–remember talking on the phone for hours?! Idk, maybe I’m old, but there’s something that was just the greatest about that that text will never replace!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes Paula-I do agree that other runners are the only ones who care about all the little running things. I love that i can write about a tempo run and people actually respond! It is really amazing to be able to interact with people who are just as crazy about something as you are!
      And yeah, as we neared the election, fb just became a place I couldn’t stand to be anymore, and that hasn’t really changed!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I opened a facebook account several years ago for one reason–it is how my church communicates. I have regretted it ever since. At one point I unfriended everyone except for my daughter that lived 1200 miles away. Now I mostly use it for a few groups. The book “Unfriend Yourself” is thought provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is amazing that you whittled down to just your daughter. I also totally see the value in the groups–I did have some running groups I enjoyed dabbling in that I miss. I think you are def on to something with limiting your “friends”. Maybe that is the way to go. It’s funny cause even though people have some good solutions–as I read their comments, I become a little more determined to stay off the radar for a while!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I used to spend HOURS on facebook when I was a graduate student. I’d browse and browse for content. Now with my newer job, I don’t have time for that and it’s actually nice not being sucked into it. I go on it maybe 10 minutes a day, if at most that. I’ve also decreased my IG and Twitter time. It’s adulting time for me. LOL Gotta hustle to make that money. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely nice when life just naturally helps you whittle those things down! The time I spent on these platforms became so minimal, but for some reason it was still more than I want to give. We will see how zero feels for a while!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I could never get into IG for the reasons you explained. Much too surface oriented. As for FB, I got back into it a little while back It is almost entirely made up of people I work or have worked with, so it’s more of a catch up and water cooler thing, and I enjoy it for that.

    As for WP, I like telling stories and ranting and hearing other peoples stories and rants. So it works for me.

    Peace

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am hearing a lot of people say they adjusted their audience/network on fb–that might be something to consider. It’s not even like I have a crazy amount of “friends” compared to some, but still–it’s not necessary for me to inform 700+ people about my life!
      And yes–telling stories is where it’s at ;).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, that whole friends collection is something I did on my other blog when I linked with Twitter. I knew like a handful of people, like REALLY knew, lol. So why did I do it? Good question . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Nice post. It is interesting to consider what would happen if more and more people started to disconnect to social. Now, I think that would reduce to a certain point only because the generation of say under 30 has never NOT had social media. I have two children that are in their early 20s and their whole lives pretty much rely on contacts and conversations via social media. There have been numerous studies about the negative impact of technology on society and I think we are finally seeing it. Great post – keep writing though. I’ll keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel lucky to be in the generation that I am. My generation created social media, but we also grew up without it–although it’s far back for many of us to access now, we all do have some memory of life without all this stuff. And i think if we are being honest with ourselves, we have to admit that that life wasn’t more lonely or not as happy–it was good. I feel grateful that I know that–that i know life without it–now I just have to remember HOW to live without it–you’re right, we really do come to rely on these things!
      Always appreciate you reading–big time!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Facebook os very superficial. Fake friends. I signed up for instagram but don’t use it much because I am duplicating what I was putting on Facebook. Ive cut back on Facebook, since I’ve started blogging. I am thankful for that. Tired of all the advertisements.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think blogging does feel like a more meaningful replacement to these platforms–especially if you enjoy writing! And oh god yes, the ads–too much. I don’t miss knowing that some bot has followed my every movement online! I know it’s probably still happening I feel like I’m participating in the system a bit less by being off of fb!

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Actually, I just deactivated my Facebook as well!! I did it at the beginning of this week, but then realized I have to use my Facebook login to log into Strava, where I have all my runs logged! Ugh! I was spending an insane amount of time of Facebook. For a couple years now, I’ve wanted to detach myself from FB, but couldn’t bring myself to do it for fear of losing touch with family and friends. I do feel that I’ve gotten to know people better because of it, but I hated that it was consuming me. I don’t even talk to my best friends or family on there that much anymore. Then I thought, if people really care about me, and I care about them, I can have relationships with them outside of FB. I really only care about pictures anyway so I still log into IG. I’ve checked FB twice this week but briefly to see if anyone needed a response from me. I feel so much better already! Good luck in your endeavor 🍀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so funny you say that about the strava–I have luckily made a conscious decision to never “log-in through facebook”, only because it just made me feel like I was selling all my info wholesale. But now that i am not on it, I am glad it is not connected to anything else!
      I think you’ve identified a really common theme that comes up for all of us–that fear of missing out. I think that is part of why i wanted to talk about this–cause it’d be easier to say that i don’t miss it at all. But of course I feel like i am missing out–it’s something i’ve used daily for 14 years. It’s like if I took some sort of medication for 14 years and suddenly stopped, there wouldn’t not be side effects and withdrawals. Hoping I can just hang on and get through this period of withdrawals to come out on the other side feeling a bit freer! Appreciate your thoughts–glad to know I am not the only one contemplating all this!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. It’s funny because I was just thinking the other day that I barely go on Instagram. Pinterest or Facebook anymore. The little bit of tech time I have is spent on WordPress catching up on post reading or answering messages. I questioned whether it was bad that I spend more time interacting with “strangers” than with my “family and friends” and yet, I know the important things that are happening with my family and friends without being on Facebook and the people I interact with regularly on WordPress have become friends. For now, it seems like the place I need to be:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree AJ, I don’t really need FB for staying connected with friends and family. And I also know what you mean about wordpress people becoming friends–I definitely agree, I’ve met some great people on here, yourself included!
      I will say that part of this whole process for me has been getting honest about not just how much time I spend on platforms, but also how they occupy my headspace when I am not on them. It seems like everyone I talk to now says “I hardly spend any time on social media”. I am starting to wonder what “hardly any time” is, cause all i see on the subway, etc is people scrolling through IG and FB!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm I wonder what hardly any time means?
        I probably look like I’m on it, but I’m actually reading on my kindle app🤣
        One of the students at school had to keep track of his day. It was shocking to see he spent five hours on a computer! Maybe as a society we’ve lost the ability to realize how much screen time is too much screen time!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s