How Deleting And Restarting My Social Media Has Had A Positive Experience On Me
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Social media and I have a love-hate relationship. As a marketing professional who manages multiple social media accounts for a handful of clients on a daily basis, I can't help but be an active participant on it for the sake of my work. Yet, I dislike being on social media.
When I first heard about Facebook, I was a senior in high school, and by the time I entered college, the social media platform had become a significant part of my social life. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram happened a few years later.
I remember trying very hard to expand my virtual-friend circle and oversharing my personal life on the platforms. There was an innate desire in me to “show” everyone I was living my best life — traveling, partying, hustling — and how happy I was.
In reality, I was miserable. It was exhausting putting myself out there, being online all the time, and responding to comments. There were also a few instances when I made a butt of myself — in a desperate effort to be socially accepted.
Social media had an enormous influence on my life's dynamics, but honestly, I never felt I experienced my life offline authentically. Everything I did was photographed and shared across channels. I was never in the moment.
But every person's growth is inevitable, and I started to find myself becoming increasingly sensible and emotionally mature with time. Being happy without any drama or toxic people became important to me, and my fondness for social media started to vanish.
I felt disconnected from my past posts and connections.
My older tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebook posts didn't reflect the real me, and I didn't even feel the person I was when I first started the accounts. I didn't see any point in staying in touch with everyone from my school or college. I suddenly lost interest in their personal lives.
My social media engagement had a negative impact on my well-being.
The more online I was on the platforms, the more I was exposed to others' content. Comparing myself with them happened naturally, and I wanted to break the cycle. That depressed me! I felt overfed with information, and it sucked all the energy out of me.
The majority of the accounts I followed stopped inspiring me.
As I grew, my interests also evolved. I stopped relating to most of the content I followed. In fact, I didn't even remember following many pages or accounts. I just wanted to find and curate content that offered value to my life and made me smile.
I wanted to give my social media algorithms a reset.
From doing 90-day detox challenges to setting social media time limits on my phone — I tried many things to decrease my engagement.
I wanted to gain control over who I followed or connected with and the kind of content I wanted to see. Deleting all my accounts seemed like the only viable option, and so I did.
Yes, it's something many people won't do simply because their past posts, followers, and likes would be lost forever. But if you have private accounts like me, what's stopping you? I pressed the reset button on my social media four years ago. I felt free.
It felt as if a heavy burden had been lifted off my shoulders.
I removed people from my sight I didn't want to stay in touch with or who had no importance in my life. I got rid of content that reminded me of the old me. I believe in looking forward, so who I was or what I did seven years ago stopped mattering to me.
I wiped out the clutter that made me anxious and sad. I got the chance to rejig the algorithms by following fresh and interesting content. Ironically, ever since I re-created my accounts, my social media use has decreased by a long shot!
My Facebook is for very close friends and family. I follow my industry peers on Twitter and LinkedIn. And Instagram? When the time's right, I will get active on it again.
In the past four years, I have been on many wonderful vacations with my spouse, attended quite a few family gatherings, and had great weekends. Not even once did I feel like putting it up on Instagram or Facebook in real time.
And, of course, the pandemic provided some much-needed respite from the busyness of daily life. I took time off to internalize, introspect, and be thankful for everything I held dear to my heart. Sharing my feelings on social media was out of the question.
I have realized I am also more focused at work. I am more concerned about actually doing my job rather than Instagramming about it. Let's just say I am happy with the shape my social media accounts have taken.
Most of your social media happiness boils down to the type of people and content you follow. So it's essential to be conscious about what you see on your feeds.
The process isn't smooth for someone who has spent a considerable part of their adult life on social media. But if being online hasn't been making you happy, deleting and restarting your accounts can be both empowering and positive.