If you have access to the internet, you probably use some form of social media. Most people spend a great chunk of their daily lives on their phones using different forms of social media apps.
It has become a part of our lives, and honestly, social media can be used as one of the most powerful tools to strategically promote your work and build your business. Then why in the world would someone suggest to quit social media?
The problem comes when we become mentally and emotionally dependent upon it, so much so that our sense of worth and confidence begins to rely on it.
Now there are 2 polar opinions regarding the use of social media. One group of people would tell you to completely abandon it and the other group will tell you to indulge in social media even more than you’re already using.
I’m not here to preach if social media is good or evil. I’m just sharing what happened in my life and how my life changed after I quit social media for 600+ days and the 8 important things I learned from it. The rest is up to you.
You might have heard of terms such as Digital Detox, or Social Media Cleanse, and a lot of people wonder how you to actually live without social media in this day and age? How is life after quitting social media? Should you quit social media forever or just take a break?
By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea of if it’s worth it or not to quit social media.
One thing to keep in mind is that any disadvantages of social media that are mentioned in this video are regarding the compulsive use of it, which means the tendency to check your notifications first thing after you wake up, and spending several hours a day on your phone scrolling through your feed.
Definitely, there are pros of social media if you use it professionally to promote your business or if you follow smart and successful people to gain knowledge and wisdom.
Apart from professional use, If you are an avid social media user and getting lots of likes on a photo makes you feel accomplished or not getting enough likes makes you feel a bit bummed about it… then It’s probably affecting you mentally and emotionally.
And to be real with you…I was no different. In fact, I have experienced addiction and all the side-effects that social media can have on a person’s psychology.
My presence on social media and the actual reality of my life were quite different, fortunately, my sheer curiosity made me reflect on what was going on, and soon I realized how social media impacts our psychology and ultimately our actual lives.
Now some of you might argue that you do not have an addiction or that instead of quitting entirely, why not just limit its use? An important thing to understand here is that social media, especially platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are intentionally designed to make you an addict.
Sean Parker, a Silicon Valley insider and an early investor for facebook, clearly admitted while speaking at an Axios event that they purposefully studied the human mind just to find ways to make social media so addictive that people would spend most of their time on it.
In his own words, while describing the intentions behind making a social media platform, Sean Parker said and I quote:
“How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible,”
“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology,”
“The inventors, creators of social media—it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people– we understood this consciously. (i.e. the damage being done to human psychology). And we did it anyway,”
“It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. “
“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,”
Also, according to One recent Study, technology, especially social media, is greatly contributing to “continuous partial attention” which is severely damaging people’s ability to focus and lowering IQ.
Nir Eyal, the author of the book Hooked, says:
“The technologies we use have turned into compulsions, if not full-fledged addictions,” It’s the impulse to check a message notification. It’s the pull to visit YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for just a few minutes, only to find yourself still tapping and scrolling an hour later. None of this is an accident, it is all just as their designers intended”.
So it’s clear that social media companies want you to become an addict, and research studies clearly prove the adverse side-effects of social media on human psychology.
So, except for youtube, I decided to quit any other forms of social media, and I went on to spend almost 2 years without it and with very minimal use of my phone overall.
The reason I did not fully quit youtube was that I mainly used youtube for professional learning, I did not upload or share any content during that time, nor did I engage personally or interact with anyone on the platform, and I didn’t have any personal contacts on youtube either… so the impact wasn’t the same as the other social media platforms.
Social Media Can Distract and Disconnect Us From Real-Life
As soon as I quit social media, one of the very first things I realized is how much more time I have throughout the day, and how many other productive things there are to do.
Since my mind wasn’t getting over-stimulated and overly occupied by social media… it allowed me to pay attention to the finer details and blessings of life… I was automatically inclined to go out more, and interact with people… I began to spend more time with loved ones, and in productive activities like reading, writing, working out, and being more active overall.
In fact, I started Online Life Guide.com just one month after quitting social media.
In his book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carrs puts it perfectly:
“When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning.”
The social media has a world of its own and Spending too much time on it, distracts us from the real, actual life.
We often get distracted by it so much that we never allow ourselves to think about the higher things in life, and to ponder and reflect over things that really matter.
In today’s era, if we don’t wanna face life, simply just pick up the phone, get distracted, and don’t think about all the bigger questions of life.
But the bottom line is, escaping is NOT going to change the state of our life.
If we wish to really grow and improve the quality of our existence, we must connect with our deeper self and That can only happen when we allow ourselves to have enough mind-space for deep thinking and reflection.
Which lead us to the second major lesson.
Social media can Overstimulate and numb your senses.
All the likes and notifications that we get stimulates more and more release of dopamine, which is a pleasure hormone, and soon enough we get addicted to the feeling that it produces.
So much over-stimulation can numb our senses and we become unable to experience life to its fullest.
So the 2nd major thing I experienced after quitting was how I was able to experience life in Rich detail… as if everything was black and white and blurred before, but now all of a sudden I could experience things in HD resolution with bright vibrant colors.
Obviously, along with all the good experiences, I also had to face my problems and challenges directly. But now instead of escaping them, I learned to face them with courage and work towards resolving them.
Also, my personal growth accelerated drastically, since I was spending more and more time in productive activities, my overall knowledge, wisdom and the general understanding of life enhanced manifolds by the Grace of God.
Social Media Gives You a False Sense of Achievement
Getting too involved with social media tricks our brain in very strange ways.
Have you ever caught yourself frequently checking how many likes you’ve got on your new post?
Ever wonder why does it feel so good to get likes on a post?
It can feel so satisfying and gives our brain a sense of achievement, but in reality, what have we really achieved? What progress have we made?
So The 3rd major thing I realized was that I was spending all this time posting on social media and in turn, I was getting likes and comments which gave me a sense of accomplishment and good feelings… but really, by the end of the day, what was I really achieving? What was the future of all of this?
I loved writing inspirational posts but I wasn’t able to impact enough people through it, and the life of my posts was just 24 hours because they stop showing your post to people after a certain amount of time. And I wasn’t getting any significant professional growth out of it either.
After I left social media, I got out of the delusion of false achievement and started strategically working towards something that has the potential to last, has better quality and can impact more people.
Social Media can put you in an inferiority or superiority complex
This is certainly one of the most common and talked-about side-effects of social media. People only post their highlights of life which can give you an illusion that everything is going so well in their lives. And when you compare that to your own life, you get into inferiority complex and a disempowering state of mind making you wonder why things aren’t going as well for you.
As I left social media, I began to feel so blessed and content with my own life and blessings. I stopped comparing my progress to others and began to focus on the positive aspects, which actually increased my overall progress. I felt happier and more content overall.
It can often give you a false sense of connection
You don’t just connect with people by sending them a friend request and liking their photos. Often we think that we are in touch with people through facebook when we barely ever talk to them. Seeing and liking their photos doesn’t mean you are connected to them.
In fact, most of the people we have on our friend’s list, we barely even know them.
Personally, when I quit social media, it made me want to actually keep in touch with people who I really knew and who were close to me. I was able to know them more and spend more time having real conversations with them.
It can drastically influence your thoughts, intentions, and decisions.
Tristan Harris, a former Google employee, says:
“Our choices are not as free as we think they are.”
This, specifically, was one of the main reasons for quitting social media altogether. I realized how social media is influencing my thoughts and polluting my intentions.
Whenever I would post, my mind would immediately start thinking about specific people that might see my posts.
So my posts were driven by what would people think of me and I was bound and trapped by the image that people held about me.
The other element that pollutes the intention, is “showing off”.
As soon as I began reflecting over this, it became intolerable for me to cultivate such intentions in my mind. I had to stop and re-align my compass and intentions.
After quitting social media, I experienced the ultimate freedom from the shackles of such thoughts and the direction of my life become more focused towards contribution and servitude rather than gaining appreciation and acknowledgment.
I wasn’t missing out on anything Major
When you decide to quit social media, one of the things your brain tells you is that you’re going to miss out on the important stuff.
After quitting social media for 600+ days, I can tell you that there wasn’t anything important that I missed out on. Even though I used to be fairly active on social media and had many contacts.
It’s only our brain trying to justify our addiction.
Think about it this way… would you rather miss out on the crucial years of your life or would you miss out on a few news updates or events that are probably not in your control anyway.
You might not miss out on much by quitting social media, but there’s a good chance that you’ll probably miss out on greater things in life if you don’t.
Words are just 7% of the total communication
According to certain studies, words only make up 7% of our communication, the rest includes tonality, body language and the occasion at which they are spoken.
What I experienced time and again was that It is very easy to misunderstand and misjudge someone’s words and expressions since you’re receiving only 7% of what the other person is trying to communicate.
There were several instances when either people misunderstood me, or I misunderstood what they were trying to communicate.
Social media is definitely NOT suitable for having detailed conversations or discussions on important topics.
So why did I started using it again, and how do I use social media now after learning all these lessons?
- I don’t use it for personal reasons anymore. I now only use social media platforms that are relevant to my work, such as Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
- I have taken charge of my time and mental energy by turning all the notifications off, so I don’t get interrupted or distracted. The only time I see any new messages and updates is when I choose to open the app in my own time, which is usually once or twice a day… and some days I don’t check at all.
For me, Social media now only serve as a tool instead of me being its slave. and it’s not part of my daily life anymore.
- Even in terms of professional use, I avoid checking my views and analytics too much as it can easily get to your head and become a distraction from the original purpose.
15 Day Social Media Cleanse
With all these insights, I think it’s worth it to give it a try and take a break from social media for a few weeks. A complete digital detox produces the most profound results, but just going through a social media cleanse is pretty amazing in itself as well. It’s your call whichever you choose.
Take this 15-day challenge. That is the only way you’ll know the difference.
If you never try… you’ll never know…
I leave it up to you to decide what is better for your life. Just be conscious about your choices and don’t let anything hypnotize you and take control of your mind. You be in charge of what enters your mind.
Talk to you soon!
A writer by calling, a life coach by passion, an artist by nature. Someone who has dedicated his life to exploring deep human potentials, spirituality, and timeless wisdoms of life with a hunger to share those experiences and knowledge to help others find meaning and improve the quality of their lives.