I Quit Social Media, and You Can Too

I grew up in the eighties. Back then, the most exciting thing we had to make contact with the outside world was a rotary phone. Occasionally a chain letter would make the rounds. Those were heady times.

As someone who loves to connect with people, the advent of social media was like being let loose in a candy store. I got in touch with old friends, made new ones and discovered a whole other world to the one I currently inhabited. Life online was sweet.

But then I began noticing what a time-suck social media was. Even worse, the amount of negativity clogging up my feeds was overwhelming. For someone on a permanent news fast, this was especially annoying.

A MINIMALIST APPROACH TO SOCIAL MEDIA

At first I tried†to manage the situation by employing a minimalist approach to social media. This helped downsize the negativity to some extent, but it by no means†eliminated the problem.

Plus, there was still the issue of the time I was wasting scrolling mindlessly through my feeds. Letís be honest, social media is like crack to a procrastinator and we writers drag our heels better than most when faced with a deadline. Weíll literally do anything to avoid facing a blank screen and blinking cursor. Root canal, anyone?

In the end I had to admit that social media was more master than tool. Thoughts of quitting cold turkey crossed my mind, but I had all the usual reservations. If I wasnít on social media how would I peddle my freelance writing services? How would I market†my blog? How would I stay in touch?

CAL NEWPORT: QUIT SOCIAL MEDIA

My problem solved itself a short while later when I came across Cal Newportís TEDx talk Quit Social Media. He outlines the three main objections he gets from people for why they absolutely have to be on social media and then offers a valid counter-argument for each.

The man†has never had a social media account, so he probably has a better perspective than most when it comes to†the benefits of eschewing the medium.

In his book Deep Work, Cal argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the knowledge economy. He claims that people who master the art of concentrating without distraction are the ones who will thrive.

Weíve all heard how goldfish have a longer attention span than humans. Whether or not that’s true, the fact remains: most of us struggle to keep our attention on one task for an extended period of time.

Watching Calís talk reminded me of my own struggles with concentration. It was time to rip off the band-aid once and for all. I immediately deleted my Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and personal Facebook profiles.

I thought thereíd be a ĎWhat the heck have you just done!?í moment, but it literally felt like a heavy weight had been lifted.

THE BENEFITS OF QUITTING SOCIAL MEDIA

As the days turned into weeks I began noticing a host of positive side-effects from my decision to quit social media. The further along I get, the more convinced I am that I made the right choice. I honestly donít miss being on social media one bit.

Less Procrastination

Iím a writer, we procrastinate. Iíve made peace with this fact, but at least now itís down to an acceptable Ďdo some light housework before diving iní level. Before, an entire morning would be lost to the wormhole that is social media.

You may be less of a procrastinator than I am, but there are plenty of science-backed reasons to take a break from social media every now and then.

Increased Levels of Productivity

Iím way more productive than I used to be. This is the happy side-effect of no longer having social media to distract me from the task at hand. Before, it always felt like I never had enough time in the day. Now Iím getting stuff done.

Task-switching negatively impacts your productivity anyway. Imagine how much less you get done when youíre switching between work and social media. Take it from someone who knows, it’s not a whole lot.

Increased Levels of Creativity

Iím more creative than Iíve been in a long time. I constantly have ideas for blog posts and articles popping into my head. Before Iíd struggle to come up with things to write about, now Iím brimming with possibilities.

Social media kills creativity by stealing your attention and leaving you in a funk of information overload. Spend an hour on Facebook trawling friendsí (and exís) timelines and all youíre good for is vegging on the couch with a bag of chips.

Increased Levels of Happiness

Iím much happier now. Iíd often have an underlying feeling of anxiousness before, even if my day was going well. Since quitting social media my default setting is one of happiness. Thereís a sense that everything is fine and life is good.

Research has shown that social media affects our mental health. Itís been linked to anxiety, sleep problems, depression and even eating issues. Of course, this doesnít mean that everyone on Facebook will automatically suffer from these things.

However, itís important to compare your level of overall wellbeing and life satisfaction with how much time you spend on social media. If you’re still not convinced, take a break for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. I’m willing to bet you’ll be happier.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

66 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Paulo R
Paulo R6 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R6 months ago

ty

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Angel W
Past Member 6 months ago

care and that's it even though bullies make me sick on here

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Amanda M
Amanda M6 months ago

Care2 is the closest thing to social media that I participate in. Facebook, Snapchat, Reddit, etc. are not on my radar and never will be. For one thing, there are simply too many haters, cyberbullies, scammers, phishers, trolls, and other evil beings sliming around on there to make it worth my while, especially since I've already spent my entire life getting picked on, shunned, or thrown through the rumor mill for "suspect" activities simply for being an oddball. Secondly, between housework, raising the kids, tending to the huge vegetable garden (and harvest relating thereto), running errands, and running the odd fire call, I simply don't have the time. Hell, I'm lucky if I can check my email more than once a week! I do miss the days when chatrooms were easy to access, though. As a SAHM in a rural county where there are NO support groups or secular activities (especially in our town, where all the activities and clubs revolve around the churches), adult conversation or simply having an adult to talk to about something besides the kids is like liquor to me at this point, and I do miss the chatrooms that AOL used to have. Once we upgraded to high-speed, we lost the ability to access them and I never figured out how to do that again. Don't even get me started on how many websites and news sites won't let you post comments unless you have a Facebook account these days. FUHGEDDABOUDIT!

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Sonia M
Sonia M7 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Danii P
Past Member 7 months ago

Thank you for posting.

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Peggy B
Peggy B7 months ago

TYFS

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Mike R
Mike R7 months ago

Thanks

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