Quitting social media is easy. The hard part is handling what comes after this “extreme” step. I should know. I deleted all my social media accounts mid 2013.
There was no momentous event that led me to give up the likes of Twitter and Facebook. I felt like I needed a clean break from social media and I ensured that I got it.
Let’s show you how that turned out. If you’re planning to give up social media yourself, take notes.
When I quit I knew I might have to give the occasional explanation about why I wasn’t part of any social network. But I wasn’t prepared for the extremes of reactions that came my way from friends and strangers alike.
I continue to get similar reactions even now, although they have decreased in frequency and they don’t bother me like they used to do before. The people closest to me have somewhat accepted that I won’t be returning to social media anytime soon. That I’m more willing to meet them in person gets ignored. That I refuse to “stop being anti-social” online continues to be the topic of never-ending debate.
Feeling Directionless Online
You might use the web for several things other than Facebooking, but once you give up Facebook, you’ll wonder what those other things are.
I think I'll quit social media just so I can have time to watch Netflix Lololololololol
— Madeline McJunkin (@McJuunk) January 26, 2016
Being out of the Loop
Want to see you best friend’s vacation photos? You’ll have to wait for her to mail them to you. It’s not like you can log in to Facebook yourself to see them, can you? Meanwhile everyone you know has seen them already.
Sometimes I did wish I could create a private social network, but then I realized that it already exists in the form of group messaging apps like Hangouts and WhatsApp. Now I’m content to have one-to-one conversations or group video calls on Hangouts.
If you’re quitting social media, you’ll also need to find alternative, sometimes old-school, ways to keep in touch with friends and family — ways that are convenient for you andthem.
Only when you have deleted your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts will you grasp the extent to which the web depends on these three giants. I have had to forgo many interesting services for the sole reason that I didn’t have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, or a Google+ profile to sign in with. I wonder what happened to good old email signups.
Derailed Job Searches
Job hunts are the worst hit by the lack of a social media presence. Awesome social media skills seems like a permanent fixture in job descriptions these days.
When it Comes to Social Media, Never Say Never
I do have one social media account. It’s work related and happens to be my MakeUseOf Google+ profile [No Longer Available]. I also use Twitter (without an account) to search for tweets to include in my articles.
Last year I also created a Facebook account again because I was participating in an online challenge and it required participants to join a dedicated Facebook group. While the idea of supporting each other to ship a product in ten days appealed to me, the constant social interaction required as part of the contest rules felt overwhelming to me.
Once I decided to opt out of the challenge and continue with the project at my own pace, I felt relieved. And as I did not have any further use for the Facebook account, I deleted it (again!).
My exit from the social media scene has sometimes frustrated (but mostly delighted) me.
Do I miss not being part of a social network? Not anymore. Maybe it’s because I know that I can go back to social media any time I feel like it. My introverted personality might also have something to do with it.
What’s the best thing about being off social media? The automatic shift in focus from what everyone else is doing to what you want to do. The fading Impostor syndrome, too!
Am I missing out on work opportunities by giving up social media? You bet I am, but I’m also drawing more of those that are perfect for me.
Get Social (or Not)
As I see it, there are no definitive right or wrong approaches to social media. There are only those that work or don’t work for you. Of course, it’s still worth considering if we’re better off without social media.
Have you ever given up social media either temporarily or for good? What prompted you to do so? What came next? Tell us all about it in the comments!