Pausing Social Media

Dec 31, 2016 09:45 · 463 words · 3 minutes read writing

It’s not me. It’s you (ok - maybe it’s me).

It would be the same routine - repeated every hour or two - a round robin of time-wasters. First it would be Facebook, then Instagram and then LinkedIn. If there was nothing of interest or comment-worthy, I’d open Reddit and scan through the front page .. and then the second page. All in an attempt to put off whatever I should be doing at that moment.

The four websites accounted for 90% of my non-work, online usage and I can honestly say they weren’t adding anything of value to my life. They were actually doing me harm.

In October, I decided that it was time for a change. I needed to quit them all.

I didn’t worry about deleting Instagram. I barely posted any pictures of my own and could only deal with so many pictures of other people’s vacations, memes or selfies.

Facebook was a little harder, but I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I finally deactivated it. It was having an impact on my mental health and sense of self-worth. Deleting it from my phone was a form of therapy. I was a part of some groups that only communicated via Facebook, but if there was something important or worth knowing I had other ways to find out the information.

I thought I’d have a tough time without LinkedIn. It took 10 years to “collect” about a thousand connections, but the more I thought about it, the harder it became to justify keeping. In all of my years on LinkedIn, I can’t recall a single piece of business that I gained through it. I recommended plenty of people and introduced more than my fair share, but as far as tangible, measurable benefit? I didn’t have any.

Update: June 4, 2017: It’s been about 5 months since I wrote this post. I’ve survived without Instagram and LinkedIn. I only check Reddit at night. Unfortunately, I was (sort of) forced to re-activate my Facebook account last month. I held off as long as I could, but after hearing too many pieces of family news 2nd and 3rd hand I realized that for most of my extended family and friends, Facebook has become the way we keep up with each other. The kids would keep me informed on what’s happening, but after losing count of how many times I asked “So what’s happening with …?” I decided it was time to break down and re-join Facebook.

I still haven’t posted anything new, and I’ve unliked all of the pages/groups/interests that were filling up my timeline. I also unfollowed people that I don’t know all that well so that my feed is (mostly) people that I know very well IRL or family members.