I Quit Social Media; This Is What Happened

Social Media

Social Media

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.

Takeaway

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.

Why I’m Quitting Social Media For Real

Social Media

Social Media

The last few months of 2018 have been very life-changing and important in my development as a person. A lot of things happened that will prepare me for the next chapter of my life. I’m not one to air my dirty laundry on the Internet but this is basically it—I hoped. I dreamed. I failed. I survived. I shrugged it off.

It was much a rite-of-passage on becoming an adult.

One of the things I did during my rite-of-passage was to finally quit social media. This idea is something that I have been entertaining for a while. I felt that this moment is crucial and is the right time for me to finally do it.

In September 2018, I deactivated my Facebook account. I don’t know about you but the platform was getting toxic for me. It’s very unsufferable. I felt that it was not a safe place for me anymore. I tend to be liberal and radical in my posts, and some people don’t usually understand where I am coming from.

Last month, I came back to it to finally finish what I started. I kept under lock and key most of my posts and deleted the rest. It was a long process since I have been on Facebook for 10 years now. While most of my peers are just getting the hang of it, I have already outgrown it. I already aired my fair share of embarrassment, and I’m glad to have already wiped them off the Internet forever. While deleting my posts, they took me down the memory lane. But most of the time, I cringed because of the racist and imperialist views I upheld during my teenage years.

Scrolling through my feed one last time, I was reminded of the number one reason why I am leaving the platform: superficiality. I honestly cringe at how shallow some Facebook friends have become. From their family drama, their juicy break-up stories, exaggerated travel photos, to fake news stories, to stuff that should have been sent privately, and to narcissistic posts, it was overwhelming—to say the least. This kind of content is severely affecting my mental health, and I needed to cut it from my life.

Mind you, I’m not cynical. I don’t hate these people. It’s just that I don’t care about trivial things anymore. These days, I worry more about global issues such as the conflict in the Middle East, the “genocide” in North Korea, politics, and social justice.

Since deleting thousands of posts is time-consuming, I used Social Book Post Manager, a Chrome extension. It’s a script that deletes all posts, photos, comments, and likes from the Activity Log. It took some time to delete my history but it was really worth it. After running the script, I kept my Facebook account inactive but not deactivated. If someone looks me up, they will see a blank wall and nothing more.

After leaving Facebook, I turned to Twitter. I have been on Twitter since 2009 and I am familiar with its culture. I was just not very active in its communities then. Most of the people on Twitter are intellectuals (depends on who you follow) and I felt safe being there. Global issues and current events are always being discussed, so I always learn something new. It was my refuge and my tether back to the civilized world.

Unfortunately, my love for Twitter birthed an addiction. Instead of doing more productive things, I always find myself mindlessly scrolling through my feed and perusing threads after threads. I needed to stop eventually. Even though I have no problem with the platform at all, I needed to cut my usage or leave it altogether.

This month, I took my reclusive stance to the next level as I deleted all of my tweets from 2009–2019. While deleting them, I was also reminded by my cringe-worthy tweets. Imagine, these tweets were public all along! They could have been used against me. To haunt me. It was a long process since I have been tweeting for 10 years now. I used tweetdelete.net and tweeteraser.com for the much needed purge. Using tweetdelete.net will only delete the recent 3,200 tweets, so I had to use tweeteraser.com to upload my Twitter data. Just do a Google search about requesting your Twitter archive.

I don’t plan on tweeting/retweeting anymore, but I will still keep my Twitter handle.

Instagram is a different story. I joined in 2016 to only share the books I read. I am not really into taking photographs so I did not find any use for it. This month, I archived all of my photos and left my handle hanging.

My blog, LinkedIn, Last.fm, and my GoodReads profiles are the only ones I use now. I keep track of my reading progress on GoodReads, and I track what I listen to on Spotify in real time via Last.fm. Thus, that’s basically what you will only see from me. Will I be back? Facebook and Instagram, definitely not. Twitter, I will only probably use it for business purposes.

I don’t plan on erasing myself from the Internet because that is very impossible. I only plan on keeping things as professional as possible and my privacy intact. Now, I live my life in “reclusion.” When I’m not working, I read literary fiction, classics, and poetry. I am also religiously studying Spanish. To stay informed and updated with local and international news, I use an app called Feedly. It allows me to aggregate all the websites I often visit and pull feed from them via RSS. It also lets me curate my own list per industry or topic. In this way, I still remain informed about the things I care about. I don’t get ignorant of the things around me just because I’m not on social media.

You won’t see my travel photos while I’m sailing around the Caribbean. You won’t see tweets raving much of the books I read. You won’t see tweets of me using buzzwords from the social justice parlance. And you won’t definitely see my day-to-day activities. But I assure you, it is still a happy and contented life.