I recently deleted all of my social media channels. No more Facebook, no more Twitter, no more Instagram. I didn’t just deactivate these accounts or stop looking at them. I actually deleted all of the accounts permanently.
I have, until now, been an active social media user since at least 2004 when I created my first Friendster account. I even worked as a social media marketing director for a time working with businesses to create social media marketing campaigns.
I have been asked by more than one person to explain my rationale for living like a luddite. Please let me make this clear: I do not think everyone should leave social media. There are many people who have a much different relationship with their social media channels and I am so glad that is the case.
Here are the reasons I left social media and why I don’t think I’ll ever go back.
Performing instead of Communicating
After over 14 years on social media I felt like I was performing a role rather than communicating. In many cases my “persona” online was expected to be something and if I was having a bad day or wanted to try something new, I had to perform instead of just be “off”.
What I wanted to do was communicate with people and explore my own questions about how things work, but that became less and less possible as my online profile became bigger. I was never “famous” so to speak, but with 2,500 followers my persona had expectations placed on it that I was never comfortable with.
Outrage instead of Understanding
Over the last couple of years social media seemed to have a shift from a place where people sought to understand why someone might have a different point of view to a place where outrage over someone’s ideas that didn’t conform to the norms of the online community happened first.
I always used my social media channels to challenge the assumptions, status quo, and norms of those I interacted with. Over time it became clear than homogenous thought had a higher value than diversity of thought.
Real Life > Online Life
Most of the people I interacted with online were not in my immediate circle of real life friends. This in and of itself is not a problem. In fact, it was a tremendous benefit to my outlook on life and the world.
The issue is I was missing out on my real life. Real connections with real people. There is a balance that people need between online and real life and I don’t seem to know how to find that balance. My best self was given to people I rarely if ever had face-to-face interactions with.
In the end, there is nothing wrong with participating in social media. It just isn’t something I can do in a way that is healthy for my spirit and my relationships. I’m sure I’ll write more on this topic, so stay tuned.
But, please don’t be offended if the only place online you find me is here.