I quit Facebook little over 3 years ago, 2 years since Instagram. About 2 years since Twitter and I was never an avid Snapchat user. And now I can safely say that I don’t have any social media addiction.
So, how does it feel?
I think there is a measurable increase in my overall “Happiness”. Most of that is because I’m less anxious and less envious. My relationships are more meaningful and I have more control over the most precious commodity: Time.
There were some withdrawal symptoms in the beginning and several failed attempt to quit social media. These were the steps that I followed if anyone is thinking of quitting social media or reducing their usage:
- Uninstalled facebook app. Used facebook on the browser instead.
- Logged out of facebook every time I was done browsing. This increased barrier to entry as I had to enter my credentials every time. Having a long password is a bonus.
- Stopped using it completely within a month, whenever I felt like going on facebook I opened instagram instead.
- Uninstalled instagram. Used it on browser.
- Stopped using instagram all together in 4-6 weeks.
I relapsed a lot of times, the key is to keep correcting course and getting back to the step where you failed.
Another big change I did was to start reading books. Turn on that “Do Not Disturb” mode on your phone and pick up a book. It helps if you are reading what you like. For me, my goal was to learn about personal finance, so I ordered 5-8 best selling personal finance books. That way when I’m done with one, or I don’t like a book, I can drop that book and pick up the next one thereby not giving any excuses to pick up my phone.
I surrounded myself with youtube channels where I would learn a lot of new things. Hacking the youtube recommendation video vortex to work in my favor. My current youtube homepage is filled with things that I like and watching them gives me joy, instead of anxiety or fear of missing out (FOMO) like the one I use to get while on Facebook and other social media.
Podcasts became my best friend! I listen to them religiously and learn quite a lot from it. I subscribed to a bunch of newsletters, that way meaningful, curated and relevant news comes to me instead of stumbling upon random clickbaity infotainment in my newsfeed.
Now for the fundamental purpose, social media was created: Connecting People. I call my friends and family on a regular basis. Those conversations last for 20-30 mins and I think they are much more valuable to me than any facebook or Instagram likes. Some of the big events going on in their life might reach me a little late but a phone conversation makes up for it.
There are ways to hack social media but the tools for them aren’t there yet. Algorithms are still incentivized to show content that will force you to spend more time on the platform. Although, I think Twitter has made some great stride towards it, and Facebook was force to do that after the cambridge analytica data breach. Recent post by Mark Zuckerberg explains how the long term vision for facebook and instagram is fully encrypted one-to-one or one-to-few communication instead of one-to-many. I think facebook is moving in the right direction. And this is one of the reasons why Facebook remains one of the larger position in my portfolio. I will get into that some other time.
So that is it. I still am connected to the zeitgeist but now I have much more control over what part of zeitgeist I want to access and when.