I quit social media completely a few weeks ago. My Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr accounts were all deleted. My Facebook still exists, but I hate the site and barely use it anyways. The only thing I use with any regularity now is this site right here, but this is more for me to make sure I stay on top of my own writing goals and stay consistent in my output.
The change was pretty massive, and I’m still working through how totally the decision has altered my life.
Not having venues to simply broadcast what’s going on in my head at that exact moment has forced me to be a little more thoughtful. There’s no promise of easy and instant gratification, which could be read as a bad thing, but it also means that there is nothing nagging me in the back of my mind, telling me to constantly check on the performance of my content. I’m not fretting over writing and rewriting the same pithy thought for thirty minutes, hoping to find just the right combination of meaning and brevity—Twitter’s strict enforcement, even with the enhanced character limit, was a particularly intense source for this anxiety.
Reading is easier now. Focusing in on something feels less taxing, because there are no other distractions competing for my time readily available.
I’ve noticed an overall drop in my anxiety levels. The pressure to constantly update and post, either from myself or imposed on me (consciously or not) by the networks themselves, has all but vanished. I feel like I can be bored again. Time can be spent on nothing, for the first time in what seems like a very long time.
My writing time has lengthened and the actual writing I’m producing has grown in volume and quality. I still feel a slight pang of anxiety now and then when I realize I haven’t drafted out a blog post, but knowing that it’s the only real social media content I have to produce puts me at ease.
I have to say that this change has been a welcome one. Quitting social media has long been a goal of mine, but I had never managed to make it stick until now. Putting my news sources back together has been a challenge, but it has the pleasant side effect of only receiving news at specific times, so I’m not being bombarded constantly with information, which as you might guess, negatively affected my mental health.
Leaving it all behind has worked for me. Convincing myself that it would be worth it was the hardest part, but after living with the decision for this small amount of time, I know that I chose correctly. Not spending an hour catching up on all of my feeds first thing in the morning has been a blessing.