Quitting social media in this generation: maybe a road less travelled by millennials, but I have. It is undoubtedly helpful for writers and independent creatives out there. It provides an instant audience for the projects one has been working on. However, when it already dampens creativity and productivity, it’s time to draw the line.
I quit social media—except for business purposes—two months ago, and it was the happiest decision I ever made in my life. Not only I became happier, but I was able to do important things and focus on myself as well. Quitting it is not a walk in the park as it seems. The first few days were really difficult for me. There were some instances wherein my fingers unconciously hover over Twitter’s icon on my phone. There’s also a bit of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). As an arts and culture writer, I feared that I won’t be able to keep up with the in’s and out’s of the industry. But eventually, those feelings and habits wore off and didn’t matter anymore.
As of the writing, it’s been 60 days since I took the road less travelled. I might post my articles on some sites to get traffic but that ends its influence on me. Social media isn’t a big part of my life anymore. Here’s what I learned when I left it all behind:
It Felt Quieter
Do you ever feel annoyed at how things are so loud sometimes? Let’s say you’re in a room with people talking loudly, and you’re straining to hear what’s happening outside. You’re starting to get annoyed because you can’t make out what’s going on there. You ran to the nearest door, opened it, and slammed it shut behind you. Now, everything became clearer. The environment felt quieter. No unnecessary chatter in your mind.
It Fostered My Creativity
With no feeds to scroll, my hands yearned to do something. I started to write about a lot of stuff. In fact, this blog wouldn’t be possible if I am still dilly-dallying on Twitter and Facebook. I wrote about things I wouldn’t have otherwise written.
I Became Independent
Social media can influence your mind. Every post you read will find its way into your brain. You will follow what’s trendy, and ignore what’s not. I’m not saying that’s not a good thing. You will probably do what others have been doing just because it’s “in.” Social media can dictate how to live your life according to some standards.
Quitting social media, there’s no one and nothing influencing my mind but news stories and books. I became confident of what I have to offer to the world. I don’t see unncessary posts that reek of questionable social standards, and I don’t have to necessarily follow the status quo. It allowed me to break the norms and understand social constructs. I became more confident of myself.
I Started to Appreciate Small Things
I started to feel grateful for the things I have today—the food that I eat every day, the house that I live in, the education I received, and the access to educational resources. Most of the people in the world don’t have these, and I feel a bit privileged. I started to notice these things that I wouldn’t have otherwise paid attention to.
It Made My Existing Network Stronger
Quitting social media, I did not yearn for superficial friendships anymore. The ones who really care, they noticed and reached out whether I am on a crisis. No. I am honestly not. Others at least asked me what I have been doing. These people took time to let me know they are there for me and not for the one they see on Facebook and Twitter.
Leaving it all behind without some kind of notice also filtered out those opportunistic people who only want something from me when it’s very comfortable for them. But that’s another story for another time.
I Focused on More Important Things
I have some causes I support, and quitting social media made me dedicate my time to them. Not only I became productive, but I became a helping hand to those in need.
I have been studying a lot about the world around me, too. If I am not reading literary fiction and poetry, I am delving into world history and politics. In that way, I am becoming culturally and politically aware.
It Gave Me More Reading Time
It’s not a surprise that I am a huge reader. I read books that have bigger themes and have more complex writing. I feel that I can’t live without reading books.
As much as possible, I separate work reading and leisure reading. But sometimes, things happen, schedules change, and routines get broken. With no Twitter and Facebook to think about, I get to read more.
I’ll be very honest. While it improved my life dramatically, going cold turkey was also the hardest decision I ever made. I developed a strong network for the past few years being there, and I still want to grow it. Not being there, it’s hard not knowing what my network is up to.
I also feared that my career will suffer if I turn my back on social media. However, this blog/website is a testament that it did not. If prospective clients and hiring managers want to check me out, this website is a great place to know about me.
Some words of apology to everyone: I am on social media only to post articles such as this, but I am not there to interact further. If you mention me on this post or that tweet, I won’t be able to see them.
I may experience hiccups here and there. I may cheat and break my rules. But one’s thing for sure: I stand by my own decision and continue what I started. Social media was great. But the benefits of quitting outweigh what the platform gives.