Every Concern You Have About Quitting Social Media, Addressed

No room for excuses.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Let me put this out there. I don’t know you, I don’t know where you come from. I’m not here to persuade you to get off social media. I’ve tried it before and failed at it. I’m not here to sway you. You do you.

However, having said that, if you are a person that wants to quit social media but don’t have the courage (It’s funny how you can use a serious word like courage for the act of quitting social media. Reminds me of what a stronghold it has on our lives.), or have a lot of questions nobody seems to answer, this article is for you. You could consider this a little bit of guidance from me to enable you to make a more informed decision about jumping off the social media bandwagon.

The definition of social media is pretty loose today. In the narrow sense, we mean social media to refer to platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, most commonly. However, a bunch of other spaces like LinkedIn and Medium, too, make the cut to be social media. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to use the term ‘social media’ to refer largely to the former — especially Instagram within that definition, since it is so all-pervasive.

Here’s a list of social media platforms I’ve used in the past — Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Here’s another list of platforms I use today — YouTube and WhatsApp.

YouTube and WhatsApp are practically indispensable for where I am today. You can’t possibly get off either (not that I want to). If you belong to Gen Z, you might also consider platforms like Instagram, Snapchat (or whatever else is prevalent in your demographic) indispensable. You might want to get off of them, but you might have fears that nobody can address. Well, been there, done that. I quit Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat well over three years ago, probably more — I genuinely cannot remember.

I can say for a fact that quitting social media has not had any negative effects for me. If anything, it has only made my life a dozen times better. What’s more, I’ve lived without it for so long, I don’t even want to go back. It’s not an act of self-control or willpower; it’s an act of freedom and I wouldn’t have it another way.

Here’s all the questions I had before quitting, taken one at a time:

  1. But what about FOMO?

FOMO was such a buzzword a few years ago that I don’t even feel the need to expand or explain it. Well, in my experience, there is nothing to miss out on. Not knowing about some acquaintance’s dog’s birthday party didn’t matter to me. Here’s the thing — a lot is going to happen in the lives of acquaintances, old friends, friends of friends, you name it. You can’t keep track of it all. And if you think about it practically, it doesn't matter when they went to Dubai.

2. How do I stay in touch with friends?

Here’s what I have to say to that: don’t be ridiculous. If you really are friends, you’ll find ways to connect, won’t you? Why does a friendship have to hinge on social media? Meet them in person. Have a video call. Have a movie night. Call them up sometime. Leave a text. I have a few actual, real friends, and I stay in touch with them all right. Sure, I don’t get day-to-day updates about what they ordered at that new cafe that day, but we still manage to talk and text occasionally to check in on each other. I’ve known my friends for different periods of time — there are a few I met only a year ago, and there’s one I’ve been friends with for seven years now. Also, two of my close friends live in another city. Time or space don't matter. We still catch up through text and calls.

3. I’ll become invisible if I get off social media.

I hadn’t thought of this when I quit social media, but in hindsight, I realize this is true. I’m not going to sugarcoat things here. There are times when even I feel like I’m invisible. A physical community I am part of happens to have a virtual counterpart I am not in. The incongruency does get to me sometimes, but I realize that the physical community is the actual one after all. Everybody in school was connected through Instagram and I wasn’t. There were times I felt left out but ultimately it didn't matter. The people I loved were with me in the physical community, and that was that.

Hopefully, this article helped clear the air for you. But you don’t have to go cold turkey if you don’t want to. Step back and consider the role of social media in your life. Be proactive in deciding the influence of social media for you. Don’t mindlessly get on it because everyone’s on it. That’s my two cents.

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Matilda

Matilda

Hi! I am exploring Medium firsthand as a writer. You'll find my thoughts about health, productivity and being a teenager in the twenty-first century here.