I remember the exact moment I decided to deactivate all my social media accounts. I was at the bookstore with my daughter. I was scrolling through Instagram while she was flipping through a book. Suddenly I realized that social media was taking me out of the present moment with her. I was going to miss key moments by liking the posts of people I hardly knew. I decided to make a change. I deactivated all my accounts: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Strava.
Today is my 1 year anniversary of being completely social media free.
So what are some observations about being 1 year social media free?
News and long-form articles replaced my social media consumption
I expected that cutting down social media would allow me to spend more time reading books but that's not what happened. Instead I simply replaced my social media time with mindlessly clicking through news headlines or reading some great long-form articles. Essentially I went back to the way I used the Internet pre-2006. Overall I would say this is a positive change but it wasn't what I expected.
I lost touch with many people
There's a group of people on social media who I went to high school/college with or was friends with in other cities that I would typically stay loosely connected to on social media by leaving comments on each other's posts. I have completely lost touch with this group and have not had an interaction with them since I left social media. I have mixed feelings about this as the size of my social circle seems much smaller.
I spend more time with my closest friends and family
I spend more time texting/emailing/calling some of my closest friends and family and I think I'm better connected to them than I have been in years. This has been the most positive change. I think essentially cutting out social media has been about minimizing time with acquaintances in order to spend more time with the people I’m closest to.
I was late hearing about big events in the lives of my closest friends
Even with my closest friends I would be late to hear major news like a new job or even a pet dying. Many people will announce the biggest news in their lives first on social media. I still heard about these through a text/phone call but it might be a few days after the people on social media knew about it.
Overall I'm really happy with the change and plan to continue staying social media free in 2019!