Lots of us have become obsessed with how things look through a camera lense or on an Instagram feed that we forget to appreciate what that moment in time feels like. If you haven’t noticed yet, ‘digital minimalism’ has become a bit more popular as of late. Minimalism can be practiced in a lot of different ways for whatever fits best in a person’s life. Many people have multiple social media accounts, but deciding to get rid of them and unplug will not only simplify your digital life but could also make you happier.
If you are like me, you have thought to yourself for a long time that you can’t stand Facebook (seriously, God’s opinion of me isn’t based on whether or not I “like” his photo) but you have it so that you can easily keep in touch with friends and family. For a long time I struggled with wanting to stay connected with friends and family who but also not wanting to put my personal life on display for people I barely new.
Now, Facebook wasn’t the first social networking site that I canned. I used to have a Twitter but deleted it after a couple of months. About two years later I took a social media and marketing internship and thought I would give Twitter another go so that I could really jump into the internship. Well after the internship ended I deleted that Twitter account as well. Since my use of social media was mainly to keep in touch with people, Twitter didn’t seem to bring anything to the table. I have thought about going back to Twitter on occasion but I have grown attached to a certain level of privacy.
It was a bit harder to part ways with Facebook. Before deactivating my account I tried seperating my friends list into “close friends” and “regular friends”. This way the people that I was actually close to had access to my personal life stuff and everyone else got generic updates. This helped with a bit of that privacy issues and also helped me realize a couple of things. The people in my “close friends” group were the people I interacted with the least on Facebook. I kept in touch with those people through calls, texts, emails, etc. I also realized that I was wasting so much of my time just mindlessly scrolling through my news feed. I wasn’t even reading anything useful but instead I was reading garbage news articles and comparing myself to other people.
With that being said, I have finally deactivated my account. This is not the same as deleting it but that will be done as soon as I save a copy of my account to my computer and write down everyone’s birthdays, once I do that it will be permanently deleted. I gave all my friends the heads up that I would be deleting my account. I posted a status telling them to message me if they would like my email to make sure we could stay in touch. Now of course the people who were close to me already had this information so this was mainly for those that I wasn’t as close with. Can you guess how many people reached out to me? Two. That’s right, only two.
Currently, my profile has been deactivated for just over a month and I know I won’t be changing my mind on deleting it. I will admit that it was weird to get used to. I found myself absentmindedly going to the app on my phone that was no longer there or wondering how I was supposed to pass the time while waiting in line at the post office. But after a week or two I figured it out. I do still have an Instagram account that I will scroll through if I need to pass the time and can’t do something more involved but my time on there is minimal. I like to follow close friends, fashion, writing, photography and other lifestyle accounts. I personally feel like I can customize more of what I see on Instagram so, for now, I am keeping it.
Since deactivating my Facebook there have been lots of changes in my day to day life and all of them have been positive!
Here are just some benefits of ditching Facebook:
- You will start feeling less stressed.
No joke, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. There is no pressure to validate that I have a fulfilling life. I have found that a lot of things are so much more fun because not posting them makes them more special. Like a treasure between those who were there for it.
- You have time to figure out what YOUR interests are.
We are bombarded constantly by what others like, what’s popular, what we should be into, etc. Spending less time viewing what we SHOULD like lets us figure out what we DO like.
- You have time to pursue your interests/be more productive.
Now, instead of wasting how many hours a week scrolling mindlessly through feeds, you can take that class you have always wanted to take, practice that skill you have been wanting to get better at or do something with actual people. I have been brushing up on my Spanish and focusing on my writing.
- No more comparing yourself.
I got really good at comparing myself to other people and then feeling crappy because I thought I was failing at life. Social media teaches us to compare our “lives” when in reality you never get the full story. Are you happy with your life? Then that is all that matters.
- Who Cares?
The people that want to be in your life still are. I still do just as many fun things with my friends, my family still talks to me and I no longer worry about how many people will like the photo I just put up. The people who you stop hearing from are the ones who were just curious and wanted to creep. Who cares about those kinds of connections anyway? Live your life for you, not for the people who are just curious.
How to Live “Off the News Feed”
Like I mentioned earlier, I have not cut ties with all my social networking accounts. I still have a Linked In and an Instagram but I have them for specific reasons. Linked In is for professional purposes and my instagram account is used in the same way I use my Pinterest. I have changed my account to my of a “Lifestyle” account and no longer post personal pictures of myself and my loved ones.
Now if you are ready to cut back on the amount of social media you have, take it in steps. There is no reason you have to unplug completely if you don’t want to. Here are a few places you can start.
Get rid of the social networking platform you use the least. For me, this was Twitter. I was hardly using it and it was my least favorite out of all the accounts I currently had.
Start using alternative contact methods for people. Write more letter, send an email or a text, use a different platform, etc.. Doing that will make it easier to stop being so dependant on social media.
Don’t just delete your accounts cold turkey. Deactivate them or delete the app from your phone for at least 2 weeks and see how you feel. That is exactly what I did. I deactivated my Facebook account and even though it was weird for the first week, after that I didn’t even miss it.
Cleaning up your online presence will motivate you to do more. Make your life more fulfilling rather than comparing your life to others. Give it a try and you just might be happier because of it!