I did it. I finally did it. After years of talking and having inner conversations with myself about it, I am getting rid of my personal social media.
Social media, in concept and its inception, was an innovative idea, but now it’s become a toxic wasteland. It’s morphed into this unhealthy black hole of doom scrolling and fun-house mirrors distorting the images, messages and your internal feelings.
Back when I first got MySpace, Facebook (in its college rollout phase), Twitter and Instagram, these channels were tools for staying connected with people and meeting new ones and networking. The main one was finding new bands and their music, writing blogs about them and staying in touch and I still catch up time to time with them. It was amazing to have a platform that you could reach people you never even thought you could meet. I met one of my best friends on YouTube and we developed our friendship via Twitter, and he’s still one of my closest ones today. Social media used to be a great, safe space, but now it’s not.
Over the years, it quickly evolved into a toxic game and a dangerous playing field, more so now with the COVID-19 pandemic and the political turmoil in the United States and around the world — everyone is fighting for attention to be heard. There’s less clout for truth being shared across the Internet, and it’s all become such a negative place with a much larger, alarming influence than we recognize. That’s barely scratching the surface of the grander scheme of things, and you can learn more detail in a documentary called, The Social Dilemma, on Netflix. I’m currently going through it, section by section, and it’s truly eye-opening to our own dismay and downfall.
My reason for deleting my social media, one by one, pertains to my mental health and my happiness. I never wanted to admit it to myself, but I was/am addicted to it. I was both user and dealer to my own detriment, but I finally had had enough and cut the cord. It took so long to finally pull the trigger, because I work in Marketing and have been since my career started, so I always bargained with myself and used the excuse of, “You need to stay on it – for your job. How are you going to do your job if you have no idea what’s going on in the space? How will you track trends?” So the addiction persisted.
What was the addiction exactly? I talked to my sister just an hour ago and she said to me, “But you don’t even post that much? How are you addicted to it?”
It’s the game of being liked. There are millions, maybe billions, of users out there, and we live in a society where you have to be liked and there are new standards and trends of beauty and clout and influence a person must have in order to be “successful” in the social media world.
For me, being in this toxic environment, I was constantly on Instagram or Twitter (mostly) and seeing people more successful and doing great things and having an impact on people on a large scale, and I aspired to do the same. When I saw these people — or worse, literally sought them out by searching for them — I instilled this negative reinforcement message in my brain that I am not doing enough, I am not good enough and will never amount to anything good. It’s in my head that I think people will only pay attention to you and what your message is if you are SOMEBODY – somebody with a large following, lots of engagement and therefore have clout and influence. (By the way, none of this is to say I was seeking to be a typical “influencer.”)
Whenever I was feeling down or wanted attention, I would post something with a positive message, hoping I could project good vibes for others who might need as much as I do. In essence, social media became a vicious cycle of people putting on a front, a facade that they were happy and life is great, but in reality, they could be crying in a corner hating life — that’s how I hid my alcohol addiction so well, because it was very absent from me posting.
I remember this all started with Snapchat, when I would see friends going out and having fun – or worse, told me they were busy but still went out. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) gets to me intensely, and I recognize that, so I deleted Snapchat and have not gone back since. Simultaneously, I stopped using Facebook for the shit-show it is as a platform for people yelling and getting into heated arguments with each other. Nowadays I only go back to see the hilarious posts from my Memories, but I am planning to get rid of it for good soon. For Twitter, I’m logged out of it but not permanently deleted yet ’cause there is so much history I’m not sure how to preserve or archive just yet. And for Instagram, my account is disabled, not deleted either for the same reason. There are genuinely some good memories there I need to figure out how to preserve them in a healthy way.
There are many nuances in the stuff I’m writing here, but those are the main pin points. I’m sick of social media and the technological monster it’s become. It’s slowly devouring us deeper and deeper into the void, and I want to get out before I slip back into dark thoughts again.
All of this isn’t to say it isn’t still a great tool for marketing, promotion and advertising, but I legitimately cannot handle it. It’s not for me anymore, and I recognize my own self-created demons with it and my own unhealthy habits, but I’m taking actions to protect myself and my mental health. Last year, I quit Twitch TV again for my mental health, so I’m starting to see a pattern that maybe I need to back to a life before all this social media existed or was relevant. A simpler, quieter life focused on me and my goals.
That said, even though I’ve logged out and disabled my personal accounts, I still am working on them in limited capacity needed for my projects with Enter The Chat Podcast and WriteHive. My goal was to remove the personal toxic poison and not be compelled or tempted to put myself in that position again. Now I just want to focus on pursuing my passions with the podcast and nonprofit.
If you’ve made it thus far, as always, thank you for reading. I hope it put things into perspective and inspired you to ponder and evaluate your habits with social media. I am not telling you or anyone what to do, but only be realistic and honest with yourself. You know yourself best.