My social media story

*CW: mention self-harm/suicide*

Dearest lovely readers,

We have, over the years, been inundated about the dangers of social media, others arguing “it’s not so bad”. We have seen the arguments rage on since it’s invention. Let me tell you, a bit of my story – this is not the whole story as one part from my young, naïve is difficult to share.

Like most my age, I started on social media very young, maybe around 11 years old. It was fun. I became bewildered at how easily I could make my own website, how easily I could change things and it started an obsession. As I grew older I was able to talk to my friends any time I wanted, I could share ‘fun things’, I followed “deep” pages sharing in my teenaged angst. I felt understood. I was obsessed with a game call YoVille on Facebook when I was around 13 years old. That game caused some real danger and I learned of the dark side very young, but without the true understanding of how the world works.

Around 15 I was on another site, WeHeartIt, which I liked because no one else I knew was on it, I could find pictures I loved. Unfortunately, safe guards around self-harm and suicide weren’t there and I saw many pictures which affected me.

I grew an affinity to ‘liking’ people’s things as a way of showing affection, or telling people, “yes, this is good content” and I didn’t really even realise it. But by the time I was 18, I started lessening what I reacted to, putting up less and less statuses. But yet, I would endlessly scroll, and scroll, and scroll. This was my life until a few years ago, I learned that I was part of (one of) the big Facebook scandal in which millions of people’s data had been took for the 2016 election. That was when I did my research. Whilst I still kept on scrolling, I started to see through the façade, I started to see more content that was harming my mental health.

I became one of those who would compare themselves, and felt inferior. I then started seeing a lot of media content that would enrage me but had no choice in whether I could see it or not. And so I quit Facebook. But then I still had Instagram. The exact same cycle happened.

I became addicted to seeing these that would embroil me in emotions and I just couldn’t stop.

Overall, yes I enjoyed posting things and connecting with friends to see what they were up to and yes, even getting the few likes I got. But yes, I also felt disheartened when I didn’t get many likes, I felt anger at seeing people’s views that didn’t match my own, I also felt pity for myself seeing how “far ahead” others got in life. Social media made me critical of myself and others. And that just does not par up to who I am. So I quit.

And I feel free, I relinquished those chains.

Ultimately, it is how we use social media that matters and when it starts to feel awful, that is the time to quit.

Much love,

L x

Quitting social media

Hey people, welcome back.

Today I thought it would be good to discuss something a little bit different and something I have done recently. I quit social media.

I have always been on some form of social media since I was a pre-teen (11 or 12 years old) from Piczo, Bebo, MySpace, Facebook to Instagram. In my younger years with Piczo, I just loved redesigning my website again and again, it seemed “harmless”. But by the time I came to having Facebook as a teenager, there was always that pressure to have everyone added and showing off your life. Research has shown that many people end up with an anxiety-related disorder due to social media.

In recent years, I was feeling sick of Facebook, I tried to remedy it by deleting countless “friends”. It wasn’t enough, I had to delete my whole account. I was tired of seeing hate and scandal more than unplifting, insightful, inspirational content. From this I joined Instagram thinking I could find a bit more community, and for a time I did. Though I didn’t post regularly I enjoyed the scrolling, it was addictive. But lately I have found the algorithm bias, I found I compared myself to many people and that is not healthy. I practice what I speak, so to quit this entirely meant putting my mental health first.

The day I did it, I messaged a fair amount of people telling them I haven’t been blocking but deleting my account (I like to avoid conflict at all costs) and the first few hours after deleting my account I was unsure of what to do. I now had all this time to be present and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I actually missed Instagram for a few days but have found some inner peace not allowing myself to endlessly scroll for hours each day. I take a more Stoic approach to social media in that it’s neither good not bad, it is how it is used by individuals and groups that determines it’s goodness. Personally, social media in general is not for me right now and that’s okay. I have plenty of other ways to stay connected to people, whether by text or good old fashioned letters.

As Cal Newport said in his TEDx Talk on quitting social media I have gone through a detox process, and I am rather glad I have now got more time to myself and placing my habit energy into more positive pursuits.

Check out that video if you’re interested!

Much love,

L x