Why I Stopped Using Social Media

Recently I removed the Facebook application from my phone, stopped my daily Instagram posts, and stopped scrolling through news feeds on social media.  Here are some of the personal observations I made, and what prompted the decision to redistribute my time.

Distracting Behavior

While I sat in school listening to the teachers lecture, other students would sit right in front of me, or beside me, and scroll through their news feeds.  Although they were mostly silent, I was still distracted by their behavior.  What were they looking at? Why was it more important than the classes they paid for?  How could it be interesting for so long?  I would watch them blankly stare at their devices and often they would do that for the entire 2 or 3 hours we were there.  What were they getting out of it?

Self-Check

So was I any better?  Definitely not.  I would go on Instagram to do my daily post, like a few of my favourite accounts, and then start scrolling.  After that I would do the same thing for Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Linkedin to name a few.  This happened for the longest amounts of time in the morning and before bed, but I would also check in for shorter amounts of time throughout the day.

Chained to the Algorithm

The reason that I started, and continue, to use social media has stayed the same.  I have moved cities a couple of times and social media sites make it easy for me to keep in touch with friends and family.  I can get updates on how they are, see pictures of their vacations, and laugh at the latest meme or vine with them.

Or can I?

The truth is, now when I scroll through my feed I mostly see posts from people I haven’t kept in touch with.  No amount of unfollowing or unfollowing seems to change the content that the site wants to show me.  What it wants to show me is advertisements, poorly written stories, and articles that are also advertisements.

Taking Back My Time

So off it all went.  Instead of scrolling while I’m in class, I listen and if we happen to be talking about a subject I’m ahead on, I’ll do other school work. It is allocated learning time after all.  Instead of checking all of the feeds in the morning I have time to do something healthy for myself.  I take a walk outside, go to the gym, or just make a good breakfast.  What about my friends and family?  I contact them directly.

Have you ever considered deleting your social media accounts?

What’s stopping you?

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5 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Using Social Media

  1. You make some good points Carl. I loved your advice in “taking back my time!”

    I teach at a community college and I have fought the battle with students using cell phones with a variety of strategies. Most who are glued to their phones will not do well in my class, or their hands-on classes, so I just let them text away. Students who are focusing on the class work get frustrated with the constant questions from those who have missed information in class. Having lots of active learning also weeds out the texters pretty quickly because the students have to participate in the learning rather than listening to me drone on! My other option is to invoke our college’s cell phone policy, whereby cell phones are shut off and left on a desk during class. Usually by second or third semester, students get this figured out.

    I do have students use their cell phones to check information online (good to compare information sources when one googles!), take pics of notes or important information from class, access Blackboard and grades, check email etc. I try to emphasize appropriate vs. inappropriate use of technology in my classes (I teach Business Communication); students will have to know this when they get to the workplace.

    Another trend that you haven’t included is that many students are playing online games, gambling, and watching sports or online poker during classes.

    I agree with you that it is easy to get sucked into the constant flow of news in social media. My twenty-something children have both limited the number of “friends” they have online to those they have spoken to in the past six months.

    I myself am trying to make more of an effort to really connect with my close friends rather than spending hours looking at everyone else’s “wonderful life” on social media. It’s much better to meet for coffee or wine, getting caught up with a close friend, or even skyping or making a phone call to friends who have moved away.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

    ~Noreen B.

  2. Interesting thoughts. However, a little bit extreme, especially the photo you used at the beginning of your blog.
    Time management is key. When colour TV and cable were introduced, people had the same time management problems. All you need to do is shut off your devices when more important things are happening in your day. No need to quit completely.
    By the way, if you have in fact quit social media, why are you taking this course?

  3. Hi Carl, This is all reasonable understanding as social media can get in the way of day to day life. I try to limit it down to when you have free time, and that is normally on weekends. I don’t use social media for posting as I am more of a “lurker” then anything. I just watch YouTube for music or some comedy (I love comedy) or something to have for the background. But if it gets in the way of everything, then that is when you need to step back from it, but I wont leave it forever.

  4. Hi Carl, This has definately been a bit of a struggle for me as well. I find I am spending quite a bit of amount of time when I should be doing something more productive. I was quite an active user of both Facebook and Twitter for a while, but found it was eating up a lot of time during the day. After a while I cut back my Twitter usage and stopped using it completely. After a few thousand followers it managed to become somewhat of a cluttered mess. I find that I am spending enough time on Facebook as it is. I may cut back my usage in the future but don’t forsee deleting the Facebook app from my phone anytime soon.

  5. Hi Carl, I’ve been questioning myself about this subject for a long time. How come people are so addicted to social media? I remember in my HTML class people asking me questions or advice on the work we had to do for the week, right after the teacher announced it, simply because they where so addicted to their social media space. It was the most annoying thing, but sometimes I found myself doing the same. This is where I realized how powerful social media can be with people and one of the reasons why I’m taking this class right now.

    Cheers,
    Alex

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