I’ve been blogging on and off since high school. But I think this is my first time coming back for this reason: I’ve decided to do an experiment for myself and quit social media.
I’ve been familiar with most of the reasons behind this decision for some time, but after sitting down with the sum of these for a while, I’ve concluded that the cost of using social media greatly outweighs the cost of quitting social media.
Social media consumes way more hours of my day than I would like to admit. It’s one of the first things I check when I wake up and one of the last things I check when I go to bed. It gets checked whether I’m at work or playing volleyball. I give it my attention both when I’m looking for entertainment as well as when I should be focusing on something else. In sum, I probably spend well over 5 hours each day on social media, albeit mostly in very small chunks.
Perhaps the most consuming aspect of social media isn’t the time I spend engaged with it, but the time it finds its way into my thoughts. Thoughts like “Is there any new, interesting posts in my feed?” and “Do I have any new notifications?” constantly interrupt my focus. It’s almost a guaranteed impulse any time I see my phone. The attachment I’ve developed to this instant gratification of being entertained or feeling wanted has ultimately grown into an addiction, and it distracts me even when I’m not on my social media accounts.
Although social media can allow me to talk to more people more frequently, the connection is different. It can provide a false sense of vulnerability; although I can share meaningful stuff online, I get the chance to proofread my words before I share and if anyone makes me uncomfortable, it’s easy to just close the conversation. It can provide a false sense of connection; I can say my annual happy birthday to that friend who moved away 5 years ago, but still neglect to put in the work to make plans to hang-out whenever they’re in town. It can provide a false sense of knowing; I may think I know someone from regularly chatting with them on social media, but I could be wrong. To illustrate this last point, have you ever felt you knew someone well after reading their online dating profile and chatting frequently over the net, only to realize that they’re not at all how you thought they were when you meet them in person? Yeah. This.
And zooming out to the big picture of my life, I’m only given so much time and the choice of what to do with it. I thought about how I would feel at the end of my life, looking at my life in review, and realizing I spent 20% or so of my life consumed by social media and another 30% or so of my life being interrupted by thoughts and impulses about social media. Are there better ways I can use my time?
I’m probably going to need some time to recover from my social media addiction, and it will probably be a while before the impulses to check it regularly cease to dominate my thoughts. And my FOMO (fear of missing out) will probably try to convince me to jump back on in case I miss out on any opportunities, experiences, information, or news along the way. But I think that there will be greater value in taking my leave now.
Lately, I’ve chosen to do more sharing of articles on social media instead of writing. To pair with my quitting of social media, I’ve decided to start blogging again because frankly I miss writing, and it has been years since I last blogged regularly.
Going forward, I’m going to aim to post at least once a week sometime before I go to bed on Friday night. I don’t know that this blog will have any theme. I do know that, with the exception of any quotes, information, etc. I attribute to other sources, these words represent my truth at the time of writing. I say my truth because my words are purely that: opinions, not facts (even if my readers interpret my opinion to be presented as fact). I say at the time of writing because I am not perfect and I do not know everything; for better or for worse (though I do hope its for the better), my opinions will continue to change over time.
Whether I have passed on an interesting thought I’ve encountered, ranted about something I feel strongly about, shared something I’ve experienced, or anything else, I hope that it provides some smidgen of value for you, the reader.
Thank you for reading.