THINGS I'VE LEARNED SINCE I QUIT ALL SOCIAL MEDIA (EXCEPT FOR THE LIST APP)
To give some context to the situation, I gave up my Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr this week. Though I hadn't used tumblr in quite some time. I did this because I realized that I was basing my self validation and general self worth on number of likes or other things of the like.
- •Social Media is a crutch.Social media makes people feel included. The endless scrolling allows you to feel like you've been doing *something* when in reality you've been sitting in front of your computer or your phone doing nothing. It feels, in some ways, like you're keeping up with the news and with friends, participating in conversations even if you aren't, even if you haven't typed anything. We live in a headline centric society. We skim.
- •Social Media is not real.I realized how different social media is to even texting. When I text someone, I put much more effort into that conversation, believe it or not. Because much of that time, I am on my phone, rather than at my computer. Relationships with someone who actually has your phone number and knows something very personal about you are very different from someone who just happens to know you or be friends with you on Facebook or follow you on Instagram.
- •I rely much more heavily on social media than I actually realized.I did group chats on Facebook with people for projects and for just life. I talked to people who I consider myself close to but not close enough to have their phone number. I used it to catch up with friends without ever really having to talk to them, to keep up with people without ever having to talk to them and letting that real friendship deteriorate.
- •I need to care less. (Kind of).Social media made me paranoid. Was he dating her? Are they better off without me? Having a better time without me? It was too easy. I could create false narrative based totally out of context and on arbitrary Facebook posts or Instagrams. It made me, sometimes, feel physically sick. And that's not healthy.
- •I play a lot of Candy Crush.I mean, yeah. Since I quit social media I haven't actually done any work. Mostly I played candy crush.
- •I know a lot of Taylor Swift lyrics.It low key feels like I broke up with social media. And you know what Taylor Swift is really good for? Break ups. When I broke up with my last boyfriend, I was desperate after despite me being the one who called it off. I repeatedly and instinctively went to Facebook and Instagram. And even though I had already deleted the apps and logged off, changed the passwords, I still wanted to be there because that was a part of my normal routine.
- •Don't quit cold turkey.I got rid of all three at the same time. And the day after was really difficult. It felt like I was missing out on something, like a whole block of me had been removed. It would have been so easy to just go back. And yet I'm glad I did it this way because I literally have no self control.
- •I'm a work in progress.I'm a happy, optimistic person. I knew this already. But I also knew that I'm not perfect and I probably won't ever be. But that doesn't mean I can't try. And if that means focusing more on myself and the people around me in my life, my real life, and real relationships with people I care about, and less on everything that I've ever seen and everyone I've ever met, then so be it.
- •I have some of the greatest friends.When I told my friend Audrey that I had quit social media, she told me, "I'm so proud of you." Audrey and I had met in person but cultivated a real relationship by me reading her blog and her following my Instagram. But she supported me. Another friend came by to stay with me and change my passwords as I went through the funk of not having social media. Other friends voiced support and kept me company in my *real life* which showed me that though social media was gone, my friends were not.