minimalism · screen time

GOODBYE, SOCIAL MEDIA (FOR NOW)

After much deliberation, this week I deleted my last remaining social media account: Instagram. The process was uncomfortable but also a huge relief, kind of like when I deleted my Facebook account about a year ago.

To give you a bit of background, I used to be a huge social media addict. A while back, in the afternoons I would return home from the job I hated, kick off my shoes, grab something to eat and scroll through Facebook for a minimum of half an hour each afternoon. The sad irony here is that I was engaging in this habit to try and distract myself from my depression, only to feel more depressed at the end of  these scrolling sessions.

Why did I keep going back for more each day? Sadomasochism? Boredom? Lack of self-control? FOMO? Probably a combination of all of these. Clearly, my social media habit was self-destructive, but back then I unfortunately didn’t have the self-awareness to recognise it for what it was. Now, I feel a lot of sadness and compassion for that person I used to be.

While more recently I feel I’ve had a very healthy, self-regulated relationship with social media, I still felt glad to be off there. The act of deleting my Instagram account felt a bit impulsive but the decision itself was based on two reasons that I’ve been carefully thinking through lately.

Firstly, while I love spending the occasional five or ten minutes on Instagram to see the fun and interesting ‘behind-the-scenes’ photos posted by my blogger friends (like kitties, food and decluttered items – all the good things ☺️), I’ve also noticed a steadily increasing stream of advertising posts coming my way on there. When I first signed up for IG, there weren’t any advertising posts in sight. The final time I logged in before deleting my account this week, I decided to count how many ads appeared in the first twenty posts in my news feed and the total was three. Considering how much advertising I see each day as it is, both on the internet and in real life, that felt like three ads too many. As they say, if a product is free, you’re the product.

The second reason I decided to delete my account is that I just don’t feel I have space in my life for it anymore. I’m trying to reduce my mental load this year and really focus on the things that are most important to me right now: study, my mental health, my marriage, reducing my footprint and building a sense of community both on and offline. While I see many positive sides to Instagram, fully acknowledging and appreciating the way it helps many millions of people around the world to strengthen friendships and stay in touch, I just don’t feel it fits in with who I am and what I want at this point in my life.

It’s therefore goodbye, social media…for now. Living in the digital age, I know it will always be around in case I feel pulled back to it. If things change for me and the impulse to sign up again appears, I’ll go with that feeling – just like this time I went with the urge to step back, take a deep breath and press ‘delete’.

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19 thoughts on “GOODBYE, SOCIAL MEDIA (FOR NOW)

  1. Ugh, you are braver than me!

    I really want to delete instagram, but not until I find an alternative for the things I need it for. Right now most of my family is literally on the other side of the world and I only see my (many) little cousins milestones through the photos their parents share on social media. Busy mums and dads don’t have time to set up a skype call with that one weird minimalist cousin who doesn’t want to use insta :/

    (Not having facebook is already enough drama!)

    I try to limit myself by only following unmonetized accounts and being more intentional about my overall mobile phone usage. I hope one day I can either switch to a better platform, or give it up altogether.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Erin! I totally know what you mean…not having Facebook is definitely enough drama as it is, isn’t it? It can be tricky to find the right social media balance and I believe there is a different happy medium for all of us. I applaud you for being so self-aware when it comes to your Instagram use! Thanks for your comment on this post. 🙂

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  2. Wise decision, Lisa. I never really got into Instagram, but I used to scroll endlessly through facebook. I no longer do that first thing in the morning – it was having a negative impact on my day overall so now I may check in for a few minutes on a lunch break but it is not a daily thing. I am much happier without the burden of it. Reducing our mental load is freeing, and you are setting an excellent example. Happy weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your comment, Cristy! I’m glad to know that I am not the only recovered Facebook scroller!! So pleased to hear that you have found a happier middle ground when it comes to your social media use too. 🙂

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  3. Good for you, Lisa. I think it’s a great decision and digital clutter can be every bit as insidious as physical clutter. I deleted Facebook quite some time ago and haven’t missed it for one second. I only recently set up an Instagram account and only use it rarely (mainly pictures of the cat!!) but you’re so right about the amount of ads coming through. Have a great weekend, Lxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right Lorraine, and what a great word to describe the creep of digital clutter. It really can be every bit as insidious as actual, physical stuff. PS. I’m missing your cat pictures already!!! 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good for you, Lisa!! This is going to sound weird but I think about your relative absence from social media all the time. I often think, social media can’t be that important, because I still read every post on your blog every week, regardless of what I see you post on social. If it’s healthier for you to be off it, I fully support that decision! Instagram is definitely the platform I use the most, but overall I don’t spend that much time on it each week (at least not anymore).

    When I did my advertising experiment, I noticed the same thing as you. It seemed like nearly every third post was an ad. So, I usually stick to Stories and get out of there as soon as I can. Thanks for sharing your decision making process with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for being such a long-time and supportive blogging friend, Britt. This was such a sweet comment to receive. 🙂

      I totally know what you mean and I think along the same lines. I still read the same blogs and connect with the same people each week, so I figure not being on social media is no barrier to finding meaningful connections online.

      How annoying is it to find that such a large proportion of posts are ads now?! I’m finding myself a lot more perceptive of the advertising around me since reading that post of yours, so thank you for increasing my awareness of that!

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  5. I could never do it. How do you keep in touch with far flung friends? I mean, texts and emails are sometimes too time-consuming to manage, but the daily little fire-emojis we can post on each others photos are meaningful too…

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    1. It’s definitely not for everyone, that’s for sure! I use WhatsApp to talk to family who don’t live close and that seems to work for us – a good compromise in that it isn’t social media that requires a profile and has a newsfeed, but it’s still digital. WhatsApp feels like a much more manageable app for me in that I can hop on there and respond to specific messages rather than get caught up in what many different people are posting. Thanks for stopping by to read. 🙂

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  6. This is awesome! I haven’t deleted any accounts but I’ve removed all but Instagram and twitter from my phone. If I make access to them harder, I don’t think about checking them all the time. As for those two, though, I’ve dedicated my time on them to valuable things (to me) like photography and sharing valuable posts. It has been so liberating!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Laura! So glad to hear you enjoyed this post. 🙂 What a great idea to make your social media accounts harder to access. I think that’s a great happy medium for those who want to stay on social platforms but be more mindful about how much time they spend on there and what kind of content they are spending their time on. I’m so pleased for you that you’ve found a way to use social media in a way that is valuable and meaningful for you. Thanks for stopping by to read this post!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I really like this idea, Lisa! Though, I will selfishly say that I’ve often wished you were on Twitter 🙂 Nevertheless, this decision makes a whole lot of sense. Before I started blogging, I had wiped one of my social media accounts aside from Instagram. But, when I started blogging, I thought ‘I must have ALL the social media accounts!’ Ugh. I’ve been contemplating getting rid of Facebook (it’s such a pain) so I feel I might be ready to tackle that issue now — thanks!

    “I’ve also noticed a steadily increasing stream of advertising posts coming my way on there. When I first signed up for IG, there weren’t any advertising posts in sight” — the ads on Instagram are ridiculous. I hate that it was acquired by Facebook as I think that’s a big part of the problem.

    Anyway, great post!!

    Like

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