A Year Without Social Media

Yesterday, December 21, marked a whole year that I have been without social media. There was no sudden revelation that led to my decision to delete Facebook and Instagram, it was not a goal that I had, nor did I make any announcements or tell anyone unless it happened to come up in conversation.

I chose to deactivate rather than delete my Facebook account, since I have 16 years of content uploaded to Facebook. I joined way back in 2005 when it was known as The Facebook, my religious views were "Duke Basketball" and my favorite music was "Kanye and Twista." :) 

Facebook is ultimately a vault of my life in an online platform that I don't want to delete. That said, I don't have any intention of ever using it again, so I probably wouldn't be too sad if it was gone forever. 

I deleted Instagram completely. I can't remember if it gave me the option to deactivate versus delete it, but there was definite finality when I deleted it. I needed to get back on a few weeks later (using "needed" loosely here) and I realized my account is literally gone forever. There's no going back. Instagram is more strict in that it doesn't allow you to view anything unless you have an account, so I haven't been able to see anything on Instagram in over a year. Fine by me.

I had been using social media less and less over the years, but one morning I just decided to be done with it. I think ultimately for me it came down to the research. Years and years of research indicates that social media is associated with increased depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc. and our society just continues to go down this path and ignore the mental health implications of being addicted to this madness. Although I would love it if everyone would just quit social media, I can only make that decision for me, so that's what I did. 

Some things you might find interesting...

I actually don't feel I am on my phone/computer any less than before. My screen time average on my iPhone is around 2-3 hours per day (this includes all of my apps), which I don't think changed much, so I am still using my phone just as much as before. I did not get off social media and suddenly find that I had tons of free time. 

There's been no difference in my happiness level. Going back to my main reason being that the research proves social media negatively impacts our lives, I would have expected to perhaps be a happier person without it, but nothing really changed in that regard. I am a very hormonal person (LOL...truth!) so I do have big ups and downs in my mood on a regular basis, but I'm not any more or less happy without social media.

So, what's the biggest difference I've notice in my life?

At some point over the years, sharing on social media became an ingrained behavior and intertwined with my normal thoughts. Does that make sense? I didn't even share very frequently, but I felt like when I was taking a picture or even having a thought, my mind was already framing the moment as an Instagram/Facebook post. How will I share this? This isn't something I necessarily noticed until reflecting on it now, but I am no longer thinking about what photo or thoughts to share when I'm on vacation, when my son has a milestone, when a holiday requires the obligatory Facebook post, when my dogs do something funny, etc. What had become almost instinctive has gradually dissolved over the year. I'd say my brain feels back to what it felt like pre-2005 before social media ever existed for me. It no longer crosses my mind to share anything on a social media platform (well....unless your counting this blog lol!!)

So lastly, I will say this: I never expect to use social media again. I don't say that I'm "off" social media because I feel like that implies I will one day be back on. I don't miss it and there has not been a single  moment in this past year where I've desired to be back on. So that is that. 

Have a Merry Christmas, friends!