Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor named one of the best thinkers in the field of management, said that we don’t really buy products or services. Rather, we “hire” something to get a job done. Based on this, think about why you continuously waste your talent by watching other people share their craft instead of creating something yourself. Ask yourself, for what type of job you’ve hired social media?1
Personally, I think that there are two possible options:
First, you use social media for validation. By sharing photos of what you do and where you go, you aim to fix your mood when people like your posts. Or in other words, even if your life is good, you don’t feel that your life is good enough unless others say so.
And secondly, you’re simply an observer. Spontaneously hopping from post to post, consuming, rarely sharing. Trying to escape the unbearable mediocrity of your actual life by watching the most magnificent moments of others. And eventually, end up living virtual life deprived of any actual experiences.
I don’t know which one is worse. Persuading yourself that other people care about you because they simply liked your photo. Or, the tendency to avoid fixing your unpleasant reality by doing something about it instead of participating in the fantasy world of social media.
Of course, that’s now how we normally think about using social media.
We persuade our minds that liking pictures and joining virtual groups gives us a sense of belonging. Connection with others. Opportunity to express ourselves and access to a wide variety of information we’ll otherwise never get.
In reality, we hire social media to distract our minds from our unpleasant, average life. And, by faking photos, to convince others, including ourselves, that our life is amazing while internally we are in pain.
- We hire social media to create a virtual representation of the life we want to live, but never actually live it.
- We hire social media to observe the life we want, but never actually experience it.
I think that by favoring pictures of others traveling around the world, you not only waste time. You also invite corrupting thoughts in your head like, “Why I’m so unadventurous? Why I don’t travel? Why does my life suck?” All of these questions, even if you’re not a fan of traveling.
But what if you realize that you don’t know why you use social media? That you use it just because you’ve used it before?
Then, probably, you will realize that you don’t need fake friendships online. You don’t need to see more pictures of people you don’t know. And you certainly don’t need to spend hours scrolling through updates that are not even related to your personality.
The benefits of staying off social media are insanely generous. Not only your time is salvaged, but also your attention – which is far more precious.
If you’re on the fence about using social media – which I believe is the case since you’re reading this post – let me give you not 10 reasons to quit social media. But 20 reasons to quit social media.
20 Reasons To Quit Social Media:
- 1. You Have More Free Time
- 2. You Compare Less With Others
- 3. You Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need
- 4. You Stop Doing Things You Don’t Want To Do
- 5. You Focus On Your Goals
- 6. You Get More Social
- 7. You Start Looking For Having Meaningful Dialogues
- 8. You Stop Dehumanizing Humans
- 9. You Avoid Groupthink
- 10. You Transition From FOMO to JOMO
- 11. You Start To Use Social Media
- 12. You Get Your Attention Back
- 13. You Start To Seek Finite Resources
- 14. You Become More Present
- 15. You Focus On The Important Things
- 16. You Have More Time To Think
- 17. You Realize Who Your Real Friends Are
- 18. You Stop Supporting Monopolies
- 19. You Focus On Yourself
- 20. You Transition From Consumer to Creator
1. You Have More Free Time
Let’s get the obvious out of the way.
On average, people spend 145 minutes per day liking photos and interacting with memes. In some countries, this number is close to 4 hours per day.2
Imagine how your life will look like with two extra hours per day?
Probably you can finally start reading the pile of books collecting dust on your counter.
Or, start writing the book you’ve always wanted. Or, even better, just rest more after a busy day at the office.
2. You Compare Less With Others
“Jim just purchased a brand new BMW. Tiffany got a new job at Google. Roger, an old friend from high school I never see, is traveling, again. And here I am. Sitting in my small rented flat. Covered in darkness. Sweating. Unable to move. Wondering why my life is so unimpressive.”
Subconsciously or not, we always compare ourselves to others. This is an in-built human characteristic.
We want what others have because this can help us improve our life and thus survive for longer.3
Comparing with others can be a good thing because it can inspire action. Motivate us to make changes in our lives.
However, when we are continuously exposed to the perfect life of others by scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. When we compare our average days with the perfect days of others. We feel pain. We feel behind. We feel that we’re not enough and instead of feeling motivated, we feel lost, and it’s like our life is utterly unfixable.
3. You Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need
Senator Orrin Hatch, in relation to the antitrust investigation, asked Mark Zuckerberg the following: “How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?” To which Mr. Zuckerberg responded, widely smiling, “we run ads.”4
Mathematically, the more you use social media, the more ads you will see. The more ads you see, the more money you spend.
Marketers all over the world brag about how they increase their revenue by running ads on social media. Who do you think the buyers are? That’s right, people who use social media.
If you don’t use social media, you’ll see fewer ads. You will know about the existence of fewer products. Therefore, you will purchase fewer things.
But it’s not only the ads that are making you go crazy with your credit card. There is something else…
4. You Stop Doing Things You Don’t Want To Do
Admit it, you’re not really traveling because you want to visit every corner of the world. You’re doing it because all of your friends have the unrealistic goal of traveling the whole world.
Peer pressure can be quite beneficial. If you see your friends working out daily, you’ll probably motivate yourself to do it.
But let’s be real, people who are super enthusiastic. Self-help nerds, rarely use social media. They understand why leaving social media is the right choice.
This means that you’re left in a virtual pool full of folks who want to prove to other folks that their life is better than what it actually is.
So, what eventually happens is that everyone on the social media train is pursuing an unobtainable carrot. Even worse, carrot they don’t really need/want.
The more you spend time looking at what others are doing, the more you’ll want to do these things. Sadly, this will prevent you from figuring out what you, yourself, want to do.
5. You Focus On Your Goals
Quitting social media removes the desire to do what every one of your online friends is doing.
When you no longer crave to watch pictures of strangers, something magical happens. You start thinking about what you really want out of your life.
Since there are no more pictures to like and no more people to follow, you start to follow your own desires.
You take the time you previously spent (wasted) observing how others live their lives and use it to create the life you want.
Sound too self-helpy (?), I know. It does. But it’s completely true.
You have a void to fill. Why not fill it with activities you like? Not activities other people like?
6. You Get More Social
Quitting social media makes you more social.
Counterintuitive, right? Social media sites are supposed to make us more social, more connected? Then how quitting social media will help me have better relationships?
Hear me out.
Facebook and Instagram give you a fake sense of belonging. You think that you’re interacting with others, but that’s just dust in the eyes.
You don’t feel the presence of other people. You receive emojis and carefully curated messages.
When you delete your social media accounts, and when the fake connections are gone, you crave actual interactions. You’ll naturally want to meet others. See them in person, not just chat with them.
7. You Start Looking For Having Meaningful Dialogues
It’s hard to imagine that you can find a meaningful discussion online. Sure, there are some channels where you can interact with others on topics that are different from the usual memes and likes – like AMAs with Bill Gates – but they are outliers, they are not the norm.
Replacing words with emojis can’t ignite a meaningful conversation. It’s good only for an afternoon chatter.
Imagine having to keep a conversation going without access to storage full of smiling faces and hearts. You will have to actually talk with the person and express your feelings.
8. You Stop Dehumanizing Humans
In a virtual world, you are not judged based on who you really are. You are evaluated based on how you present yourself.
You don’t have enough followers and likes on your posts? Well, then, my friend, your opinion doesn’t count. You’re just a random avatar.
To be perceived as important, and not even as important, but just a person with an opinion, you need influence. You need to turn into an influencer.
This means that you should purchase courses that will help you gain more followers. The more followers you have, there more you will matter.
But this also means that the fewer followers you have, the less you matter.
This dehumanization is dangerous. We blindly obey the so-called gurus who are just regular folks who simply spent more time building an audience. However, this doesn’t mean that they are smarter. They are simply playing the social game better.
9. You Avoid Groupthink
As the saying goes, “If you keep doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results.”
But there is one important variation of the above statement: “If you keep interacting with the same people, you will have the same thoughts.”
Online, we form a tribe that revolves around our interests. Going out, traveling, photography, etc. There is nothing wrong with that. We all have interests that, when shared, can turn into blossoming friendships.
But when we keep interacting with the same people, we will never see different points of view.
We will accept what our tribe is suggesting without digging around looking for alternative views. And worse, we’ll rarely search for an outside view. Making us stuck inside a box. Inside a bubble. Never upgrading our thought processes in a world that is constantly changing and looking for out-of-the-box ideas.
10. You Transition From FOMO to JOMO
FOMO stands for fear of missing out. JOMO is the joy of missing out.
When I abandoned social media. I thought that I will go crazy. Miss out on so many important things that I will quickly jump back on the liking ship. None of that happened.
After the habit of scrolling and liking wears off, you suddenly find yourself in a joyful place. A quieter, calmer, less demanding place where you don’t want to know what others are doing. You focus on what you want to do.
Getting anxious because you think that others are doing super exciting things without you means that there is nothing in your life to be excited about.
If this is the case, escaping the social media train is the perfect opportunity to find something in your life to be excited about.
11. You Start To Use Social Media
You’re no longer used by social media when you escape social media. You start to use social media for your own gains.
I know why a lot of people can’t even consider not checking Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter constantly. Objectively speaking, there is a ton of value inside these platforms. I can’t argue against this.
Still, quitting social media doesn’t always mean that you have to delete the app and never return.
Personally, I still keep my profiles active with a little twist. I’ve unfollowed everyone online. This means that when I open Twitter, for example, I don’t see an infinite scroll where gurus are lining up to “tell me” how to get better.
There is nothing when I enter. A blank page.
When I want to check something, I access my Twitter and do my research. Or when I want to see what people are talking about in relation to something I’m interested in, I search for a Facebook group and I read the comments.
Or in other words, you can use social media deliberately. Only enter the sites when you want to find something. Not enter to find something to need. Two completely different things.
12. You Get Your Attention Back
“The whole world is infected. Zombies everywhere. No sign of hope!”
That’s not a poster of a new movie. It’s the current reality.
In the pre-Facebook era. We had face-to-face time. Now we have face-to-phone time.
It’s hard to talk to people, connect with them when their face is always facing a bright screen with popping elements.
I fully understand why people feel pressured to stay online all the time. There is no ending. The Infinity pools are constantly fed with new stuff to show you. Consuming not only your time, but your attention as well.
Something I don’t believe a lot of people get is how lousy your attention becomes when you scroll through pictures (and the new fad now: videos) during your whole day.
It deteriorates quite fast.5
Disconnection from the always-on world will help you remember that there is more.
Not more places to go. Not more pictures to like. But more ways to focus and concentrate on what matters more to you personally.
13. You Start To Seek Finite Resources
A newspaper from a small corner shop on a busy street might not have all the news inside. But it has something we all want – an ending.
With a newspaper, you can understand what’s happening today while drinking your morning coffee and move on with your life.
We keep scrolling and scrolling online because we know that there is more. But more doesn’t mean better. Seeing all variations of memes online won’t upgrade your skills. It will destroy them.
When informational resources have edges, it will help you focus on what you’re reading right now, not on what you could be reading a moment later.
14. You Become More Present
Since you’re no longer thinking about, “gosh, probably I have new likes on my photo, I should check so I can feel good.” You focus on the thing you’re doing without constantly disturbing your flow.
Removing the thoughts on what “I’m potentially missing out on” helps you get calmer. More grounded. More present. More focused on what “I’m doing right now.”
Instead of going out with a friend so you can both stare at your phones, you enjoy each other’s company.
15. You Focus On The Important Things
Nintendo recently released a new video game. Netflix just launched a new documentary. Your grandma is sharing pictures of her on the beach, again.
There is always something new happening online. Something fun. Something exciting. Something that makes you feel like your world is super awesome.
Sadly, when you put the phone away, it’s still you. The same you, inside the same condo, doing the usual things.
Fun things online don’t mean important things.
When social media is removed from your life, you create the time you need to focus on the important things. For instance, spending more quality time with your family and friends.
16. You Have More Time To Think
Thinking is often overlooked. Even though we do it all the time, we don’t ever talk about it. We don’t think that thinking is important.
Just a few moments of alone time, with nothing but your naked thoughts, can drive you insane. That’s what usually happens when you’re used to constantly observe the lives of others.
But more uninterrupted time for thinking is like doodling. You try different ideas in your head. You stress test a concept. You carefully consider your words before you write them on a piece of paper. Plainly, it’s helpful.
Thinking more about a certain thing will help you better prepare when you actually start doing the thing.
17. You Realize Who Your Real Friends Are
I remember when I was younger. I stared at my Facebook friends count and I was delighted by the number: 700+ friends. “Man, I must be sensational,” I thought.
With time though, you realize that this is just a metric social media sites use to force you to stay. “Reconnect with your friends. Share your memories. Join more groups…” Like we need more Facebook groups in our lives.
When I abandoned social media, I realized that my real friends are no more than a dozen. And instead of trying to maintain relationships that don’t matter. I focused on the ones that do.
18. You Stop Supporting Monopolies
If you’ve ever played the game Monopoly, you know that it sucks when one person holds all the streets. All the railroads. And has a damn hotel on every piece of property on the map.
But with our combined efforts – or simply our usage of neglect. We help big social media platforms become even bigger.
While we play the game of Monopoly hoping to win, we have the best time at the beginning of the game – when everyone is playing. Not when one of the players obtains every property on the field.
If we stop using Facebook and Instagram. Or if we start using them more deliberately. We might inspire others to do the same. And when this happens, we can prevent the global expansion of the dogmatic social media platforms trying to interfere with every part of our lives.
19. You Focus On Yourself
A large portion of social media scrolling involves watching what everyone else is doing. “Hey, a cute dog…”; “Gosh, my neighbor is really working these muscles…”; “Jenny just started a newsletter, good for her…”
But how is watching the glamorous life of others helping you make your life better?
In short, it doesn’t.
It only distracts you from what you want to do.
When you close the window to the lives of others, you open widely the window to yours.
20. You Transition From Consumer to Creator
In one of my recent posts on how my life changed after abandoning social media, I wrote: “I don’t want to consume the life of others. I want to create a life worth consuming.”
In the age of information overload, it’s easy to end up drowning in facts and stories of people you don’t know – and will never get to know.
I mean, getting updates of your favorite celebrity feels exciting. But for who?
The people social media websites recommend us to follow have things already figured out. They have money. Status. Fancy lives. Why spend our time looking at their gorgeous lives instead of creating a better life for ourselves?
Why not use the tools that allowed people to become famous and valued, the ones we so obsessively follow, to create something worth following?
Some Closing Thoughts
Regardless of whether we hate it or love it, social media platforms are here to stay.
Of course, there are plenty of benefits to social media. A lot of open jobs related to managing social media accounts. Easy video calls to see your friends who live in another country can be done with just a push of a button. Some people even create businesses solely on platforms like Instagram – not that I think it’s a good thing, but that’s another story.
But like everyone else in life, balance is key.
You either use social media, or you let it use you.
The decision is up to you. You can either bombard your brain with endless distractions. Or you can use the time to dig deep on topics that actually interest you.
And if you do want to quit social media, but you don’t know how to start, you can begin with these books:
- Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
- Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
- Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman
Hope the information was helpful here.
See you on the other side.
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- Gerdeman, Dina. Clayton Christensen: The Theory of Jobs To Be Done. Harvard blog.
- Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2020. Statista website.
- As stated in this article by Mind, Body and Soul blog, “Comparisons allow us to form a baseline for where we are in life, and where we want to be.”
- From the YouTube video: Senator asks how Facebook remains free, Zuckerberg smirks: ‘We run ads’. NBC news.
- The average human attention span had dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000, to just 8 seconds in 2013. He, Barry. Social media multitasking could affect attention span. ChinaDaily.