Categories
Inspiration

Why Did I Leave Social Media?

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a beautiful day πŸ™‚ ❀

In the last week of December, I invited all of my followers to vote for which posts would make up my first week of content in the new year! In the fifth poll, Why Did I Leave Social Media? garnered the most votes.

From 2014 through 2016, I used Instagram. From 2012 through 2019, I used Pinterest. From 2015 through 2017, I used Twitter.

I’m all done with those three sites now. Why, you may ask? That answer is given (in quite the complicated way) in the rest of this post. πŸ˜‰

Thanks for voting for this. I’ve really been needing to write about it.


Why Did I Leave
Social Media?

For every one positive experience I had on social media, I had between five and ten negative ones.

How’s that for a pros and cons imbalance? Sure, one inspirational photo description may have brightened my morning for a split second, but the next ten pictures I scrolled past weren’t helpful for me at all. There were girls kissing their boyfriends (I mean – you know, each girl with her guy… I made that sound weird haha), travelling around Europe, having a ton of fun on church retreats and trips, going to concerts with VIP passes, holding group Bible studies with their closest friends… when I saw posts like that on my ho-hum days, I felt like my life was going to be ho-hum forever. Even if people were posting about things I myself have done in the past, I wasn’t doing it right then, and the comparison ran wild.

I found that I kept getting involved in discussions, hobbies, controversies, and trends I wasn’t even interested in.

This relates specifically to Twitter, which is one of the main reasons why I quit using it. It was so weird – the stuff that was trending and the topics that were recommended to me to participate in are what I joined in on lol, even though that was not the reason why I joined the site. I just kept wasting time scrolling and clicking and reading on Twitter, and I wasn’t even talking to anyone worth my time so I just stopped.

I became increasingly dissatisfied with my real life.

This is a HUUUUGE one. I was less and less of a fan of my own life (which sucks, because it’s really cool when I think about it) because others will always have different stuff than I do. There are different abilities, different interests, different outcomes, different styles, different life stages… the list never ends. (Well, maybe it does, but try me – that list was pretty comprehensive.)

Instead of just recognizing that we’re all unique and being individuals is what makes life so awesome, I really thought that someone having something different than I did meant they were better off than I was.

It got to me so often and really messed up the way I saw myself because of what I was exposing myself to and how I was feeling about it.

I compromised the content I actually wanted to be creating for what my audience liked.

I didn’t do this all the time, but I did it enough to the point where I remember it vividly. It happened more than once: I’d share a picture I really liked, and it got a small amount of likes. I shared a picture I wasn’t all that proud of / got little satisfaction from posting, and it blew up the internet. Okay not really, but it felt like that to me because the like/comment different between the content I loved and the content I didn’t was ridiculous. Over time, I realized just how important it is to love what you do and not to live solely for others’ enjoyment. Your heart has to be in it, too.

I felt completely isolated.

So Robin Williams said somewhere: “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” Can I just say how much this resonated with me? I never would have thought it could be possible to be surrounded by people (physically or virtually) and feel like you’re standing in an empty room. It’s terrifying. It looks like everyone else is happy and connected and living the dream online life and you’re the oNLY ONe out there (or in there?) in the cold. It’s totally a lie, but it feels so real and if you don’t get out of that fake reality fast, you’re going down.

It became a popularity contest.

At first, I’d be happy to find others like myself who were on Instagram because we had a lot in common… but that became one of the biggest problems. Our lives were so similar to the point where I felt like if one of those girls had something I didn’t, I needed it or deserved it or lusted after it and ew. Not fun. Some days, I’d feel really good about my content, and other days, if someone was doing “better,” I sent myself to the dumps, Planet Misery, Destination Exasperation… need I go on?

I measured my worth by the amount of pictures I was tagged in.

So I had a few friends at the time I was doing Instagram that totally could have shared pictures of the outings we were going on together, but they never did. I felt so horrible when I’d share a picture of the two of us, tag them, and then not get tagged back. It was so weird, and how disgusting to feel like I was worthless because my friends didn’t even like me. I have no idea if the lack of tagging back was even personal, but it sure felt personal, because the rampant mixed signals we’re all giving each other online is suffocating our society.

I became really paranoid about the signals my followers were “sending” me.

I’d be like “ooh Olivia’s been liking all of my posts and commenting on some of them. That’s cool.” Fast-forward to two days later: “oh my gosh Olivia didn’t like that post. Did I do something? Was the picture that bad? Did something happen to Olivia? Does she hate me now? Did she like die or something?” Thought streams like that would lead to hyperventilation and deleted content. Also, Olivia doesn’t exist and neither does my feigned paranoia haha, but stuff like that happened and it was exhausting to say the least.

It took my loneliness to a new level of desperation.

You know, you join these websites thinking: “YES! I will NOW find people to talk to! The WAIT is OVER!” Turns out, a new kind of waiting begins. And it’s not even waiting; it’s talking to tons of new people, not vibing with any of them, and ending up totally defeated. It’s more exhausting than just not having friends. haha

I was never satisfied.

The thing is, social media at different times became an idol in my life, and when you start loving something so much that it absorbs you and takes over your normal way of doing things, you never hear the end of it. I never once thought while I was doing Instagram, “I responded to comments and posted a pic and scrolled down my home feed for thirty minutes, so I’m happy to take a break now.” No. I was never happy to take breaks. I was only happy to be on Instagram. That was what I was living for! I never reached the end of responding to people (okay, sometimes I did), posting new pictures, receiving new notifications, scrolling scrolling scrolling down my home feed.

I think the addiction started because I was aggressively trying to get to the point where I felt satisfied with what I was doing on Instagram, but that sure never happened. It only stopped when I deleted all of my accounts. *peaceful smile* Pure bliss.


In conclusion, here’s the short version:

  • I’m not on Instagram anymore because it was taking from my life more than it was adding to it, all the friendships I made eventually fizzled out, I was tired of experiencing life for the sake of taking a picture for Instagram, and the “follow for follow” trend killed any joy I had left in regards to the platform.
  • I’m not on Pinterest anymore because the website is rampant with irrelevant advertisements, there is absolutely no social side to the platform anymore, the website took away the ‘Following’ page and just gave me recommended pins I never liked, it consumed too much of my time, and it zapped my creativity more than it encouraged it.
  • I’m not on Twitter anymore because it is basically a platform for angry people, I never got to the point where I had people I actually wanted to be following and interacting with, and it was just another social platform that I wasn’t enjoying.

Some of you may be thinking, Well WordPress is pretty social, and yeah, it is. The ‘social media’ I’m referencing in this post are the head honchos in this group of sites, and I’m not grouping WordPress as one of them.

It’s been a rocky, rocky journey to say the least. My online life has been a crazy one, especially since the first thing I ever did on the World Wide Web was join a forum site for Christian girls when I was nine years old. Being part of various websites over the years has both added to and taken from my life, but I don’t want to overshadow the lessons I’ve learned with the negativity I’ve faced at all.

I’ve talked to a lot of cool people. I’ve found new hobbies. I’ve grown as a writer and as a person. I’ve had awesome experiences where famous/semi-famous people noticed me and even responded sometimes. I got inspired and motivated and found new ways to be creative. I found people over the years who helped me not to feel so alone in this crazy world, and even though we’re not in contact now, I appreciate the companionship we did have.

Thanks for reading. *tips my hat to you* This wasn’t an easy post to write, but I’m so glad I did it.

Let me know in the comments below if you relate at all – I’d love to chat with you!

Special thanks to Sara KurfeΞ² on Unsplash for the base photo, special thanks to me for the cool text

42 replies on “Why Did I Leave Social Media?”

I agree. Comparison comes automatically when we keep scrolling endlessly and double tapping infinitely. And focussing on our life and being content becomes hard. Taking breaks and not opening the apps everyday might help people who want to have social media and not get addicted to it. Nice post!

Liked by 2 people

I do agree with these negative effects of social media. I’ve had a hard time trying to concentrate because instagram was a huge distraction. Sometimes, I feel like people are gonna judge me through my stories and posts so I always think twice before posting, which is overwhelming. But wordpress is a much better platform honestly, everyone here is so supportive.

Liked by 1 person

Ugh, it can get bad. Yeah there’s a lot of judgement and comparison that goes on, for sure! It’s smart to think twice before posting anything. Yes! Bloggers are very supportive πŸ˜ŠπŸ’œ

Liked by 1 person

Wow, reading this was like reading MY OWN reasons for leaving social media.

One by one, I dropped social media. The last one I had was Instagram, and even that one is disabled at this time (so that I can focus on writing my book). I don’t miss it, so I’ll probably leave it disabled or delete it.

I do still enjoy the long format of blogs, and I find that they don’t upset/distract/annoy me at all.

Many people find it hard to let go of social media, so WAY TO GO! for being able to do so πŸ™‚ God bless!

Liked by 1 person

That’s crazy! It’s cool that you can relate – it’s hard to get off social media, but going through with it is so rewarding. 😊

Getting to the point of not missing those platforms is the goal!! When that has happened for me when I stopped using different sites, I knew I had succeeded. πŸ˜„ Same here! Blogs are so much different than other platforms.

Thank you! I’m so glad the Lord helped me to be able to go through with quitting being part of those sites πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

Liked by 1 person

Maggie you hit the nail on the head – these are the exact reasons I choose not to have social media.
A lot of people ask my why I’m not on social media (specifically Instagram), and I try to explain that it’s just not for me. Sometimes it’s hard to be β€œdifferent” in that way, but your post has reminded me why it’s better for me personally. (I’m in no way against social media itself or the people who are on it – if you choose to be use it, that’s great! It’s just not something I’m interested in at the moment.)
Great post! πŸ˜„β™₯️

Liked by 1 person

I’m glad it resonated with you! I really appreciate it when other people cover topics like this, so I decided to write a post on it myself πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•
Yeah different people have wondered why I’m not on there πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ it doesn’t make me happy so I got off haha. It’s definitely easier to do what everyone else is doing because then they don’t ask questions! πŸ˜‚ but yes girl, you and I have some solid personal reasons why we’re not on there πŸ˜‰ Let’s stick together! πŸ˜‚πŸ’• Yeah! If others are genuinely enjoying a platform, more power to β€˜em.
Thanks Meredith! πŸ’œ

Liked by 1 person

Really good reasons for getting off those sites!
I stopped using Twitter, too. I barely got any positive reactions, and spammers were able to find my blog through it because I was trying to use it mostly to promote my blog.
I understand how we can easily try to find affirmation so much online that we neglect our daily relationships with God, family, and our local friends. I believe that opting for anything over God can be a sort of idolatry. So, yes, we need to do whatever God calls us to do. If that makes us different, praise God! The people who are remembered in history, literature, art, ministry, and so on are not the ones who did it the same as everyone else. They are the ones who had the courage to do it differently.
Way to go! Keep up the good work! πŸ™ŒπŸ˜Š

Liked by 1 person

Once I had enough of them, I was done with those sites lol!
Twitter is so weird. Self-promotion (at least in my experience) does not work. And ugh! Twitter spammers xD That’s not cool.
Yes! That happens quickly, and I really pray that we would regularly evaluate how what we’re doing online is impacting our lives, for better or worse. Agreed!
Haha yup! That’s very true πŸ™‚ Thanks Ruth! ❀

Liked by 1 person

This was really good, Maggie! I use all three of these social media sites, and I always try to be careful about my mindset towards these sites. Obviously, they can be super helpful when it comes to promoting your content, or showing off your life, but that’s all that it is: showing off. Keeping that in mind has really helped me realize that not everything is all as it seems. I’m also a huge advocate in curating the content you take in, so often I go through everyone I follow on Instagram and Twitter and unfollow the people whose content I didn’t like/didn’t care about anymore. I do that with Pinterest and blogs as well, although less often (for pretty obvious reasons). That has helped me keep social media to what I want it to be, and not just comparison.

This was a really good post, Maggie! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. πŸ™‚

Liked by 1 person

Thank you Hanne! I’m glad you’ve found ways to make those sites enjoyable for you πŸ™‚ Yes! I was never really successful with promoting my blog or growing my audience through any social platforms, but I’m happy for the people who are able to, haha.

Thank you! You’re welcome πŸ™‚ I enjoyed writing about it.

Liked by 1 person

Very true, social media can do us more harm than good sometimes. I especially notice on Instagram that a lot people are only about sharing the perfect picture on the perfect day ( I can be guilty of this myself πŸ™ˆ ) but none of our lives are perfect and definitely not always as put together as social media can make it look. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

Liked by 1 person

Agreed. Well in one way, it makes sense to only share the happy positive pictures, because sharing negative content wouldn’t do us any good πŸ˜‚ but by having IG feeds and blogs that only showcase the happy stuff, perfection comes across even when we don’t intend it that way. You’re welcome! Thanks for reading! ❀

Like

I’m really glad you wrote it. I think your experience can bless others and maybe open their eyes to some of the same truths. I see some of these same things with Word Press that other bloggers experience, and I think it’s helpful for people to know experiences come in all shapes and sizes. What one experiences for Instagram may not be the same as another, so different convictions can happen. I know a girl who gave up Pinterest because it also became an idol to her.

I relate to wondering about the people who like every post or comment on every post. I struggled with that my second and third year of blogging when my numbers began to drop. God really showed me how to not care about it, and work on caring about the people. It doesn’t bother me as much, but the temptation is there sometimes.

We need boundaries and barriers when it comes to social media, and it’s tough because so often we hear “everyone else” encourage us to use it or do this or do that. Like you said, there are some good things that can come out of it, and I’m glad you shared those, too. πŸ™‚

Overall, great post!!!!

Liked by 1 person

I am, too ❀ I was definitely writing this post to help connect myself with others who've had similar experiences, not to make anyone feel like they should stop because I did. πŸ™‚ We have to do what's best for us, and I hoped to show others why I stopped in the event that they could benefit from meeting someone else who decided to quit most social media.

Pinterest became so hard for me to enjoy because it was zapping away my time! It's easy to never stop scrolling because there's so much to see, so I can understand where she was coming from.

I don't know why my first response is to figure it's something I did lol – people are allowed to show interest in some posts and not others! My content is very broad, so it makes sense that people would read some posts and not others. I don't just have a food blog so then all the people following it love reading recipe posts or something. It totally depends on what I've written. haha

Thanks!

Liked by 1 person

I think others can definitely relate.

That’s why my friend stepped away because it was too time consuming.

I am so sensitive sometimes that I don’t realize how much I’m focusing on me relating to others and their actions. I have worked on this a lot last year and I hope to continue to work on Identifying what I think based on feelings versus what I actually know. It’s hard but so good to give God my me, me, me issues and it’s humbling because… it’s not a highlight of who I am but I know God can refine me and use it for His purpose.

Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.