Why I Quit Social MediaJump To Recipe
First off, let me say that I don’t think that social media is bad. There is a lot of good content that comes from social media. I also still use Pinterest and YouTube. I’m not here to convince you why you should delete any/all of your social media accounts. I’m here to share my experience and what I have learned so far.
I remember getting Facebook - it was the day after I got home from a youth conference. I was immediately hooked. As a naive 17-year-old, I was enthusiastic about sharing every fact, every photo, and adding everyone I knew to my Facebook page. That was just the beginning. Then the following year Instagram came out, and again the strong need to post everything was a daily part of my life.
Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Google Circles (when it was a thing!). TikTok. LinkedIn. Marco Polo. Quora. WhatsApp. Voxer. YouTube. Pinterest. I almost had every major platform, except for Twitter (X).
I didn’t quit everything all at once. It has been a gradual process beginning in 2018, the year before I got married I deleted my Facebook, some other apps in between and then deleting my Instagram in December 2023, 3 months after our babies were born.
WHY DID I GET RID OF SOCIAL MEDIA?
It was stealing my joy.
I would find myself jumping to conclusions from “evidence” I discovered on social media. For example, thinking “Hey! This person said they were busy and couldn’t hang out, yet they just posted they are here with some other friend!” Maybe not realizing that they already committed to other plans or maybe they just posted a picture from awhile ago.
I would be fixated on the number of followers, comments, or likes I would get on posts. If that number dropped or didn’t grow, I connected that to my self-worth. I thought that if people removed me from social media, it must mean I was doing something wrong, was irrelevant, unimportant or they just plain didn’t like me anymore. Realistically, I have removed people from social media with pure intentions, but it did not mean I didn’t like them or there was something wrong with them. For example, maybe I just didn’t care to see my feed filled with pictures of their iguana. Haha. And hey, if someone doesn’t like me, or my content, that is their prerogative and they have every right to unfollow me. That doesn’t change who I am or WHOSE I am. Jesus had 12 disciples, or “followers” if you will.😉
I was caring too much about what I thought people were thinking of me.
It sounds so silly when I write it out, but sadly it is true. I would imagine what someone was thinking of me when I posted. I would elevate their opinion of me in my mind. If they liked what I was posting, I got an ego boost, a dopamine spike. I would post for others as if I needed to cater to their interests.
Oh boy, and in my single days, if a boy liked/commented/replied to me on social media, my dopamine tank would overflow. Then on the flip side, if someone didn’t respond or comment in a way I was hoping, my mood would be busted. I would try harder to post something better or try hard to not let it bother me, when in actuality thinking about it more just made it worse.
I would care what “strangers” thought of me, or acquaintances, people who were not vested in my life, I needed to make sure I was pleasing them by being cute, funny, relevant, or entertaining. It is sad to admit, but my first ever boyfriend, when I realized I needed to end our relationship, I was so worried about what people on social media would think when I made the bold status change from “in a relationship” to “single”. Obviously, now I know that I need to do the right thing, and it does not matter what people think of me.
I was using it to validate myself.
I posted something, then I would wait. I would wait for the likes to roll in, I would wait to see if the other person “opened” up my message/DM. I would eagerly await the reply. I wanted to make sure I had a consensus with my followers, that they approved of what I was doing. I couldn’t just post and let it be, I needed to feel validated. I was allowing my insecurity of needing to fit in to take over. I wish I could have just posted content and use it as if it were a journal entry, and not care whether it was popular or not.
I was getting into unhealthy habits.
In the morning, instead of rising out of bed, I would lay there and check all my socials. It was a morning ritual I had created to help me wake up. The bad part of this is that I was starting off my day with someone else's newsreel, with potential drama, political negativity, and snapshots of people’s “perfect” vacations, lives, families, and relationships. I was spending too much time on social media, checking it multiple times a day, and times when I was sad, I used it to help distract me from being sad. Although sometimes checking it did not make me feel any better most times.
I was trying to compete with professional, established bloggers and social media algorithms.
To be a successful blogger, I thought I would have to post on Instagram and Pinterest every day. I thought I needed to pump out videos on YouTube. I thought I needed a professional photographer to get a perfect Instagram-worthy aesthetic. Posting every day was taxing, and I just was not into it. I would look at established influencers, and bloggers and try so hard to be like them. In reality, that is probably their full-time gig. They probably have full-time staff to help them with their online business. I work full time, blog on the side, am involved in church, hobbies, and friends, and now am a mom of twins. There is no way I can be the wife/mom/friend I want to be if I am consumed with competing to be one of the best. Now there are successful bloggers out there who can juggle other aspects of life successfully, I applaud them for that! However, that is not the case for me.
I was getting away from activities that benefited my mind and soul.
There was a time when I would journal every single day. I would also read books, sew quilts, bake, make crafts and DIY projects, go on hikes, you get the picture. I began to spend more time on social media than on hobbies. Now I am trying to have more time for those things that bring me joy. There is so much beauty in simplicity and enjoying what is real.
I was comparing myself to others.
Similar to me looking at established bloggers, and hoping to be like them, I was in the comparison game. I was looking at the people I was following and thinking about how great their lives look in comparison to mine. For example, I followed this one gal who took the cutest pictures with her husband. The cutesy teenage love kind of pictures. I thought to myself, “Oh how sweet! I wish me and my husband could take pictures like that.” Well in reality she is a professional photographer, so whipping out cameras and tripods is a piece of cake for her. Also, I know her husband and he is not the overly romantic/cheesy kind of guy (that is okay, I am just using it to show perception vs. reality). I had to realize that me and my husband have sweet, cheesy romantic moments, but a camera is not always present, and that does not make what we have any less real than what a professional photographer posts. Often what is seen on social media is staged, it is not real life. People want to show their best selves, which often is altered and not realistic.
Okay here is an honest confession: I was also comparing myself to others in a judgmental kind of way. I would look at what I was accomplishing and be prideful that other people I was following hadn’t made similar “achievements” that I was. For shame! I have nothing to prove, I am not better than anyone. Who am I to look down on someone because of what they share on social media?
WHAT PREVENTED ME FROM QUITTING SOCIAL MEDIA SOONER
I had fear of missing out (FOMO).
What about all the parties I got invited to from Facebook? What if I miss out on some awesome event coming up? Most websites give you the option to log-in under your Facebook account, but if I don’t have Facebook anymore, will this prohibit me from accessing other important websites? I realized that as far as events, sure there are events I may not be invited to because my profile isn’t a click to add. In reality, I can’t make it to every event I am invited to anyway. Also I have realized people still invite people to events outside of Facebook. Lastly, when a website asks to log-in with Facebook, they typically will have the option to log in under your Google account, or simply make a password and username. I had to let go of the “what if I miss…” mentality.
I was afraid of losing connection with friends and family.
I thought social media was the key to staying “close” and “connected” with family. Although social media does make it easy to keep up to date with friends and family, it also doesn’t require effort. I realized the people I truly love and care about, I will always find a way to be connected with them - snail mail, emails, texts, and in-person interactions.
I was worried I had to keep up a social media presence to have a profitable blog.
This added a lot of pressure onto me as a new blogger. Starting out blogging, I had no idea about the world of blogging, SEO, any of it! So I tried to emulate every successful blogger I came across, not realizing they probably have been blogging for years and have a dedicated team behind the blog. I did not really feel motivated to post all the time or respond to comments, messages, etc. but I feel obligated to do so. It was hard “keeping up with the Joneses” of social media. Everything was perfect - the lighting, the outfits, the background. It was really difficult to keep posting, also, at the time I was paying a photographer to take photos for my new blog and it was getting pricey.
I didn’t want to lose valuable memories/moments that were capsuled on my socials.
I am extremely sentimental, and it is sweet looking back at good memories or posts that take you back to a time in your life, sort of like a time capsule. I realized that I really didn’t need to hoard almost 10 years of status updates and posts. It was digital clutter. The good memories I have are in my mind, and thanks to Google Photos, I have photo memories as well. In reality, even when I did have social media, very little of my time was spent looking into what 17-year-old Roshel was doing.
HOW HAS MY LIFE CHANGED SINCE QUITTING SOCIAL MEDIA?
I am more in tune with reality.
Smelling flowers on nature walks with my husband, waking up and starting my day by talking to God, “fact-checking” my thoughts, being OKAY with my postpartum stretch marks, the list goes on. I am focusing on what is real! I have enjoyed not being plugged into social media, It feels like an emotional burden has been lifted from my shoulders!
I am focused on connecting with people outside of social media.
I have enjoyed reaching out to people and connecting with them one on one, versus double tapping a picture or liking their post. How enriching it feels to sit down with a good friend and a good cup of coffee!
I don’t feel pressure to make sure we take some good selfies and have a witty post to follow up after we go separate ways.
For friends who have moved out of state, it is stil fun to send snail mail, or catch up over text.
I am working on controlling my thoughts more.
I am digging into what is true about myself, and what God thinks of me. I’m working on not jumping to conclusions, not overthinking, not looking to others for validation, not worrying what other people may be thinking of me.
I am working on my need for perfectionism.
I am a recovering perfectionist! Becoming a mama has certainly helped with that. My hopes for a perfect spotless home are no longer realistic, and I am okay with that. There are lots of things about my blog that aren’t perfect, and I am okay with that. I am just focusing on making content that has meaning. Life is not perfect, and I am not perfect. Only Christ is perfect!
I hope you found this article relatable, and perhaps found some inspiration to detox a bit from social media.