What I Learned from Deleting Social Media
To start, I don't hate social media.
I actually really enjoyed it, sometimes. I was very active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, all of it. I had main accounts, side accounts, spam accounts, casual accounts, secret accounts, there were just as many sides to my social media presence as there were to who I was in the flesh. So much so, that I started to feel more involved in my internet life than my life outside of it.
I used social media to procrastinate more than anything.
I would catch myself scrolling through TikTok or Twitter for “10 more minutes” way too often. It wasn't like I was looking for any specific information, I was just… scrolling. Switching between apps hoping that something I’d catch would fire off some quick serotonin and I’d feel like my time was well-spent. Social media was a huge factor in eliminating my appreciation for delayed gratification.
It was so much easier to open TikTok and laugh at 15 different 30-second videos than to read for 10 minutes and get into a book or to spend 5 minutes picking the laundry up off of my floor.
Our brains become addicted to being over-stimulated, which is what I planned to get into next.
I don't know EVERYTHING that's going on all the time, and I don't really care.
This really hit me a couple of months ago around the time of the super-bowl. I had no idea who was even playing, and to this day, I’m still not really sure who won. But, that's the thing. I hate football. Always have. I could not care less about who played or won. But, when I was on social media, I could remember spending the whole day the year before, you guessed it-
scrolling through people’s SuperBowl Sunday posts.
This slowly started to get me to realize, half of the time we spend on social media, we don't even actually care about or enjoy. We scroll mindlessly over and over again to avoid FOMO.
Then I had to ask myself, fear of missing out on what exactly?
I won’t lie to you and say I haven’t popped into Facebook 2 or 3 times on my laptop through safari just to check in. Every time I have, Facebook shows you the most important posts that you’ve missed. The ones with the most interaction, not the one Facebook friend you have who shit-posts memes every day for 8 hours and keeps the feed active. (Like I used to see when I was an active user)
Even these posts, the ones about marriages, babies being born, graduations, deaths, divorces, political debates, home-town drama, none of them were things I really felt I’d “missed out” on. I never knew they happened, never heard about them, and my life carried on completely fine.
The important stuff that you’re meant to hear about, you will.
I came to realize that any important news that I cared about, I’d heard in conversation, or from news platforms that I follow outside of social media. Whether that be here on Medium or elsewhere, you really do eventually hear about the big things. You don't need Twitter to tell you 37 times in one day.
I hadn’t had an original thought in months.
Our brains aren’t designed to consume so much media all the time, simple as that.
So many of our days look like this;
listen to music while we get ready, maybe throw on a show in the background while we work, scroll through social media right when we wake up, fall asleep to our favorite podcast;
We never get a second to think. A lot of the time, we are consuming more than one form of media at the same time. Whether it’s watching a movie and snapchatting our friends or listening to a podcast while we do homework, our brains rarely have a quiet space to do their jobs- think.
We are just processing overloads of information that isn’t necessarily what we need (or even want) to hear. Leading us to retain less and less of it.
I’ve begun to find joy in silence and simplicity again. Watching a movie without picking up my phone is peaceful, not stressful now. I’m not missing out on anything by putting my phone face-down for 45 minutes while I do homework.
It’s really fine. You really will be okay.
You can actually do the fun stuff you watch other people do online.
If you haven't read my recent blogpost 4 Things I’m doing to heal my inner child, I would love to suggest that you do so after this one.
For the past several months, I’ve been trying to find what is fun for me again. Re-discovering my own personal interests with no validation of the internet or performative-ness that comes with telling the whole world what you're working on. (although I guess that's what I’m doing here, huh.)
But for example, I always admired people who were bilingual, while doing nothing about being unilingual myself.
So, I decided to replace a lot of my procrastination time that I used to spend on social media, with a more productive, enjoyable, and rewarding form of procrastinating. (hey, we’re all human) I downloaded Duolingo, and I’m obsessed with it.
Instead of watching drama videos on youtube or keeping up with influencer relationships and trips to Bali, I started watching videos on how to sing, how to french braid my hair (which I can do now! after 22 years!), how to start a blog (hayyyyy), and so many more things that have been so fun for me and expanded my character in doing so.
Overall, I think social media is actually pretty cool. It’s an excellent form of communication, staying in touch, staying up-to date on news and trends, but it isn't meant to be our whole lives. Do I think I’ll be off social media forever? No. I do think there’s something fun and special about sharing your life with those who care to listen, but I also don't think I’ll be returning anytime soon. I’m having a lot of fun living in the present and truly creating my life to be one that I don't need to be distracted from.
If you want to stay up-to-date in my journey to understanding myself and the world through my transition to young adulthood, be sure to follow me here on medium. :)