Thoughts on life, writing, art, and health.
I had an astronomically horrible day today. I thought ranting about it on social media would help. Once I posted my thoughts, I felt a little bit better. But I made the mistake of doing so in such a way that invited commentary. That’s when I started to feel bad again. Instead of getting validation and expression for my frustration, I put myself in a position where others’ opinions were welcome. Instead of achieving those needs for my emotional health in private, I used social media… In a way that I have done for 12 years, starting with Twitter. It isn’t healthy. It doesn’t benefit me, and I end up being one of those people who brings toxicity and negativity to spaces. After feeling immense anger at how people responded to me, I stepped back from writing an angry retaliation and then felt shame. On impulse, I felt like quitting social media and deleting all my accounts right then and there.
As much as I’ve wanted to change how I use social media, I resort to the same inappropriate behaviour. There’s no other way for me to describe it. I use social media in the worst way possible on my own: I unload all my problems instead of tackling them in private. While I don’t use social media for harassment, my usage harms myself more than anyone. I’m done with that. Quitting social media seems to be the best answer to first and foremost take care of myself.
What about balancing, using less, and distancing?
I have tried to distance myself from social media many, many times. I had what I called a social media sabbatical in the summer of 2019, and again made attempts at the start of 2021 when I acknowledged my addictive behaviour; there have been numerous other breaks as well which preceded my announcements on the blog. While these taught me valuable lessons of how I use social media, quitting social media will benefit me more. Along with the ways I use the platforms for unhealthy emotional processing, social media distracts me from the activities I want to prioritize: work, creativity, health, and hobbies.
I have tried to find balance, but I admit defeat, even with the improvements to using social media less from the tactics I introduced at the start of the year.
I also can’t improve personal areas like my emotional awareness, self-reflection, and interpersonal skills if I continue to resort to using social media in a way that actively negates and harms my attempts to make progress with my peace.
Saying goodbye isn’t easy, especially when I’ve made genuine connections with people on these platforms. Quitting anything, not just quitting social media, is hard. But the problem lies in my current use of these spaces. I can’t remember the last time I engaged in a decent discussion on social media. Occasionally, I give some input or reaction to a friend’s content. But long gone are the days of conversation that invigorated me or made me feel as part of a community.
Preparations for quitting social media
My friend just popped his head around the corner to see what I was doing. I showed him the title of the blog, and he made it clear he doubts I’m really quitting social media. He said, “I give it a week.” I told him this time it’s different, because I’m not trying to find a balance; because I’m admitting defeat. He asked, “Does this include TikTok as well?” Yes. “Wow.” None of this exchange was defeatist or mean; he knows me well, and he knows how often I have tried to distance myself from unhealthy social media usage. I think he also understands that now I want to prove him wrong. 😏
I don’t want to leave any lose ends or risk the loss of content I truly do want to keep. So I’m giving myself one week to tie up these relics from my social media platforms and then get out. My reconnaissance includes:
- recording information from Saved Posts on Reddit (so many QR codes for Animal Crossing: New Horizons)
- saving photos from Instagram if they have not already been stored
- retrieving contact information for friends who I primarily keep in touch with on social media platforms
- overall, grabbing stuff I know I won’t be able to replicate or find again
Once the week is up, I’m wiping my accounts, changing passwords for any I will keep as shells, and deleting the rest.
I hope that by May 1st, I will have begun a new journey after quitting social media.
Give ’em the boot
I don’t consider all social media to be the same. Pinterest and Facebook are not the same to me. Discord and Twitter are not the same either. If it has a profile associated with it, I’m more likely leaving it compared to messaging apps.
I will be leaving Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, WhatsApp, and Facebook. I will stay on Pinterest, at least to organize the pins and boards there, because it’s the only platform where I find joy and inspiration! I will also be on Discord because I don’t consider it a social media platform, but a messaging app. (It’s like chatrooms, okay; don’t fight me on that.) For now, I will remain on Instagram since it’s an easier location to manage content and contacts compared to others, but this may be quite temporary.
I think social media has a place and a function. Personally, I believe in three primary and positive uses.
- join communities, and make friends and connections based on interests
- network professionally, such as meeting people in my field and building a network of freelancers
- market a business, like advertising my editorial services or any possible creative projects down the line
If I decide to use social media for one of these positive purposes, then I can come back and try again. For now, though, social media isn’t working toward any of those purposes. I’m especially not using it to connect with people on a deeper level, which I wish I was doing, so I’m just going to hope that my desire to socialize will come back to me somewhere.
I’ve hesitated quitting social media because I thought the above uses would make themselves available to me, or that I would start doing them in earnest if I limited my time on social media. But I’ve disconnected less and less since imposing time limits in January.
I will leave my Twitter up as a shell account or updates-only feed, and it will cross-post when I have written a blog, since I will still be on my website here, hopefully blogging more. Most of my heartache comes from knowing I will be cutting off a lot of users by stepping away from Twitter, so I will see how it goes by at least bringing notification of my activity to that timeline.
I will be on Discord and I really want people to add me there to make sure we stay connected. My comments are moderated, so you can provide your Discord ID and number there for me to add. I will also leave my Instagram available, especially for DMs to facilitate making contact on Discord.
My primary points of contact will be Discord, email, or any of the forms on this site.
I might delete Instagram down the line, though I have the majority of my offline friends on there and don’t feel toxic using it. Instagram’s fate is open-ended, but it might get the axe too, so I wouldn’t rely on it.
If this is farewell…
It’s been quite a long time over this last decade. I started using Twitter in 2009, shortly after I began blogging on an old website. I’ve connected with a lot of people, many of whom have also journeyed toward quitting social media, whether they made the choice or just happened to fall out of use.
I won’t even get into how I feel about data collection from social media companies, but now is the time to commit to stepping back completely and quitting social media. Not just closing the door, but leaving the building that houses my unhealthy social media activity.
If you won’t be able to stay in touch with me through Discord, my blog, or email, then I hope one day we can reconnect. I hope that my acquaintance with you brought you joy. In the time we spent together, I hope you remember me, but I will give you the grace to forget me as well. I wish I could say I will remember everyone in the future without needing to make note of who you are… But I have memory problems and I am exhausted by my own existence. I am my first priority right now.
If we are mutuals on Twitter or we have shared a connection with writing, blogging, art, video games, queer activism, and more… Please don’t see me quitting social media as me cutting off contact with you. Please touch base and let me know where else we can remember each other. ♥
I am scared to leave behind one of the longest relationships I’ve had, but I am excited to reclaim myself.
Disclaimer: This is not an indication of poor mental health that will result in permanent changes to my physical being, so please do not construe it as such! I am not disappearing from the Internet entirely or aiming to erase my existence. I am quitting social media platforms to reclaim my time and energy.