My attempts on quitting social media.
It took me a long time to realize how social media and my phone usage grew to be a much bigger part of my life than I ever wanted them to be. And I really think everybody else would have seen it that way, too. I hope I can give you some insights on my personal experiences and maybe also encourage you to change things to the better. (As I see it.)
So let’s have a look at the past first:
For years I’ve been really interested into social media. I not only used many different platforms, I was generally into that “modern phenomenon” and all the aspects it brings with it. (We should not forget that it still is very young and not in our lives for such a long time, but it already has very big impact on all of us, while it’s still changing, developing and being discovered.)
My social media career began when I was a young teenager. If I remember correctly, I started on a small German platform called “Lokalisten”, it were people at my age back then only and they used it for chatting with friends and classmates as well as posting pictures from time to time. It wasn’t a big deal, I didn’t use it a lot and they discontinued the site in September 2016.
Then Facebook got bigger and the hype it brought with it swapped over to Germany. People around me starting using it, so I also created an account, that I still have running today. It’s the platform I’ve been using the longest up to this point.
Things like Instagram were born and I also jumped onto this wagon. I was using it quite early and since I really tried to upload photographies of higher quality on a regular base, I got a mail from Instagram telling me, that I had become a suggested user. I got recommended to people from that point on and my number of followers climbed from 500 to 11k in just a few weeks. It was very intimidating and I didn’t really know how to handle that amount of people, since I’ve always been showing my photos to a way smaller audience before. I didn’t like these changes, so I decided to delete my account and lose thousands of followers from one second to another. I felt quite badass.
There are even more sites I spent time on:
I’ve been using Snapchat for some weeks, really just to test it. I didn’t find use for it at all.
I ran a Tumblr blog to show illustrations, designs, photos and texts I did. Tumblr really had me for quite a while (three years?), I enjoyed it every time a post took off and got plenty of reblogs. Sadly I felt like I never got any real feedback, so I also deleted my account there. It only had about 250 followers anyway.
In winter 2015/16 I’ve been using a network for creative people called Ello. I uploaded my works similar to how I used to do it with Tumblr, but on Ello I actually got better feedback more often. I liked the community, it felt like a nice place for creatives. (I even wrote two short articles about it on this medium account. Here and here.) I got a featured user again and in this case my follower-number went to over 800. I felt overwhelmed again and deleted my profile shortly after. Nevertheless, my experiences with Ello have been positive.
The last platform I want to talk about is Twitter. I created profiles on twitter many times only to find out, that I couldn’t find a use for it. But still I always came back to it somehow, it really interested me even though I didn’t know what to do with it for a long time. Since two years I’m using Twitter constantly and I must say, I really enjoy using it. It’s the only service that “works” for me. I can stay informed about news, I see what journalists are commenting, I follow people writing about tech and I can stay in touch with some of the friends that are also on Twitter. Some of them I even got to know because of Twitter and they are now real-life friends, too. This still amazes me, every time I think of it.
The reason I like it, is probably how it brings together both friend, brands, and all kinds of people tweeting privately, all summed up into a single stream of tweets that I can than have a look at in their chronological order. The tweets themselves are short because of their character count limitation, so I can’t get hit by large posts that take a lot of space. Something that makes Twitter special and distinguishes it from other platforms.
Ok, so that was a lot already.
Let’s have a look at what I changed already:
Not that I’ve been using all of these services regularly, but I successfully got rid of Lokalisten, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and Ello. I use Facebook for texting only nowadays. I’m on Twitter a lot, but I really don’t feel like it’s such a time waster with irrelevant content only, since I’m the one picking the things I want see there. That’s where it’s really different from Facebook.
Facebook has become a place that doesn’t care about your interests or what you’d like to see at all. You have to search for a certain button in order to see your feed in a chronological order, otherwise you get shit on your face with random people’s and site’s posts only. I never had any need of seeing what pictures or videos people are posting, that are complete strangers to me. But Facebook decided to show it to me, since I’m friends with people that are friends with them. The consequence was, that I unsubscribed from almost all of my friends and even unfriended a lot of them. Today I’m down to 140 friends, which is pretty under-average compared to most others. Now I don’t have to see all that clutter and nonsense in my feed anymore, but I’m still able to text friends. It also had the nice side-effect of logging into the site less and less, since all the notifications I get are mostly irrelevant event invitations and new group posts, that very rarely concern me. The only thing left to me from Facebook is the messenger in case I need to chat with someone in this app. It’s a big relief!
Now that I reduced Facebook to its texting capabilities, I see how Twitter gets more and more important to me. Up to today it’s still working and it doesn’t stress me like all other services did, but I don’t like how the time I spent over a range of social media channels in the past, is spent in Twitter now. I don’t regret scrolling through Twitter as I did with every other platform, but it’s still very time-consuming.
This is what I’ll try to change next. Other than that, I’m proud of what I achieved already.
If you got any ideas or recommendations for me to spend less time on the last social network I’m using, please don’t hesitate and tell me!
Also, I’d like to hear other stories of people abandoning social media, so feel free to comment them as well!
Thanks for reading.