WHY I QUIT SOCIAL MEDIA

MENTAL HEALTH, SOCIAL MEDIA, THOUGHT-PROVOKING

The irony of the fact that I am sharing this list about the pitfalls of social media, on a bunch social media platforms is not lost on me. But then again, thats the whole point isn’t it. All perspectives and experiences are welcome. The writer wishes to be known by her email account iquitsocialmedia@outlook.com and this is her experience of reaching the end of the line with Instagram, Facebook et al and what life looks life post-quitting:

  • About 5 years ago, I decided to have a break off social media leading up to my wedding and having a baby.

  • I was feeling the pressure to look good for social media and becoming quite anxious about it.

  • I also didn’t know how I felt about really private moments of my life (like getting married and having a baby) being shared, and in ways I had no control of.

  • Social media made me feel….less.

  • Less pretty.

  • Less fashionable.

  • Less fit.

  • Less successful.

  • Less bloody everything.

  • It made me compare myself, waste time, but my life in a box, and on a time frame of other people’s goals.

  • 5 years later, I’m still off social media, other than a private Pinterest account basically to show my hairdresser what I like!

  • I couldn’t be happier and have stayed off particularly because I feel that you should practice what you preach.

  • When people ask me why I have my shit together, my response is “Social media, fuck it off!”

  • I was constantly seeing close family and friends feeling depressed and anxious about their appearance, their achievements and status and it was obvious that scrolling everyone’s highlight reels day in and day out was the cause (as I had been through the same thing). So, to stay honest to my advice, I kept off.

  • I’m not a smelly hippy, a reclusive weirdo or anything that you might be thinking in your head, I’m pretty bloody average!

  • But social media has a way of boxing you into those compartments, like High School all over again.

  • And it’s not that I don’t take a peek to give myself some creative inspiration, I can see many benefits to social media, particularly if you are using it professionally. And I can definitely see how online support can help many people through tough times.

  • However, how many of us are using it professionally and positively in this way? Not many I don’t think.

  • And how many negatives are there to social media, when you really think about it?

  • Trolling, pressure to consume, pressure to look a certain way, pressure to respond, pressure to have Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, messenger, Instagram, and to post on all of them. Literally crimes are set up online, but does social media face any repercussions?

  • Most importantly, actual TIME! Like seriously I feel unproductive enough because I have a smart phone and I think I might use it too much, but compared to my peers, I barely touch it.

  • When you get to the end of your life, will you have spent a huge percentage of it online? I have spent most of my career in end of life care, and this epic waste of time really stands out to me.

  • Friends have admitted to me that they probably spend the equivalent of a full time job on a device.

  • I was caring for a dying mother last week, and all her family sat around her on their phones.

  • I know there are some great conversations being started out there, but also, do many of them go beyond a conversation on social media?

  • Because I’m still a thirty something mother feeling fed up and boxed in.

  • And I felt so happy to finish high school and not feel like I had to be cool or in a group or bantery, but it feels just the same online.

  • I secretly love being on the out and not even having to enter into that kind of bullshit. It must be exhausting. All my friends are literally exhausted from it.

  • They want luxury cars and fancy homes and designer clothing. They didn’t grow up with any of it, it’s clearly social media setting the bar.

  • Sometimes I wonder if when you post, are you saying a big fuck you to someone? And maybe if that wasn’t your intention, do you stop to think that someone may interpret it that way?

  • My childhood was idyllic. I had the internet to learn, but no mobile phone, no answering machine and very little pressure. I didn’t have Facebook until I was around 20.

  • What will my children’s teenage years look like?

  • How will us mothers cope when we also have a ton of added pressure on us that our mothers never had? (Like no social media, or a career?) And teenagers with social media to navigate?

  • I would definitely describe myself as a feminist, but all this social media stuff seems like the antichrist of women’s rights.

  • I also found myself sideswiped by the fact that everyone just said “YESSSS!!!” to social media, because everyone else is doing it and they don’t want to miss out.

  • I was also really shocked by the way larger groups such as politicians and international broadcasters started using social media, like it was saying “Yeah this is ok and professional and everyone should be using it”.

  • Very little regard seems to be given to actually making an informed decision about whether using it is right for you.

  • This is where I want to start making a difference. Don’t just say “YESSS!!!!” Think about it!!

  • I’m not extremist in my views, I can see that for some people social media is their career, or that they genuinely enjoy using it.

  • Right now, not having social media is the right decision for me. I have a three and a four year old, a husband, a mortgage, 20 hours of work a week and all the endless chores that come with being a mother entails.

  • I simply don’t have time, and what little time I have I want to use pursuing my passions, like writing.

  • I know I can’t bury my head in the sand forever, and there may come a time that I may need to use social media both professionally and privately.

  • However it kind of bothers me that if I was professionally excelling, I know that many peoples first reaction is to look up your social media profiles. (I know this because I’m guilty as charged!)

  • I want people to listen to my words, and not judge me by cover. Isn’t that what we teach our children?

  • But sometimes I try and ask my friends some questions, to see where they are at with social media.

  • Does social media make you anxious?

  • Does it make you buy things?

  • Make you compare yourself?

  • Do you give yourself away?

  • Is there anything left to share?

  • Does it give you unrealistic ideas about things like motherhood or careers?

  • Do you post a highlights reel? Do you realise that others are posting highlights only?

  • Do you think about how you make others feel on social media?

  • Do you bully, or have you been bullied?

  • Do you stalk a little? Or have you been stalked?

  • Do you think about the consequences of your posts in the future? Maybe not even for you but your loved ones?

  • Do you find yourself scrolling when you have spare time instead of doing more pressing things?

  • Do you really enjoy the moment? Or are you worried about how you look because that event may end up on social media?

  • Do you dress for social media?

  • How would you feel if someone took away your social media accounts?

  • Could you be addicted to social media?

  • Have you had photos posted of you without your consent? Of your kids without your consent?

  • Everyone usually says “Um yeah, obvs….”

  • So how can you change the way you use social media? For example, can you delete the apps off your phone to limit yourself?

  • Can you still use social media to benefit you like I do? I still look at so many amazing open accounts, but without the added pressure of posting, responding and managing an account.

  • I also use all the other online medias like podcasts and blogs, and find them so much more enriching and well, educating.  

  • I get a lot of excuses, like “I’ll lose touch with my friends abroad”, “I’ll be out of the loop” or “I use it for party invites” but I use email and imessage like no tomorrow.

  • To be honest getting rid of social media filtered so many people out of my life, that I am literally left with quality.

  • If people really want to stay in touch they will. I’ve even had old friends contact my family via their accounts, and they flick over my email or phone.

  • Remember that you have choices. We don’t have to do things just because everybody else is doing it.

  • Isn’t it kind of sexier, to not know everything about someone?

  • Be the mysterious one, the brave one, and give it a go.

  • We live in a world with every opport

  • unity, but we narrow ourselves down to little tiny boxes and a world of comparison. It’s a bit “Stepford Wives” isn’t it?

  • I thought us women tried to beat that shit in every other decade before us?

  • I hope that I have given you some food for thought, in a world where social media has invaded our private lives like no other thing before.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Dress like your mum April 9, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Really good piece but perhaps uncomfortable reading for Instagram types – the worst platform of all.

  • Reply Susan April 11, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Hmm this poster gave up social media about 5 years ago yet she makes apt of assumptions about how people behave on social media today. Almost all of my Facebook and Instagram friends barely ever post or ‘share’ anything anymore….ever. Gone are the days of posting your breakfast or “checking in” at the pub etc. It’s only the big Instagram accounts that still post regularly really (presumably as it’s a paid job). The poster says here that throughout her social media ban she still checks the big public Instagram accounts anyway. So she’s basically just doing what the rest of us are doing too (albeit we do it via our Instagram pages that we never update). Makes the whole article pretty pointless.

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