I Quit Social Media – Here’s What Happened

Justice Petersen, IV Leader Editor

Almost one year ago I spontaneously decided that I was going to delete all of my social media apps off of my phone and see how long I could survive without them – here’s what happened. 

There were several reasons as to why I was sick of social media. For one thing, I felt as though I spent way too much time on something that gave me nothing back.

I would spend hours and hours scrolling through Instagram. It passed the time, but what did I gain? After a while, the same old routine of double-tapping and scrolling at the same posts from celebrities and people I never talked to in high school became monotonous. 

In addition to this, I found I relied too heavily on my phone in general. Once I had two seconds of down time, my phone was immediately out of my pocket so I could see if I missed anything. I never did. 

What finally made me decide to delete my social media was when I realized how unhappy it made me. I’m not the first one to say that social media is unhealthy. 

All I saw on my social media platforms were people who I constantly compared myself to. Everyone seemed to be happier and more satisfied with life than I was. The truth was, their well-being was no better than mine – they just chose to post a selfie. 

Scrolling through comments sections and Snapchat stories I continued to see nothing but hatred and refusal to understand the other side. This was what truly left me disillusioned with social media. 

As I read posts and comments (from complete strangers mind you) I felt as though all anyone had to do was insult or belittle others. Whether it was Internet trolls or two sides who simply refused to see eye to eye, it was this constant unkindness that made me decide to break up with social media and move on. 

When I first deleted my social media, I have to admit that getting used to not relying so heavily on my phone was difficult.

It was at this time that I realized that by taking social media away, I had so many other things (healthier things) that I could be doing. 

Instead of tapping endlessly away at social media apps, I do all of the other things that I always wanted to do, but “never had the time to do”. Instead of looking at my peers’ Snapchat stories, I spend more time studying. Instead of refreshing the explore page on Instagram, I read books. (I know how boring I sound.)

Now this isn’t to say I’m perfect. These past couple of months I have found myself peering around the corner at social media, pretending I’m not looking when I very obviously am. Every once in a while I’ll check back on things but for the most part I still do not spend hours on end scrolling through apps. 

I can even say that there are a couple of things I miss about social media. It is a great way to communicate with friends and family from all over. I have a friend from Italy who I only talk to through Instagram, which is why I make sure to check it every once in a while.

Additionally, my favorite thing about social media is that it is a great tool that allows people to be exposed to so many new things.

From social media I am exposed to new bands, history, news, fashion inspiration, and sometimes excellent photography. But perhaps one could argue that a person could learn just as much from social media as they would from a book or a film.

My final take? I don’t regret deleting my social media, and I don’t plan on getting it back any time soon. And if you are a person who has social media I am not going to crucify you. But I would definitely recommend challenging yourself to see how long you could go without it. Stay off of social media for one hour. One day. One week. Try and see what happens when you begin looking around instead of looking down.