Turning off social media

I used to consider myself an ‘early adopter’ with technology, especially with things like social media. That was when social media seemed to be the solution to a puzzle that would undoubtedly unlock value and potential in my life. But, a few years ago I went to work deleting my social media content and closing accounts. I’ve never looked back.

The two main benefits of shrugging off social media are, one, the additional time I’ve gained to do whatever I want, and, two, the freedom from having to worry about it. Social media is a time intensive hog, and as a form of addiction, a completely unnecessary anxiety. Of course, I do fully accept that it’s useful for some people, often having to promote their business, or for work. And yes, that’s probably the best place for social media, because social media really is work. Instead of populating your social media accounts with content you could be: talking to a real person, writing poetry, editing your private journal, watching a film or reading a book. You could even spend this extra time looking out of the window, or taking the dog for a walk — any of these would be far more productive than creating pseudo-‘authentic’ content.

Social media is incredibly fake, and that’s not to mention the cesspit of trolls and stupid comments, but —almost as bad — it’s chock full of dull nonsense that no one should ever have to look at. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that people need this crap. It’s far more rewarding and — you could even argue — ‘spiritually’ productive, to do almost anything else. And, it’s remarkably easy to turn it off — you just have to get over the fear that your world probably won’t end when you give it the miss. I thought leaving social media would give me a real jolt, it might create a vacuum. The truth is far more prosaic; in reality life just goes on. Everything continues exactly as it did before, except that you’re not pouring huge amounts of time into a bottomless hole.

Even if you can’t face deleting your social media content and accounts, you can just walk away from social media for a time. The earth won’t stop turning. A few days later you probably won’t even miss it. There’s a lot to be gained from just going from social media production to only social media consumption. It might be a useful first step towards realising that you can go the whole hog.

The anxiety of constantly checking your phone for Facebook updates or tweets is a modern affliction that most people would find unacceptable in any other part of their life. Social media addiction is a modern illness fuelled by the constant fear of missing out (FOMO). If you switch it off, even for a moment, something amazing might be happening… and you’ll miss it. Nothing’s going to happen. Turn it off, and do something more meaningful — you won’t look back.