On many occasions I have de-activated, then re-activated or deleted my accounts & started anew across several social media platforms. The final straw that broke the camels back for me and led me to delete all my accounts without any intention of returning took place after the events of 2020. Recognizing the possible harms of social media was not new to me. I also recognize the benefits, if the person knows how to utilize the tools in a healthy way. Personally, I have gone through different phases, using my time on social media more wisely, and sharing less of my personal opinion over time.
First, before getting straight into why I left social media, I want to reflect on why I may be wanting to share this post on my blog. I don’t think it would be correct to say that my intention is to dissuade others from using social media. My main message is not to tell my reader to delete all their accounts and many beneficial & insightful posts they might have shared, or to lose access to other beneficial accounts. I’ve benefited greatly from many account holders myself and it pleases me that they continue to be there to help many others too.
I think part of why I am writing this post is to:
1. Clarify for myself the reasons why
2. Clarify to others who may have been wondering
3. Share some points to think about for those who are involved in social media, again, not to delete their accounts necessarily but maybe to re-evaluate how they are using it and how it may be impacting them.
Prior to deleting my last Instagram account, I had moved from a private, personal account to a public, slightly less personal account connected to the concept of my blog. At this point I was using Facebook only from time to time but I was checking out what my ‘friends’ were sharing more often than posting things myself. My hope was that I would be sharing beneficial posts such as nutritional advice, recipes, non-toxic cleaning tips as well as short reflections etc. on my Instagram regularly. I would designate a reasonable time of the day where I wouldn’t have to ignore the needs of my kids, and it would not be extremely frequent but it would be consistent.
Well, overall I don’t think it was working very well but I was trying — then lockdown happened. Social media was all over the place, I had an overwhelming surge of feelings in response to the abrupt changes that were taking place in the world as well as my personal life. I am not going into details about what I think about what, but let’s just say I started to feel resentment towards people I personally know, even though we may have never been extremely close in the first place. Nevertheless, these feelings didn’t sit right because I would rather have a good opinion of my sisters in faith and I would rather not know everything that others think. Another issue was that I was now sharing my personal opinion more often than I liked, but I was being too vulnerable in an environment that is not made for that. Sharing many of my posts on social media had me constantly second-guessing what some others may think or misunderstand, whom I might offend and many times leaving me with that icky, heavy feeling of regret. Social media is not made for that. Now I do think I got better at reserving my thoughts and feelings to myself more prior to deleting my account. (Eventually, if I ever found myself overwhelmed with something I want to write, either in direct response to an individual or indirectly as a new post, I found it very helpful to write it out on my private notes, and then delete it without sharing.)
I found that most of the time, social media led me to post as a reaction and led to my thoughts being mostly made up of reactions rather than allowing me to reflect and get creative without a lot of outside influence. At some point, I unfollowed a ton of accounts even if I agreed with their general content depending on how negative or meaningless I felt the content was and how it impacted my heart and thoughts.
Many times I told myself that there are considerable amounts of posts and accounts I am benefiting from, which was true, but I came to realize that the amount and frequency of information being shared was so overwhelming that I didn’t even have the chance to truly fathom and absorb much of it but only make a mental note that I’d get back to it without ever doing so. I came to realize that I don’t need social media to increase in beneficial knowledge, that beneficial knowledge (and more importantly, wisdom) would come to me through other means, and realized how many righteous people who have an incredible impact on the world do so despite not using social media. I think this was the main realization I had to come to accept.
Finally, thanks to Instagram’s creepy new regulations including access to what you view through your cam ‘to suggest filters or masks’ (which yes I heard that in theory our computer and phone cams can be easily accessed anyway, but why in the world would I willingly accept if I am being asked to agree to it?) I was able to say goodbye to Instagram and then got rid of my FB too shortly after when I realized I was still getting annoyed at too many people. From time to time, I feel the same on WhatsApp groups, but I am working on not getting emotionally involved about expressed opinions that don’t impact me.
Leaving social media has allowed me to read a ton of more books – not just because of freed up time but also because of a renewed interest and curiosity in reading books which leads to further curiosity and further readings – and to form really exciting ideas, questions & tap deeper into my inner creative world, and write quite a bit more too; more from my heart rather than from a place of increased cortisol as a response to external stimuli i.e. social media and other people’s opinions that don’t resonate with me.
Here’s hoping for conscious decisions that are of more benefit than of harm to our bodies, hearts & minds, always.